Live Review: Dark Bells / Neils Children / Kagoule, White Heat, London (27/08/13)


A weekly event, White Heat takes over Soho’s Madame JoJo’s every Tuesday, a cabaret and burlesque venue, to showcase some of the best new music. This week saw Nottingham’s biggest hopes, Kagoule, support the gloomy post-punk of Neils Children and Dark Bells.

Now, if you haven’t been to Madame JoJo’s before, which I hadn’t, you’ll be in for quite a shock. This isn’t in any way your standard gig venue. The stage is raised a good five or six feet from the floor; the decor is primarily scarlet-red curtains; and there is no draught beer. Funnily enough, however, these bizarre settings made for an incredible venue.

Kagoule were first on. By now, we know what to expect from this Nottingham-based trio: an updated take on 90s grunge and atmospheric post-punk. ‘Monarchy’ is as elegant as ever, the perfect set-opener, while ‘Made Of Concrete’ and ‘Mudhole’ are amongst the best songs to be played all night. Final song, ‘Encave’, hints at big things to come. We’re running out of superlatives for Kagoule. Just see them.

Neils Children have been around for quite some time now, but have only recently reformed for new album, Dimly Lit. Their experience shines through in a thoroughly professional set, with tracks sampled from the aforementioned latest album, as well as across the band’s pretty extensive back catalogue. This throbbing bass-driven post-punk serves as the perfect introduction to the more intense Dark Bells that follow.

Dark Bells formed about a year ago, and have been quietly earning more and more critical acclaim for their haunting, melancholic post-punk. Think the intensity and difficulty of The Birthday Party, mixed with the huge soundscapes of shoegaze-era bands My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3. They’re an impressive bunch, especially bassist Ash Moss, who amazes with his repetitive basslines and phenomenal pedal-usage. Watch out for Dark Bells, they’ll do some good things, I’m sure of it.

A great night at an intriguing venue, White Heat could become one of our staples for the best new London music.

Alex Neely

…Alex is listening to MONEY – The Shadow Of Heaven


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