Dead Skeletons: London – live review

Dead Skeletons
Electrowerkz, London
23rd Nov 2013

Dead Skeletons are from Iceland and they’re a bit Goth, a bit Psych and Keith Goldhanger thinks they’re good.

Dead Skeletons. First of all the name.

It sounds a bit Goth I think you’ll agree.

The Electrowerkz in North London’s Angel.

It’s a bit of a Goth club I think you’ll agree.

…. and almost everything about this cold Saturday night can be prefixed with these two words ….

A bit.

The audience ….

Well the audience (a big crowd rammed in here tonight) look a bit Goth …. One or two have a bit of their hair shaved and there’s the odd chap wearing a top hat and white frilly shirt and there’s people who have probably been trying to sell people shoes most of the day before slapping on some very basic make up for the evening and donning the biggest footwear they could find.

But let’s not let prejudice get in the way.

Goth was not called Goth when Goth was good if you get my drift.


Goth was called Goth after someone mentioned the word to someone else and that someone else credited some band or other with the phrase so we knew where to stand in our local record shops back then.

Once it got christened Goth it began to sound shit. Not because of it now being called Goth but in spite of.

Before Goth sounded shit and of course before it was called Goth, Goth was great.

Goth was cool.

Goth was fresh and exciting and Goth was giving us some pretty good bands, and Goth made us dress funny and sometimes borrow our sisters make up.

But we didn’t ever call it Goth because we were too busy rolling up pound notes and getting confused as we simultaneously went to see bands like Crass (Not Goth) and Depeche Mode (they were New Romantic at this stage according to my weekly music magazines) during the same months.

No, we didn’t give a shit about giving our record collections a fucking name.

Nowadays it’s actually called Psych can you believe?

Pic by closer photography

Dead Skeletons look like a bunch of blokes that could have actually been in New Model Army and enter the stage, lighters in hand trying (and struggling) to set fire to the joss sticks protruding from some skull shaped candles at the front of the stage (“oh! my giddy aunt” we hear from a child at the back.)

But we don’t dedicate our Saturday nights to any old shite nowadays I think you’ll agree.

This band have a couple of good albums to their name and a couple of EP’s that some of us have been listening to for a couple of years to now and even tho’ we acknowledge that a band called Dead Skeletons might be a bit Goth and sing about things like …. er …. death, playing at a venue (painted black) on a Saturday night before a bit of a Goth all nighter in a venue renowned for it’s Goth clientele (bloody hell you should have seen the sight of some of these blokes, and they were blokes, smoking the last of their Marlboroughs before entering the venue as we left ….) we all like to think that we know our shit enough to realise that this lot make great music however it’s dressed up and throw music at us that is as cool as almost everything else we hear nowadays that’s noisy, simple, throbbing, easy on the ears and makes you want to dance as the lord intended.

They sound a bit (that phrase again) like a distorted messed up rowdy Stereolab without the female vocals. One song sounds a bit like a distorted version of The Sweet‘s Ballroom Blitz , with tight intense drumming that manages to hold it all together during a frantic five minutes and one song sounds like a slowed down wobbly version of Lust For Life without the semi naked insurance salesman jerking around whilst we watch between our fingers.

Dead Skeletons are from Iceland and they are ace for all the right reasons.

Whilst it is the simple choice for some people (myself included, I get drawn in as well) to hark on about and spend hard cash on seeing all the bands that filled our dance floors in the past (and maybe concluding that most just aren’t as good as they used to be) it’s always heart warming to catch a band at their best and now and again remind us that there are some bands that can drink in the influences of yesterday whilst sounding like tomorrow.

There’s a couple of vocalists up there that just seem to be groaning.

We don’t care that they may not necessarily be required.

The drummer (again he ….) keeps it simple and knows all the right repetitive rhythms that make us dance and a bunch of guitars that make the right noise at the right volume and grind away making us realise at some point they could be similar to those geniuses called Fuck Buttons …. yeah …. Dead Skeleton’s could be Fuck Buttons with guitars (we hear no one say) that we can also dance to.

I’m all up for calling this Psych actually.

Calling it Goth won’t get them anywhere.

The Dead Skeletons are refreshing, exhilarating, intense ,disciplined and in touch with today’s sounds and would be loved by those still pining for the olden days of those bands that were (rightly or wrongly) labelled Goth or even Industrial.

All those people who still go out at night trying to get excited like they used to down the Bat Cave and dance to the likes of Suicide or Alien Sex Fiend and other artists whose logos are still displayed on the odd t-shirt should be here this evening, and I’m sure a few of them are.

Its just a shame that some of them …. the blokes we pass as we head for the night bus, who stand there, puffing their fags outside with their big boots, lipstick, painted faces, bald heads, missing teeth and posh jackets weren’t around to witness all this.

Not just in 1982 but a couple of hours previously.


Dead Skeletons can be found at their website and on Facebook and MySpace.

All words by Keith Goldhanger. More work by Keith on Louder Than War can be found here. He’s also on SoundCloud here, Facebook here and tweets as @HideousWheeelInv. All pics by Closer Photography.

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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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