Hello Shindiggers!
This blog is no longer being updated, for news and reviews please head over to www.shindig-magazine.com
When you're there you can also sign up for the weekly newsletter to get the latest sent to your inbox.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Live Review - Magnetic Mind/Milky Onions/The Kumari

The Magnetic Mind single launch party, with Milky Onions and The Kumari
The Dalston Victoria, London, May 17

After a nightmare journey to the venue, getting off the bus at the wrong stop and getting a bit lost, I still arrive in good time.  My main reason for going in the first place was to see Milky Onions.  I’d missed many gigs for various forgotten reasons, but was determined to make this one.  Well, it was also The Magnetic Mind’s debut single launch party and that disc 'Maybe the Stars, Maybe the Sun' is quite delicious!

Before them though, we have up first The Kumari, a band that features two members of Speak and The Spells (Alex Felstead on drums and Benjamin Craven on guitar), Claude Pelletier of The Vinyl Stitches (vocals, guitar) and Phil Istine, mostly known to me because of the Happening club and Shindig! magazine.  After being totally wrong footed by the first number, an instrumental that owed a debt to Brian Jonestown Massacre, it was straight up no-nonsense '60s garage-psych all the way.  They could do with a bit more variety in their set though I feel. It did all seem to go along at the same pace, which wasn’t helped by poor sound in the venue (something I’ve found quite the norm at The Victoria sadly).  It was only their third gig though and despite apparent nerves, I feel with a few more gigs under their belt they could become quite special with a few changes to the set dynamics here and there.

Milky Onions are a different prospect altogether.  I would definitely refer to them as  psychedelic, though I feel they are not so contrived as to settle for one generic tag.  Their set is so fun filled, it’s almost impossible to walk away disappointed.  Three of them, Ben Bennett and brothers Nick and Tom Hindley, swapped instruments at various times (guitar, bass and 12-string electric guitar), with only Lizzie Clough (keys) and Dr Rosko (drums) sticking to their allotted instruments (though I found out Lizzie does play violin as well normally). With a set packed full of sing-along melodies with well thought out four-part harmonies, great musicianship and humorous lyrics, they reminded me somewhat of early Mothers of Invention.  One standout track 'Something in My Pocket' was a case in point, going off on various tangents in the space of under three minutes, carrying a great hook and fantastic vocals.  The song itself, written by Tom, seems to allude to taking LSD.  I could be wrong, but with a chorus of “Open your mouth and stick it on your tongue, It’s alright girl, I will be your guide tonight” I’m left with little doubt.  The set came to a fantastic end with the aptly named 'Kraut Pleaser' (see what they did there).  And what a…er…Kraut pleaser it was too.  A repetitive riff going round and round, messing with your head, going up, down, in and out, it was a great way to round off what was a brilliant set.  Milky Onions are my new favourite band!

This all left The Magnetic Mind with quite a challenge.  Having said that though this was their party, with their loyal supporters and they didn’t disappoint.  From the opening number, 'Stay Away From the Door', you could tell this band meant business.  They look fantastic, especially singer Ellie Foden with her fantastic hair and garb, sending you straight back to the 60s and how you imagine bands at one of those legendary happenings at Filmore East would’ve looked and sounded.  If only they had some oil lamps.  If we have to make comparisons (which we do) they sound like early Jefferson Airplane jamming with Ray Manzarek to these ears, which is totally alright by me.  The band have gone through a couple of line-up changes over the year and a half of being together and they are all the better for it.  Having played on a bill with them a year ago, the addition of John from Hidden Masters and Simon on keys has improved their sound immensely.  In the middle of the set, they even bravely managed to throw in a swerve ball by playing a bluesy number, 'I was Awoken', which again showed what a great voice Foden has.  It proved the band have a lot more to offer than some 60s inspired psych bands would usually give us.  The set came to a climatic end, with a great version of the aforementioned single 'Maybe the Stars, Maybe the Sun', with excellent vocal harmonies from bass player Paul (which were strong throughout the set).  With their aesthetically pleasing look and professional sharp sound, I’m sure they will continue to play to decent sized audiences on the psych scene and it will be well deserved.

So an excellent night out then, not at all spoiled by missing my last bus home and getting a bit lost again (more alcohol fuelled than my troubled trip to the venue earlier though).  A great line-up of bands that means one of the most enjoyable gigs I’ve been to in a while.

Peter Jordan

No comments:

Post a Comment