March, 2012

Mar 12

Scroobius Pip @ Koko


Scroobius Pip hits Camden for the second time in three months, but this time he’s determined to make sure we all have the night of our lives. I don’t know if it’s the fact that he’s now mid-way through a European tour, or whether it’s because he’s happy to be back in England, but tonight we are treated to more than we could ever hope for from one of his sets.

Starting with album opener Interdiction it’s clear tonight will be a little different as he takes to his hair with two clippers and proceeds to give himself a mini-mohawk (just like he does in the music video) midway through the song. It’s a devastatingly effective way of turning the heat up by a good few degrees, and the place becomes a cauldron of adoration, freneticism and exhilaration.

The set itself is both simple and complex at the same time. With just two other musicians on stage, both of whom are shielded from view by a lot of equipment, it’s left to Pip to fill the large space with his presence and it’s fortunate that he’s up to the job.

He drags cohort B. Dolan on stage for the single Soldier Boy, placing a joke arrow through his new mohawk as they work together to deliver the punchy, damning and sad indictment of the military and their puppet strings. Dolan has a fine set of blonde hair extensions… on his beard. Yes it’s strange but who really cares? Perhaps it’s the fallout from a recent successful trip to Amsterdam… to buy, er… tulips, probably.


Vocalist Natasha joins the stage for Feel It and we’re left with an encore that shows Pip’s slightly violent side; coming on stage for The Struggle with his hands drenched in blood. The song is about Johnny Depp, the serial killer and the front few rows are flecked with blood by the time it finishes. Having started in fine form with the clippers, we’re now left with a ‘London-only’ special of Prince’s Get Off, complete with all of the nights special guests and support bands on the stage. It’s messy, it’s tacky, it’s bloody good fun and it’s not something I’ll be able to avoid in the future, should we be graced by his presence again. And there endeth tonight’s lesson.

Photobucket Words and pictures: Dan Aitch

Mar 12

North London hosts Alabama Shakes’ UK debut

I was as surprised as anybody when I discovered that one of the most talked about new bands around at the moment, Alabama Shakes would be playing three dates at The Boston Arms in North London. It was the band’s UK live debut, and with big name fans such as Alex Turner, Adele and Jack White behind them the hype certainly has some credibility, and the shows sold out in a matter of minutes.

The unlikely venue had a great atmosphere with plenty of star spots in the audience, including Russell Crowe, Bernard Butler and Jarvis Cocker (just to mix things up a bit). The room itself was nice and intimate – the perfect setting for such an event.

Listening to a few of their songs before the gig I was anticipating a bluesy sound, a kind of soulful American South vibe which didn’t particularly excite me, but as soon as the first song kicked in (Goin’ To The Party) I was quickly proved wrong. The band frequently reject the view that they are a ‘blues’ band, its thrown at them quite often and they definitely aren’t keen on the term, and watching them live I can definitely vouch for them in that respect.

The sound was incredible, very bassy and a lot grittier than I had expected. Twenty-three-year-old front woman Brittany had a voice that I haven’t been so excited about since Miss Winehouse. You believed every word she sang, and could see the love for it in her face.

I managed to get a few words with Brittany after the gig – she showed a lot of love for London and appreciated the comparison with Amy, adding “When I first heard her voice, I dropped my shit and was like, God damn! Who the hell is this?” (Imagine a strong deep South American accent and you’ll get the picture!).

Overall an incredible gig – a personal favourite of mine. All that’s left to say is, believe the hype.

Photobucket Words: Ceri Dixon