The Lexington, London
18 April 2012
Words: Libby MonÃÂ©
The antique flower print wallpaper on the walls of London’s ”Ëin’ venue throb with sweat and heavy heavy bass frequencies tonight, as amid the punching and stabbing shards of vintage keyboards and the contorted saxophone, Gallon Drunk are BACK and reaffirming my faith in the primal relevance of rock ”Ën’roll in the process.
The Lexington is packed. And yes ”â James Johnston’s mob may have a constituency primarily made up of middle aged men with withered livers and elegant, dangerously vampish wives, but there are kids here too that never saw the band ”Ëback in the day’ and who would surely hear a group that could have existed in the same stratosphere as PJ Harvey and Nick Cave had tragic circumstance not derailed them. Maybe there’s still time. The new album ”ËThe Road Gets Darker From Here’ gets played in almost its entirety and sounds brilliant. The Bad Seeds meets James Chance vibe stinks of darkened back alleys in London B-movies of the 1950’s, but now the anguish seems more genuine as Johnston’s greying quiff wilts and he spits out lyrics filled with contempt and despair. When Terry Edwards switches from sax to keys, the singer moves centre stage and lets his distorted guitar moan. He’s scratching away in a cathartic frenzy at the newer material. Opening up new wounds. Then he rips open his shirt to reveal a hungry, taut torso and the band end their set with early classics ”ËYou Should be Ashamed’ and ”ËSome Fools Mess Around’.
You feel you’ve been the witness to a rebirth or a particularly persuading exhortation.