Nambucca, London 22.9.11
There’s a tangible sense of anticipation in the air at Nambucca tonight. Lola Colt have played fewer than ten gigs but word is already out. The excitable crowd is peppered with music biz types, curious to hear what the buzz is about. They’re about to find out.
The name ”â evoking small arms and transvestism ”â is inspired by the black, pistol-packing heroine of an obscure low-budget spaghetti western whose chief claim to fame is the urban legend that a stuntman was killed during the shooting. It’s wonderfully apposite, particularly when one discovers that the Scandinavian singer is called Gun. Apt, too that, terrifying in her Cleopatra make-up, she towers over the rest of the band like Sally Bowles after eating one of Alice’s “Eat Me!”Â grow-faster cakes. Her voice manages to be both mellifluous and abrasive, echoing Sheena Na Gig era Polly Harvey, cutting through the swathe of feedback like a machete.
The other members cook up a powerful, intricate sonic soup, switching consummately between a dazzling array of guitars, maracas, harmonium and other instruments, each one adding a subtle, precise and vital texture to every artfully arranged song. On Diamonds, a new number, Gun bangs a side-drum, looking like a clockwork soldier gone wonderfully wrong.
The six-piece are joined tonight by a seventh member ”â Mika ”â who projects Super 8 film clips onto the band and the white screen behind in real time. Almost jamming to the music, she fuses Lynchian images of roads, vapour trails, riots and deserts ”â it’s hard to tell whether these are Nevada or Mars ”â in time with the band’s hypnotic groove. It’s a conceit that could often be dismissed as distracting but works here to devastating effect. Silhouettes dance on the screen, mingling with the shadows of the band members, as if there are ghosts on stage. In a way there are: the ghosts of Link Wray, Ennio Morricone, Johnny Cash, brought back to electrifyingly shuddering life by pounding percussion and squalling guitars.
Before its original incarnation burned down in suspicious circumstances, Nambucca was home to The Holloways whose Libertines-lite skiffle typified the unimaginitive landfill indie of recent years. It’s as if tonight’s Magnificent Seven are laying down the gauntlet, declaring that 21st century guitar bands needn’t ”â nay, shouldn’t ”â be generic.