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Daily Archives: January 30, 2015

For one night Putney had the best gig in town!

 

 

The Half Moon in Putney was celebrating Independent Music Venue Week, but not only putting on two of the best unsigned bands in London, but by releasing a 12” of some of the best songs performed in their hallowed venue. The bands in question are Du Bellows and Two Hands and the album is Live from the Moon.

 

 

After getting drinks we made our way into the backroom. The room was filling up but we found a place, under a massive print of Kate Bush, and settled down for the first De Bellows set of the evening. As it is this set was for press and friends of the Half Moon. From the opening of Silurian Woman you could tell they were enjoying themselves. Next up was Otherside, here Jade Williams really started showing what she could to with her vocals. At one moment Williams’ vocals were whispering, then BAM a full blown gravelly bellow. Next up they played Isa Du Bellow. For a long time this has been my favourite of their songs, but hearing it live, and seeing the interplay between the members and how they extended certain sections, it took on a life of its own. After that I was locked into their groove based folk blues charm, as was everyone else in the room. Just as soon as they started, they ended. The doors were opened and general public flowed in so the next section of the night could start.

 

 

After a short interval Two Hands took to the stage. The beauty of seeing a band for the first time is the anticipation. Since I received their debut EP, it has been on a heavy rotation. I knew what to expect, big riffs, catchy shouty choruses, basically a good time. What I wasn’t expecting however, was the ferocity and aggression of their playing. They opened with a barrage of open chords and feedback, this continued for the rest of their set. The songs left like short sharp busts from an automatic weapon. Listening to the EP from the comfort of my sofa/desk at work/tube seat the EP’s influences were easy to spot, Queens of the Stoneage, Interpol, Arctic Monkeys, but live the tracks took on a totally different feeling. Elements of Texas is the Reason, Glassjaw and Rival Schools were creeping through the melodic heavy riffs. When lead singer Tom Stock announced they had one song left, a sign could be felt through the crowd. We wanted more! I’ve been a fan of Stock’s previous many, many bands and for the first time we are seeing him make the music that he likes. He also took the occasion with both hands (no pun intended, ok, I meant it…) and seemed to really enjoy his set. In the break I briefly chatted to him, what he told me made their performance even more impressive. It was only their second gig…

 

 

Having already seen Du Bellows leave the stage less than an hour before, we knew they were on top form. However we weren’t prepared for how on form they were. Williams had changed into a billowing top that brought to mind Stevie Nicks at her most ethereal. This costume change, wasn’t just for the eyes, musically they had changed too. The earlier set was more subdued and restrained to this second set. The playing was harder, faster and more frenetic. While Silurian Woman and Otherwise had been excellent in the first set, they were acoustic demos compared to the second time round. They were punchier, yet there seemed to be plenty of room for playing round and improve. In between songs Williams was eloquent and chatty with the crowd. To say she has stage presence is an understatement. Jack and His Queen was the highlight of the second set. Everything about it typified this new sound. It was heavy, yet ethereal. And what’s more they were having fun playing. Paper Soles received a rapturous applause. It was their inclusion in to the Live at the Half Moon album. The delight they all showed from being included on this 12” was there for all to see. They ended the set with Spin, which again they had managed to improve from their flawless first set. After some cajoling they returned and played Dry Flowers as an encore. After rousing applause, whistles and proposals of marriage, it was time to leave.

 

 

On the way home, I took in what we had just witnessed. While both bands are totally different, they both showcased the growing power of the West London music scene. For years now all the attention has been on the East. This is now changing and thanks to bands like Du Bellows and Two Hands, the attention is starting to drift West. On the strength of these three performances, I don’t think it’ll be the last time we hear of Two Hands and Du Bellows! Oh no, I think we’ll be hearing a lot more from these two this year…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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