Dry Cleaning | Pozi | The Wants: Village Underground London – live review Dry Cleaning | Pozi | The Wants
Village Underground London
March 3rd 2020

Dry Cleaning have just sold out their biggest venue to date. A very decent gig according to Keith Goldhanger who once wrote ‘… ‘Not a band it’s expected we’ll see headline Alexandra Palace one day or maybe even The Forum…’  – One imagines the T-shirt deals are being negotiated already.

Having arrived into our lives just over a year ago Dry Cleaning were the band that for a good few months were just another name of note that made visiting backrooms of pubs worthwhile. A night out with Dry Cleaning was always a close personal experience, entertainment at its finest, spoken word overexciting guitar driven tunes that many of us never really considered would end up in large venues such as this. Tonight we start thinking that if Sleaford Mods can do what they do at The Hammersmith fucking Odeon (it has no other name) then why can’t Dry Cleaning achieve such giddy heights also?

The appearance of POZI on this tour has been good news for those of us who occasionally sneer at the conventional and often hang around small venues during the week in the hope that something fresh and unique will come along. Even though it may be felt at times that bands such as this may never leave these small but beautiful establishments it’s always great to be proved wrong. Pozi are playing in front of a huge crowd tonight and like Dry Cleaning have continued to provide the already committed with some fabulous music as well as turning up in all the right places at the right times.

The early evening observations as we arrive is that this will be another gig full of over thirties who like to nod their heads a lot and let off a bit of steam once the tune they’ve heard on the radio gets played. THE WANTS open up proceeding and although each of the trio have some of today’s electronics by their side they remind the early arrivals of the early 80’s Delta Five chopping guitars with male/female duo vocals and songs we’ll be falling in love with over the next few months. A guitar that sounds as though it comes from the settings that The Gang of Four used in To Hell with Poverty help us to embrace what we’re hearing. This is fabulous stuff for so early in the evening and we retire to the bar knowing we’ve another favourite band to add onto the lists that we seem to be accumulating on different pages of our laptops internet pages. The bands debut album is released this month, this is the title track -It’s a corker.

The bass guitar that POZI are playing doesn’t even sound as though there’s a single effects pedal between the axe and the amp. If there is then it’s a rubbish one but one does feel this wouldn’t be Pozi if anything we hear sounded any different. These simple bass lines that sound like the ones we all played in our bedrooms instead of doing our homework are complimented by some simple but tight drumming, brilliant vocals by all three members and a violin that simple fucks it all up and gives the band the very distinctive and very tight sound that they now own themselves. Pozi are a band that remind us of past attitudes to music and are sounding as fresh and challenging as the bands Peel gave us as we listened under the covers whilst waiting for suitable headphones to be invented.

Dry Cleaning in a large venue playing guitar driven tunes that make us tap our feet whilst concentrating on the story being told by the terrified looking Florence Shaw may not be expected to work in front of so many people but it does. We’re not sure if the light show fits the occasion but any alternative ideas could not be provided from ourselves standing between some tall people and soaking all of this in through their shoulders.

Florence stares at the ceiling or at the wall at the back and conducts herself throughout each song in slow motion as though she’s performing this from a stage four miles away and is scared stiff that she might fall off it or something. It’s a good look. She appears to be unaware that shes being watched and oblivious to the whites of the eyes of the watching crowd three feet away as she talks her way through the songs. In front of her stands a music stand holding lyrics she probably doesn’t read nowadays but discards each sheet neatly onto the floor after each one has been complete.

A couple of dozen (no half that) near the front begin dancing on both feet once Magic of Meghan arrives. It’s their penultimate song tonight. The vocals have cut through the instrumentals with clarity and everyone listened, none of that irritating chatting going on in this room tonight. Just one or two questions that were unanswered in regards to the football shirt being worn by the singer. Everyone knows why we’re here and for many it’s probably a first experience. The blue and red flashing lights could easily accompany a middle of the set chemical brothers song, its a weird combination especially for those more used to experiencing these songs being performed at arms length or whilst leaning against the bar a few feet away. Bass player Lewis has totally zoned out by the end and you can see that in his head behind his eyelids he’s headlining Donnington. It’s also a good look.

Plastic glasses are raised by the end, everyone’s happy, more people are coming to Dry Cleaning gigs and the band are still exactly like they were twelve months ago but now with flashing lights. Dry Cleaning never get boring because there’s always so much to take in. After many visits to the bands shows we still can’t work out what Florence is actually talking about. That’s OK, the real skill is in the way she delivers her lyrics and how it’s going to come across in rooms such as this one tonight. We can’t compare Dry Cleaning with anyone else in 2020 and for 45 minutes we don’t want to be anywhere else. You’ll see for yourselves sometime if you already haven’t. Cracking night out.

Catch up with the bands below on Facebook.

Dry Cleaning
The Wants

Words by Keith Goldhanger. More writing by Keith on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. You can also find Keith on Facebook and Twitter (@HIDEOUSWHEELINV).

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Keith Goldhanger -- Spent the 90's as a frontman with London noisemerchants HEADBUTT - spent the 80's 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 - drinks real ale, takes photo's has made a few short films. 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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