image002Blood Red Shoes
Shepherds Bush Empire, London
22nd Jan 2013

Blood Red Shoes played their largest date so far down in old London Town. Louder Than War were there & had a ball.

Rock Duo’s …Once upon a time there weren’t any. Then there was. Now there’s loads. And now we don’t care.

Pah….! Blood Red Shoes eh? I turn by back for five minutes, or in real terms of defining time, about 8 years and what happens? They’re playing a headline show at The Shepherds Bush Empire, their “biggest ever show”. Three albums to cherry pick a few favourites from as well as a new Three Track EP to flog plus a few T shirts for those of us shivering in this cold cold venue on a slightly milder than it has been recently evening.

Support band, the 5 – piece Rolo Tomassi are here to stop the shivering and warm us all up for the dynamic duo. Which they fail to do unfortunately. This is an odd thing to witness. They come on looking all sweet and innocent like an archetypal indie band and within a half a dozen riffs we get AAAAAAAAAAaaaaaagggggggggHHHHHHH WWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHH… and other hardcore punk rock noises (and a synth) that don’t seem to fit with what we are watching. It’s all a bit like the day my telly broke down whilst watching Strictly Come Dancing and the sound of a Jeremy Kyle DNA special from another channel was being overdubbed very loudly over the top. I can’t bang the top of the Shepherds Bush Empire like I did the telly but we can sit and shiver even more and wait for our favourite song “Mesmeriser” which I always thought was a bit inspired by (that well known hardcore punk rock band of the 80’s) The Cocteau Twins (or even more to the point This Mortal Coil).

I’m all for a bit of an Enter Shikari inspired racket but this was all a bit daft. I telephone my mate over at the Dragons Den HQ and pitch an idea about powering the heaters by attaching a lead from one end of the venue where the radiators are kept to the spinning grave of Phil from Extreme Noise Terror so we can then warm up properly and patronise the cloak room available on the ground floor. No one’s got back to me yet.

People not in East London may or may not be aware that we’ve seen the closure of another venue this week. In This venue many years ago (the one down brick lane called 93 ft East) a band called “CAT ON FORM” turned up and played. It was my first visit there. A few years later, the band evaporated in their own sweat and Steven Ansell became half of Blood Red Shoes. What we witness here is a glorious assault on our ears thanks to the well crafted and well performed songs that seem to vary between sounding like one of those early 80’s bands that were later unfairly coined “Goth” to the rockier indy songs we’ve been hearing a lot of the past couple of years and the present new songs that are almost verging on the Foo’s wall of sound.

Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter’s voices are almost identical at times and the coordination between the two is so tight you realise that any of that jamming nonsense has been left behind in the rehearsal room. These are well crafted songs, familiar songs that we’ve heard in bits and pieces, on the radio over the past few years and taking an evening out to catch up on this band and experience the joy in all this is a wonderful experience. We get an hours worth of tunes that are recognisable from the albums and a sneak at the new EP “Water” which, if not recognisable just yet, fits like a glove in amongst the rest of the evenings set. We’re treated to a cameo by A Belgian bloke called Ian who no one knows and a bloke called James who people do know as he plays in popular pop combo “Pulled apart by Horses” – a band that Blood Red Shoes currently share a glorious 7″ with and are sonically compatible.

The swingometer in the career of Blood Red Shoes is swinging towards the rockier side of life nowadays and this will be a good move for those who have spent the past eight years or so growing up with the duo and will certainly keep them ahead of the pack of all those other duo’s that have appeared over the past few years.

Sorry I didn’t enjoy Rolo Tomassi, I’ll sneak in again one day and have another look when it’s a bit warmer maybe?

Blood Red Shoes Website is here. They’re also on Twitter & Facebook of course.

All words by Keith Goldhangar. More articles by Keith can be found here.

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Keith Goldhanger -- Spent the '90s as a frontman with London noise merchants HEADBUTT - spent the '80s in 'Peel favourites' BASTARD KESTREL. Spent a few years mashing up tunes and remixing bands as HIDEOUS WHEEL INVENTION. Is often out and about getting in the way of things and bumping his head on low ceilings - Will give your band the time of day but will dislike any band that balances full pints of alcohol on the top of guitar amps (Not keen on lead singers that wear hats either).


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