Reviews

LIVE: Power of Solace Presents: Rock Against Violence, Islington Academy 16/11/2017


We’re gathered here at the Islington Academy for a good cause tonight – this four band Rock Against Violence bill is a charity fundraiser for the very worthy Solace Women’s Aid charity involving protecting women and children from domestic and sexual violence. All of those involved on the music side have donated their services for free which definitely deserves kudos.

Roadkill regulars The Sly Persuaders kick things off this evening and entertain those who got here early with a solid 40 minutes of garage rock drawing from their rather good self-titled debut album from earlier on in the year. With tonight’s headliners recently having got some pretty decent looking new management behind them to propel them on to the next level there’s no reason why these guys shouldn’t follow suit soon enough.

The Wild Things are an odd one – just when you think you’ve got them figured out as a straight up garage rock band, they suddenly break out the acoustics and go all country on us midway through, showing an impressive versatility. They’ve clearly invested a lot of time in working out how to put on a killer live show and they deservedly get a hearty ovation from the crowd tonight, probably winning a lot of new converts in the process. How they’ll be able to translate this on to record is another matter entirely, but I’m looking forward to finding out in due course.

Dead Coast put on a brave effort but unfortunately they mainly serve as proof that you can have too much experimentation at the expense of a decent set. With theremins, snake charmers’ flutes and all sorts of other stuff being dug out as the set goes on, unfortunately the songs themselves are a bit unremarkable, often feeling as though they’re kind of wandering around in search of a point. There’s the potential for this lot to become a decent band, but they need to get a bit more focused first.

No such problem with headliners Saint Agnes – this is probably the fourth or fifth time I’ve seen this lot now and it seems as though every time I have, the set has evolved yet again with half a dozen new numbers being thrown in. Those who only know this band from their three singles to date would probably only recognise Old Bone Rattle and the closing Sister Electric in this set, but the new material is of such a high quality that you don’t notice (well okay, I’ll admit that it would’ve been nice to have had When The Lightning Strikes, but that’s just me nit-picking). The lurching likes of Diablo Take Me Home, Witching Hour and I’ve Got A Pistol sound like the missing link between The Doors’ seasick psychedelia and Bauhaus’ angular take on early goth, as waves of riffs come crashing over you, topped off by Kitty and Jon’s alternately yearning and screaming vocals, which is a suitably awesome end to a very worthwhile evening.

As mentioned earlier, Saint Agnes have recently been signed to new management (Primary Talent International) and the future definitely looks very bright indeed for them. Here’s hoping that their long-promised album finally arrives in 2018 – on this evidence it should be a belter…

Pure Rawk would like to congratulate Rock Against Violence 2017 for raising £25,000 on the night (even if we did spend a tenner on the raffle and didn’t win anything!). Donations are now closed for this event, but you can find out more and support the charity directly at http://solacewomensaid.org/.

Word by Andy Close, images Rupert Hitchcox.