number 53 in the LTW best new bands for 2011 Calling All Astronauts played live in London on Wednesday February 16th at the Bufallo Bar, Islington Sean Meredith was there to see them

As Highbury and Islington tube was being prepared to receive the triumphant Arsenal supporters being ejected from the Emirates Stadium the stage was being prepared for Calling All Astronauts.

Downstairs in the Buffalo Bar the crowd was gathering to see the band formed through a chance meeting of ex-Caffeine guitarist J.J.Browning and vocalist/programmer from rap-metallers US:UK, David B, at a Fulham petrol station. Kristi Bury was soon installed as bassist and so the three piece (four including the drum machine) post punk electro indie band ‘Calling All Astronauts’ was created.

I’ve attempted to describe the CAA sound a few times and have come back to read what I scribbled down only to shake my head and start over. The closest I’ve come to a half-decent overview is to take some early Human League, add some Cabaret Voltaire, and sprinkle in some Sisters of Mercy/PiL/Christian Death then add a dollop of Carl McCoy/Marilyn Manson/Chuck Mosely hybrid vocals. Then ignore all of that”¦ even saying that it’s danceable industrial wont cover what I am trying to convey.

Enough of that ”“ time for the live show!

As soon as they open with ”ËœFaith in your cause’ you get the CAA flavour. The mix of break beats dance loops, crunchy guitars, politically charged vocals and rumbling bass states their intention. ”ËœFaith in Your Cause’ reminds me of Marilyn Manson in his Antichrist Superstar hey-day with Killing Joke’s Geordie playing Billy Duffy guitar lines.

From there we head to ”ËœLiving in the Shadow of the Red Flag’ ”“ a track reminiscent of a more punk rock version of Sisters of Mercy.

By the time Calling All Astronauts reached ”ËœFreaks’ they seem to have settled in with David B stomping and gesturing to add emphasis to the message he’s putting out and J.J. attacking his guitar with singular purpose.

”ËœSomeone Like You’ is CAA’s single which comes across as a mixture of Magazine and Wire with added dancability. The chanted refrain of “Faith, Hope, Trust, Treason” just adds to the hooks. I can see this single getting around pretty quickly.

An impressive show was made even more impressive when, upstairs on a post-show smoke break; I mentioned that this was only CAA’s second show. Mouths dropped open and cigarettes almost fell to the ground. This is testament to how sharp their sound is.

Don’t take my word for it ”“ check them out for yourself on March 12th where there’ll be playing at Camden’s Barfly. Tell them I sent you.

Set List:
Faith in Your Cause
Living in the Shadow of the Red Flag
It Could Have been Lust
Scenesters Vs The World
Someone Like You [single]
What’s so Good?

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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