Where Fires Are
Wednesday 15th February
93 Feet East, London E1
Spitalfields Market in the East End of London used to be a run-down working class area, home to the famous meat market. Then the Asian influx saw nearby Brick Lane, home of the curry house, bringing an eastern allure to the fringes of the old East End. Nowadays, it’s become the home of the young and trendy. Gone are the butchers and abattoirs, replaced with trendy market stalls and stands selling tofu and gluten free treats. Well healed young beautiful people dine on Anatolian cuisine whilst eyeing the latest design of coiffure on show at Toni & Guys. But hidden amongst the back streets, in wafting distance of Brick Lane’s finest, is a growing number of live music venues like 93 Feet East, hosting the up and coming bands that are the future of today’s real music scene. Not the commercially produced pap that fills our supermarket aisles but real artists who write their songs from the heart and tour the country in small dark clubs to a growing following. The people outside may be young and trendy, but the music is as down and dirty as the old meat market ever was. I suggest you check the area out.
There are four acts playing the typically dark and atmospheric venue. Openers Kryer start the night with 'Know Your Name' - the first track of their first gig. And a fine start too. The five piece from London played a short 4 track set of original Alt-Rock material that was both heavy but melancholic, with the woes of young love being the overriding theme - you gotta sing about what makes you mad. They had a good if cathartic time to a small but appreciative audience.
Next up are Local 3 piece Knites playing to a sadly depleted auditorium. Doesn’t bother them though. I feel like I should go drag some of those beautiful people from their vegan hell in here to see what they are missing. Another young Alt-Rock band (is that a keyboard shortcut?) the stripped sound of drums, bass and guitar still sounded full with vocalist Andy Cooper adding a melodic wailing that was in no way unpleasant and had elements of Thorn Yorke about his voice. Another great set, I would like to see this band progress further and expand their repertoire. Another young band that should go far. Let’s hope they do.
Kid Kapichi, a Hastings 4 piece bundle of loud, arrived and decided to crank up the decibels. A punkier sound and a punkier attitude, these boys have been endorsed by Sham 69’s Dave Parsons. I can see the link. Far more erudite than the ‘Ersham Boys’, Kid Kapichi have that assured swagger that fits a small backstreet club like the 93 East Feet so well. The seasiders track 'Ice Cream' is typical of their sound – not sugary in any way, but certainly delicious. They are the sort of band you love to get drunk to. And then drunk with afterwards. Their short set was concluded with a doomier almost stoner sound but with no less attitude.
Billed as the headliners, Where Fires Are are a 5-piece band from Leeds consisting of frontman Robbie Gillespie, Nick Banks (keys, synth), James Clegg (bass), Matt Exton (drums) and Ash Reynolds (guitar). They have an edgy Alt-Rock feel to their music featuring big riffs and soaring melodies. Sporting body paint reminiscent of great aunt Boudicca, they are a colourful lot. Tattoo’s are sooooo yesterday. Twin guitars - a Tele and a Strat – pump out harsh guitar goodness through Marshall amps giving a metal edge to their Northern Rock. The sound is soothed by Banks keyboards to soften the sound yet retain it’s pleasingly hard edge. Vocalist Gillespie has a voice that alternates somewhere between growl and falsetto that fits perfectly with the power being pumped out behind him. A powerful sound often interspersed with lulls of almost quiet contemplation before the explosion of sound again assaults the lug holes. There’s almost a funky feel to the bass line of track 'I’m Here' but no let up to the power of the song. 'Your Brother' could almost be considered a ballad although only by the insane. 'Feels Right' has hints of The Cure about it – a dancing bass line with Gillespies calling voice serenaded by a twanging guitar. But all the time there is that deep down grunt that makes you want to sway. Or is that the beer? The head nods as Gillespie brings the song to it’s crescendo. 'I’ve Got the Time', a track from their latest EP 'One Four Six One', sees Ash Reynolds provide additional vocals for a more melodic, but no less powerful slice of Yorkshire anthem. 'Kill My Mind' is a stone cold piece of navel gazing that has the audience head shaking until the delicate keyboard break. The song then builds back up again to a further bout of body rocking that sees both band and audience lost in the music. The closing song, 'You Are The Sun', is apparently supposed to send us on our way in a delightful frame of mind. So says Mr G. It does indeed, in a soft sunny way, to begin with. But they soon rack up the volume to kick us out into the night like a swift boot up the arse.
Each of the four bands had short but enjoyable sets. This was a night to showcase new talent and it’s good to see the future of music has hope, has promise. Let’s hope that these promises are fulfilled. But the music industry today is a meat market for these up and coming bands. Literally.
Where Fires Are Setlist
Die Or Survive
I’ve Got The Time
Kill My Mind
You Are The Sun Part II