Gig Reviews: The Oozes, Angel Hotel, Comic Sans, Helen McCookerybook, The Last Dinner Party, Vanity Fairy & Pip Blom

Gig Reviews: The Oozes, Angel Hotel, Comic Sans, Helen McCookerybook, The Last Dinner Party, Vanity Fairy & Pip Blom

London is alive with the sound of music. Buildings shake with the sound waves emerging from sticky stalwart venues like New Cross Inn and Camden’s iconic Roundhouse, as well as newer venues.

LET THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS COMMENCE

Here’s what we saw recently including our top track for each…

Contents: The Oozes | Angel Hotel | Comic Sans | Helen McCookerybook | The Last Dinner Party | Vanity Fairy | Pip Blom


The Oozes

The Oozes | AMP Studios ★★★★★

Pure rainbow punk trans joy!

The Oozes prove punk lives on through transgressive, irreverent anthems and a cheeky swagger. Their early set at AMP Studios gives us all their hits in a short explosive head banging sesh. Frontman Tom Gilbert gives pierrot Bowie vibes but keeps the gig loud, sweaty and theatrical. There is a lot of love in the band, with great banter amongst the technicolour foursome. Later they return to the big draw of this fundraiser night, a total reenactment of the movie Mamma Mia, which the band make their own with beautiful covers of ABBA bangers and sad songs. THE OOZES TAKE IT ALL!


Angel Hotel

Angel Hotel | New Cross Inn ★★★★★

Irresistible Welsh power pop.

New Cross is brought to life with the sound of Cardiff’s perfect power pop quartet. Irresistible ear worms like Superted channel Marty McFly 80s movie, high-voltage soundtrack vibes. The band makes pure art pop reminiscent of bands like Super Furry Animals & The Shins. The 80s video game soundtrack of your best life includes gorgeous guitar riffs, jangly xylophone synths and super tidy vocals. This band should be your new addiction.


Comic Sans

Comic Sans | New Cross Inn ★★★★

Most fun font makes the most fun band.

Smashing up the patriarchy should be fun too, and Comic Sans take you for a giggle, group hug and bonkers set of rock hits. This queer girl band is the band that we all need right now in these dark times, to make us smile as we punch through the pain. The mood shape shifts, from dark (think Stevie Nicks) to fun (like Heart, and other 80s big rock hair groups).


Helen Mccookerybook

Helen McCookerybook | Soho Poly ★★★★

Helen is the unsung hero of the she-punk movement.

This was an alt history-making Independent Venue Week event, with a screening of DIY punk documentary ‘Stories from the She-Punks’ by Gina Birch (The Raincoats) and Helen Reddington (alias Helen McCookerybook of The Chefs). The documentary is rough, raw and deals with insider stories from the women who made punk bands like The Slits, The Mo-dettes, The Raincoats and Helen’s own band The Chefs. It retells punk history through the lens of tough women who broke the mould and fucked the patriarchy with their truthful noise. The documentary gets under the skin of the movement’s key figures like Poly Styrene and The Slits to reveal a richer tapestry of female punk history.

The gig part of the event is gently subversive, with songs full of catchy melodies and twist-in-the-tail ironic lyrics. Helen’s high pitched voice and fun attitude makes this a very special opportunity to see an unsung hero of punk.


The Last Dinner Party

The Last Dinner Party | Roundhouse ★★★★

Orchestral choral melodies from a Romantic world of lyricism and pomp.

We were so excited to get last minute tickets from a lovely French student for this band which has been hyped to death and touted as posh ‘industry plants’ (how horrendously misogynist!). From a mere five songs on Spotify, the band have created a phenomenon and killed it (in a good way) at their new album launch show at the legendary Roundhouse.

The band arrive with a heavenly choral vocal, white drapery and chandeliers galore. The whole thing seems like an homage to Romantic literary greats, delivered by this renaissance of a girl band. The hooks are on point, vocals epic and the orchestral stadium feel is perfectly suited to the Roundhouse.

The Last Dinner Party do not disappoint with epic versions of their known hits like Sinner and Nothing Matters, and unleashing new album tracks galore. Front woman Abigail Morris fizzes with big movements a la Kate Bush and brings reflective rock out of girls bedroom headphones and to megaphones on the streets. The sound is big and record company friendly, and hopefully won’t become plastic in a sea of mahogany.


Vanity Fairy

Vanity Fairy ★★★★

Camp D-I-S-C-O with stunning vocals and glitz.

Vanity Fairy makes you long for the old days of the Isle of Wight’s Bestival for pure pop fun. Her vocal is stunning on top of a sophisticated dancefloor filling backing track. The room is crowded for her short set, and she is humble about usually performing to ‘one man and his dog’. The crowd is won over by her infectious energy and crowd work, building to a crescendo of sure fire hit ‘Top of the Pops’.


Pip Blom

Pip Blom ★★½

Danish Art Rockers ooze cool but lack a little spontaneity

Arty party trio Pip Blom echo the best of the era of DIY bedroom laptop bands with backing track, like Alphabeat and CSS – but sadly lack a little of the NU rave charisma. New album Bobbie, however, is a masterpiece and should be applauded. It sounds great in the cavernous club environs of London’s largest LGBT+ venue, Heaven.

The super nice band is effortlessly cool in their delivery, but their repeated riffs sometimes feel a little monotonous. No drummer or much vocal clarity means you lose a little connection with their insanely infectious melodies.

The band feels a bit distant, with a few too many polished pop FX – and the sound is carried heavily by a laptop backing track. The whole thing is like watching a beautiful alien teenage babysitter and her charges. Coloured shapes as light panels are beautifully in sync but with no key lighting, it’s hard to connect with the faces of the band.