The Good Ship Kilburn

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WilmotHaving been lured along to listen to a helping of The Shoestrung (a band I had been lingering over for sometime on MySpace) I found myself outside The Good Ship in Kilburn at 8pm on a Thursday night (something of a feat mid week during a busy time at work.)Curious and decidedly knackered I entered the venue for the princely sum of four quid and made it to the bar. The bar staff were friendly and chatty and I didn’t wait long to be served (another miracle) and once I located the stage-which appears to be in the sunken galley of the Ship, I found a little spot to rest over the gallery to see what was on offer.

I had not really expected to see a plethora of bands to be honest but having missed the first act of the night I was subjected to a rather tiresome band called Stars on Stars or something like that. The name, like the performance, was entirely unmemorable. It was only when London based band Union Jackals stepped up on stage I began to take note and stopped downing the Jack Daniels for a few moments to pay attention. Simply put the Jackals are a band it would be difficult to ignore-instantly memorable catchy tunes grab you at the first few chords with mesmerising keyboards and oh so contagious choruses (it was not long before I found myself singing along).  Britpop may have vanished from the press of late but in the guise of this clever band it certainly seems very alive and well thank you very much. Union Jackals are a five piece outfit formed in 2008 , comprising of Carl Mann (Lead Vocal & Guitar), Paul Reeves (Bass, Backing Vocals), Rob Anderson (Guitar), Steve Grainger (Drums, Backing Vocals) and Stephen Barnes (Keys, Backing Vocals).

Union Jackals describe their sound as a mix of psych rock, post punk, shoe gaze guitars, electronic meanderings, progressive stylings and a sprinkle of sci-fi into classic guitar pop. A somewhat intriguing description I must say there was something about them that reminded me a tad of the Buzzcocks and Blur. Either way as it was only their second gig I am certain we are going to see more of Union Jackals in the coming months and as they have several EPs scheduled for release during 2009 so I will be watching their progress with relish.
The Union Jackals
Of course the band I came to see however was the spine tingling Shoestrung. With an average age of nineteen, it is  hard to believe these lads can knock the tunes out with such apparent ease, yet retaining  a charming youthful innocence. Not in the least bit pretentious, as they blast out track after track of Sixties Rhythm and Blues and straight up Rock n Roll which is jaw dropping brilliant. The enjoyment is self-evident for them and their audience, and you just do not want it to end.  I came to see the boys play live, as they had been recommended to me some months back by US band The London Egg who assured me I would love them.

I was not disappointed. It is rare for me to feel excited by what I hear on MySpace for the most part and I am easily bored -but there was no doubt they had something special. I found myself revisiting their site just to listen to their tracks and so when they moved from Brighton to Wapping I could not possibly miss their show. I cannot honestly say I have felt this excited by a new band for a very long time. This was not just playing numbers in a what’s next style, no, it was a brilliant performance.

There was something wonderfully watchable about Treggy’s style on stage not to mention his skill at so young an age. Bryn and Al complement each other perfectly-both vocally and on guitar every so often falling into a harmonica interlude of such magnificence you could close your eyes and feel as though you were back in the sixties listening to The Yardbirds or early Rolling Stones. They move on stage with a combination of Jim Morrison and Jagger’s eroticism.

The fact is The Shoestrung reminds us what real R & B is about as they resurrect the ghosts of  John Lee Hooker and  Muddy Waters As they  honour  these mighty men by performing a thundering version of Got My Mojo working.
Muddy Waters
My Favourite track of the night- I’dlovetoseeyougetknockeddown-lyrically and vocally this sums up the bands talent in one song. However, they have so many more tracks not played on the night and are brimming with more material. Sample some of their numbers on their webpage; Bleed Steam For Blood has a smattering of Marc Bolan about it. Whilst Lay Me Down an apparent tribute to John Lennon, is reminiscent of Wilco with its soothing strings and hammond perfectly complemented by the harmonious voices of Al and Bryn. But do not  be deceived, that it  is all retro stuff here, one or two tracks are a glimpse of a future generation of music, touching on the anthemic glory of The Kaiser Chiefs and the melancholic Baby Shambles… but actually…they are miles better.

The other thing about this bunch of lads-is they are incredibly photogenic and charismatic, their youth and charm is alluring without a hint of arrogance, just a lovely bunch of lads who enjoy playing good music and lap up every single moment of it. Do not take my word for it check out their tracks on their MySpace page and get your arse down to their next gig. I highly recommend them.

Last band to mention of the night, Dan Dunne and The Reels-it was like listening to Gomez on an acid trip frankly. Dan Dunne really does think he is something special but sadly is more in love with himself then actually remembering he is supposed to be in a band. A great voice no doubt-but his constant need to smash up a guitar was both boring and unnecessary. So I made my excuses and left into the night with my ears still ringing from a night that music seemed to have been reborn.
shoestrung 1
© Tracey Wilmot / ZANI Media

Read 3971 times Last modified on Friday, 08 May 2015 16:00
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