ORIGINAL OUTSIDER// THE SOCIAL// OXFORD CIRCUS// MARCH 20TH
If it feels a bit like an end of year school show at The Social tonight, it’s probably because most of the bands on the triple bill aren’t old enough to buy a pint. First act Two Jackals, four 16 years olds from Brighton building a fair bit of buzz, are playing first purely because they’ve got to be back in school tomorrow, and late night’s have been kiboshed by their otherwise doting parents—who with their friends make up a fair proportion of the audience. Strange experience of watching a group of teenagers playing to a group of excitable 40 year olds aside, the band have definite potential. Mining a Joy Division/ Interpol world of dark melodies, deep vocals and punk funk bass lines, Two Jackals turn up the epic. It’s familiar territory sure, but they look and sound good, have a fine line in a rousing crescendo, and their drummer- crowned with an unruly afro that’s somewhere between Sideshow Bob and a ginger Jimi Hendrix- smashes the tubs like a man rhythmically possessed.One or two jitters aside – they are 16 after all- I suspect you’ll be hearing more of this lot. Watch this space.
Next up are Bullies. An equally young 3 piece trading in sulky 90s Americana, Bullies are a bit Pearl Jam, a bit Soul Asylum and a bit unconvincing. I discover mid set that this is their first gig so feel a bit warmer towards them- with a singer who looks, and sounds, like a baby faced Frank Black they should do alright, but at the moment the general impression they leave is of a whinging teenager telling his parents that he hates them because they won’t let him play PS3 all night. The songs on their facebook come across a lot better, so I’m sure they’ve got more to offer yet.
And finally come Fat Whites, who, being in their early 20s are the Grandaddies of the bill. I’ve said it before and I stand by it—Fat White Family are the best live band in London right now bar none. To a half empty Social they deliver everything, and win over everyone. The crazed, combusting showcase of 6 outsiders wringing every last drop from their instruments and their souls, hunting for musical transgression- it gets me every time. How many other bands can strip the bullshit and chicanery of the music industry from your jaded mind, and boil performance down to pure energy and wrath? They’ve got sharper since I last saw them, guitarist Adam (of One Man Destruction Show) more integrated into the band, joining in on vocals, whilst Jack Payne’s bass was a tight anchor to the chaos. The song’s are stronger too –Auto Neutron crashing in harder than ever, and the seasick bile of Garden of the Numb rolling through the venue like a drunken preacher, singer Lias half naked and howling. A cover of the Monks proto punk classic I Hate You was delivered with such vicious glee it left me beaming. There’s such a take-no-prisoners vibe to a Fat Whites performance that they leave no room for sitting on the fence. You’re either for them or against, and I for one can say that I am, very much for. Catch them as soon as you can.