Live Review: Dark Horses / Neil’s Children / Telegram, Shacklewell Arms, London (02/08/13)


East London’s Shacklewell Arms once again played host to an impressive line-up: psych-rock Telegram, krautrock-inspired Neil’s Children and the gloomy post-punk of Dark Horses.

It’s rare that all three acts in a night will be worth writing about. There’s usually that one band that never quite hits the heights of the others, and subsequently get discarded from any reviews. However, for once, all three of these bands are most definitely worth mentioning, and certainly worth checking out.

To keep things simple, here’s a chronogical review of the night:

East London’s favourite new band, Telegram, took to the stage fashionably late, as is often the case at the Shacklewell Arms. By this time, quite a crowd had amassed; for a band that are making a name for themselves with their take on psych-rock akin to Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs and The Horrors. They fly through a set that showcases most of the tracks featured in their BBC 6Music session with Marc Riley. ‘Follow’ is once again the stand-out track, with its thumping riff and cracking chorus, but ‘Folly’ comes a close second, largely down to its new guitar-crazy climax. They play Voodoo Vault, Mayfair this Wednesday 7th August. Check them out.

Neil’s Children are a slightly different proposition. They play a form of bass-driven krautrock, that, at times, is both catchy and difficult to listen to. Neil’s Children are by no means a new band, having been around since the early 2000s and only just reforming for new album Dimly Lit. This experience perhaps shines through in their live performance, with an extremely tight band and a captivating stage presence. ‘Trust You’ is a set highlight, with its baggy synths and krautrock rhythms, but there is rarely a dull moment. An interesting band that warrant another outing to see them.

Finally, Brighton’s gloomy six-piece, Dark Horses, arrived onstage. At first, lead-singer Lisa Elle looks frighteningly similar to Margo Timmins of The Cowboy Junkies. And for a while, this comparison goes beyond simply appearance, with comparable vocals and haunting mannerisms. However, it soon becomes apparent that Dark Horses are far more than a Margo tribute act. At times psychedelic, at others all-out rock, Dark Horses are, quite simply, mesmerising. ‘Radio’ almost sounds like a French ‘chanson’, yet remains immensely dark and intense. ‘Alone’ is practically a disco track, but that intense doom still courses through it. By no means a new band, having already toured with Kasabian and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, they ought to be considerably bigger than they are. Watch this space.

A great night at what is always a welcoming venue. Expect to hear much more of these three bands.

Alex Neely

…Alex is listening to Drenge – Drenge

One Comment
  • Kate
    9 August 2013 at 03:37
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    Telegram are the best!

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