Friday 16th-Saturday 17th April 2010
The Others, Stoke Newington
Those in search of great music in N16 were well-catered for this weekend.
Held at the appropriately named The Others venue on Manor Road, this year’s No:ID Festival showcased over 16 class acts that left your correspondent lost for categorization (though by god I’ll try) and who proudly eschew the formulaic mainstream.
Sounding somewhere between cult favourites Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris and Cowboy in Sweden-era Lee Hazelwood lays another outfit from London’s Deep South. Country Dirt, featuring formerTRM veteran Pat Sheeran, is an alt. Country band of the highest order.
If you’re feeling the recent output by The Band’s Levon Helm you won’t fail to be charmed (see upcoming Hackney Hive review of their recently released album, Rodeo Free Europe).
South London 6-piece Rude Mechanicals closed the Friday session with a barnstorming set of acid rock with Schulze-esque symphonic electronica, proggy elements and a theatrical disposition (most notably the sublime Wednesday’s Child, which builds up to a soaring crescendo a la Also sprach Zarathustra). And if their musicianship alone didn’t speak for itself, then their striking image and stagecraft spoke volumes. The Mechanicals could (almost) be supergroup of rock royalty featuring doppelgangers for Lemmy, Roy ‘Wizzard’ Wood, Brian Eno, Exile on Main Street-era Charlie Watts and, most pleasingly, the alabaster-toned anti-chanteuse Mz. Roberts, who’s completely re-written the Kinderwhore rulebook.
Also deserving praise is power trio Hungry and the Hunted, who I managed to catch towards the end of their very punky prog set. An honourable mention gotta be made for their song Always Outnumbered, a raucous 4 minutes which floored the crowd with a delicious mix of Husker Du and The Police. Speaking of the Bizzies, their number Police on My Back was pretty kickin’ too.
Ostensibly a musical comedy act, Saddam & The Lookalikes are the consummate theatrical showmen. Treating the audience to some very funny ditties peppered with well-aimed, tell-it-like-is witticisms that hit their target with greater accuracy than any Scud missile, they refreshingly sidestep the played out agitprop of well-meaning, yet sardonic, millionaire Christmas chart-toppers (if you’re scratching your head that this point, speak to Simon Cowell).
When it comes to raising the roof, Anarchistwood like to turn up the heat a notch and burn the whole goddamned house to the ground. Previous comparisons to The Butthole Surfers and The Jesus Lizard just don’t do this mighty troupe justice. Personally I’m thinking the New York Dolls vs. GG Allin (sans faecal projectiles). Had the stage not being at floor level then we might have faced a mosh pit of disaster zone proportions (yes, really).
Dust settled, this was an excellent weekend of great music at a recession-busting cost (a mere fiver per night). It’s also a reminder that Camden and Shoreditch aren’t a shoo-in for best gigs in North London.
* All photos courtesy of Martin Lau. Martin will be exhibiting his work May 13th-23rd at the NO:ID Gallery, 31 Commerical Road E1 1L www.martinlau.net