It’s a wet and shitty Thursday but I’m off to catch a show at Camden’s Dublin Castle, and I couldn’t be more stoked. The line-up consists of local cool-cats Blue Tongue Rabbit, Manchester 4-piece SCUTTLERS and the filthy day-time nappers, SLEAZE!
The event is promoted by Prettymalina who have hosted some seriously impressive gigs at Dublin Castle recently. I arrive in time to catch an unorthodox but enticing opener. Cosmic synth forms a bedrock for some rousing spoken word, whipping up intrigue amongst the steadily growing audience.
They wrap up after one track and leave the stage only for the keyboardist (Caleb) to return shortly after as lead vocals/keys for Blue Tongue Rabbit, who launch straight into their set. At times dread-inducing, and other times edging on euphoric, the 4 piece utilise slick, deep hitting basslines with an airy guitar noise to offer a retrospective sound. This is wrapped in the atmospheric synths and the occasional looped scream which pierces hard, but in an extremely arresting way.
SCUTTLERS are up next and these Northern lads don’t shy away from bringing something fresh! The intro to their opening track was worthy of venues 4x the size, drilling straight into a well-rehearsed alternative set. They bring a good (and well- deserved!) following which when mixed with the rest of the punters and the anthemic sing-along tracks, creates an undeniably electric scene. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on these chaps whenever they’re next down south.
The atmosphere shows no signs of subsiding in the turnaround, and in no time, SLEAZE burst in! They throw two fingers up to the sixties and bellow ‘I’m not a Rockstar’, whilst frontman (and certain Rockstar) Dave Ashby’s body rocks with blitzkrieg reminiscent of Joe Strummer’s “electric leg”. Each song that follows is a call to arms, though some are less political than others. With a thumping wall of sound that invokes a METZ show, these guys are at home on a pub stage and playful in the awareness of that. The group function on hybridity and flair, which is lapped up by a swelling audience who don’t always know what to expect. There is a real sense of connection to the crowd though, which is perhaps thanks to the showmanship on offer. SLEAZE offer more great synth too, keyboardist Al Grumble works on a pleasant tangent and lends a Freeland or The Whip sound to an otherwise natural punk show.
The set is short and sweet. It delivers on all fronts. Catching up with Ashby afterwards, we dive into chat about direction of the band, careers, French Art House cinema and staying up for days following a gig...our conversation epitomises the band’s dynamism. This bunch are certainly a freewheeling gang and they do genuinely feel like they have something to say. Given the way they are going, I have no doubt they will find the listeners their music is searching for.
Words: Lewis Facey
Image: Sandra Von B