All photography by Tom Morris
The nights are starting to draw in. By the time I arrive around 7pm to get me a good spot and a quiet (er) bar experience the curtains are already being drawn and the beer garden lights have come on. But this is the best season of the year right? We’re all recovered from the festival season and the autumn gigs are raring up and making sure we leave the house in the evening at least a few nights a week. This month for House Of Savages there’s a tempting mix of sultry autumnal alternative and fired up garage rock at it’s finest. I’m very much ready for The George Tavern to light up for it’s 23rd event with these promoters and looking forward to seeing these bands live in my yard.
Sometimes people don’t want the same style of music across 4-5 acts, they want variation; and September certainly didn’t disappoint. Opening with calm and beauty, moving onwards and upwards on the riot-scale through to ending on a rather crazed indie rock mash-up. Aardwolves are still a young band, having performed in others, but bringing this guise together for one of the first times live. A great chilled way to bring everyone in as they travel across from work or home to attend the show. Long Teeth were someone whose Soundcloud extracts had knocked our socks off whilst MUMMY had a bit of a reputation for being sweaty, raucous and downright bloody good. The Scruff Club headlined the show having come well recommended from fellow gig goers across the capital. So we decided to bring them altogether to give everyone something they loved.
Opening for the night is never an easy thing. You’ve got to be the first to make loud noise after the jukebox gets turned off and the compere leaves the stage after your introduction. Sauntering on stage, front woman Nikita is quietly confident, working with just her bass, guitarist and drum samples to make the stage sound like there’s a full-piece band going on. With vocals that sound like a beautiful mixture of Nancy Sinatra meets The Boogie Pimps this was a wonderfully mellow start to the night and one that our punk through alternative indie crowd alike were tapping toes to.
Imagine bottling a sample of what fuels the sol cal garage rockers of California and mixing it with some British rock n roll of the modern times. That’s what you get with Long Teeth. Power, punch and some pretty serious jams in their terrifying brilliant short but set leaving the audience yearning for more. When you get a text mid-set from your friend (because it’s too loud to talk anyway) telling you that ‘this band are sick’, you know you’re onto a winner. This is where people start getting their dancing shoes on and when the front of the venue starts to get a little sticky where the latest draft pint or soft drink has been sloshed in the vigorous appreciation of throwing shapes to such good tunes.
With every House Of Savages gig we love to have a band that showcase the punk side of the spectrum. We all need to embrace our inner rascal and rebel a little. Boisterous is one way of describing their performance, putting the likes of popular punk band Slaves a notch or two down in the raw energy scale, but still not so niche you’re left aurally and physically battered by politically charged lyrics and smash dancing gig-goers. Drummer’s don’t often get the spotlight but I think it’s important to flag up the spirited percussion on this occasion. Top notch.
Giving the final charge to the night was The Scruff Club, an energised young band who have been putting themselves through the paces by performing at multiple live events and gaining quiet the reputation for indie vigour and class. With some ‘wow-face’ guitar solos bedded in with catchy choruses, they channelled a little bit of the cheeky chap vibe of The Libertines which translated very well with the audience. Their cover of “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” was an unexpected pleasure and I think by this point the sheer quality of the acts (plus maybe a few too many beers for one or two) meant there was smiles and dancing all round.
And then – as soon as it had all kicked off – it was over! In about 2.5 hours we’d experienced a broad selection from the alt. rock genre and had a ball skanking out and getting to know the brightest young stars the South-East of England has to offer. The next show will be a big one so I strongly advise you all have a look in the calendar and see if you can make the 13th October 2nd Birthday show gig. This will be the last show before a hiatus from the House of Savages team to recharge the batteries and give you guys a chance to get out to all the other amazing rock shows that are popping up in late 2016. We’d be delighted if friends old and new would join us for one last hurrah. And wherever possible, we do bring a good cupcake or 3 to go round 🙂 Next date for you diary: Thursday 13th October.
As free events go, House Of Savages is a brand that is clearly engaged and committed to the new music scene in London with the knowledge and contacts to make their showcases a real watercooler moment in an otherwise busy and saturated live-music market. Running every month, it’s worth keeping up with their random banter and updates on the next gig that “we’re all invited too” on their Facebook and Twitter pages.
House of Savages is definitely keeping London alive ‘n ’amplified.
PS – least we forget the joy that is The George Tavern loos. This month I was delighted to find that there was not only some thoughtful phrases and outpourings of adoration and other things from the customers of late, but this. Looking down on me with its accusing and mildly terrifying stare, I can only wonder why you would spend this time and effort to freak out future bog-users.