It’s a grim and gloomy day in London town. I’ve stumbled up from Kentish Town to Boston Music Rooms, located above an Irish pub near Tufnell Park, it’s the unlikely venue for some rather wild and wonderful gigs in this side of the city. The night is likely to be a bit of a showcase of some of Scotland’s most thrilling talent, and promised to get a bit hairy.
Floppy haired and Fender baring, up first are Decoy Jet are the band that you would have had a massive crush on in your angsty teenage years. (I’m having horrific flashbacks just typing that.)However, on a Tuesday night, the band play to a nearly empty room. The music itself is driven by a ratty, gritted voice, reminiscent of Jake Bugg, except fortunately the lead singer sounds like less of a dick. Indie-pop lite guitars propelling the whole shindig into extraordinarily likeable fun. They don’t seem at all disheartened by the small size of the crown. Perhaps because everyone who is actually there at 7:30pm seems to be really digging it – even the cohort of chair sitters have left the comfort of their seats to nod their heads appreciatively. It does strike me that with these numbers though the people there might actually just be press, friends and die-hard fans. I really hope that’s not the case. Because they’re kind of brilliant.
Despite the lead singer looking a bit like a tanned vampire, the next band on stage, Catholic Action, produce a sound that’s as upbeat and bright as a fried egg. They’ve all opted for a nice uniform of black tees and turtlenecks, which is totally juxtaposed with the actual music. Like Baby Strange, they’re from Glasgow, and are just as wonderfully talented. They’re not unlike The Voyeurs in that cracking first album, or Palma Violets – heavy stompy drum, a 60s garage influence but distinctly Scottish indie guitar riffs. Though there a bit of diddling about with the sound to get the balance right of vocals, it’s a ridiculously solid set. I mean, it takes an awful lot for a band to have complete silence in a dramatic pause in a venue like Boston Music Room.
In between the bands there’s a lot of Franz Ferdinand, and Edwyn Collins played. I’m suddenly struck by the significance of where these bands stand on the timeline of Glaswegian band. Both Baby Strange and Catholic Action have a lyric style of a frank stark realism and irony, not unlike these predecessors which doesn’t really seem to be heard coming out of bands from anywhere other than Scotland. It’s something to muse on I suppose.
The room grows dark, and heavy drum and bass blasts out of the speakers -a striking entrance for Baby Strange. They cruise on straight into VVV, drenched in blue light. Despite the fact the room is nowhere near as full as I’d been expecting, there’s a healthy crowd of fans pogoing away. But the kids are lapping it up. It’s clear that the band have managed to tap into something that really speaks to this generation. In latest single Pleasure City, there’s a few issues with cables, but frankly no-one cares because it’s a total winner of a track regardless. By the last song I swear nearly everyone in that mosh pit have found their way onto the stage. Security can’t drag them off, and they take the mic, bass left somewhere on the floor. You’d think it’d be a mess but everyone’s having too much fun to really bother being annoyed.