Doyle Band/Voi Vang/3D/Punk Disco
Urban Bar Whitechapel, London - 21 April 2018
punk and very, very enjoyable"
I find myself
at the Urban Bar in Whitechapel to see a very eclectic line up of
acts. The upstairs room is fairly small, but has a great vibe and
sound system (and a high temperature too!). The audience for tonight
is like a who's who of electronic music artists and aficionados and
the atmosphere is superb.
First act for the night is Punkdisco. The first time I saw the act I
was a bit confused when a DJ started the set on his own - Paul (and
thought this was not all that interesting). However, then he was
joined on stage by Leah and the entire thing came to life. (Please
don't get me wrong Paul is great - it's just I am not normally
enthused by DJ sets as a concept).
Paul produces clever and interesting mixes of their own music, with
a few extracts of other tunes in between (for that Disco effect).
Leah has a unique, cutting, raw and unproduced sound and makes up
the Punk element. This was a great opening act and a most
entertaining one. I look forward to seeing them again. By the way,
if you do not like profanity then the lyrics of many of the songs
may upset you - and they also raise some of the major issues of the
day - again very punk, and very, very enjoyable.
Punk Disco setlist: 29 DJs, I Can Dance, At the Disco, Mess Leah
Up, Good Looking, All the Things, I'm Not Pretty
[L-R]: Punk Disco x2, 3D
Next up is 3D with the musical tour de force that is Dean (Brutalist
Architecture In The Sun) Clarke. Dean's weapons of choice
tonight are a Moog Sub37 and a Novation MiniNova. The synth geeks in
the audience were astounded by the great Vox Humana sound managed to
get out of the MiniNova, and the amount of feeling and expression
solicited from it.
The other half of the act is Thomas Kelly, who is a brilliant front
man, with a great voice, exceptional presence and a nice counterpart
to Dean. It's a format that works very well. The band wryly refer to their sound as coldrave
- reflecting that it ranges from the minimal synth sounds of
coldwave through to overt dance beats - all with Kelly's strong
vocals and showmanship up front. Most satisfying are the rich,
deep analog synth lines and thumping, dry, drum pad sounds - a
consistent presence whatever the BPM.
Both Biometric and Alien Expression are new songs,
and both getting their first live airing tonight. 3D will soon be
re-branding as Ugly Nature (named after one of the tracks in
tonight's set). New name, same band. So if you've yet to see them in
action, make a note of the name change, and take any chance you get.
The music and performance are absolutely top notch.
3D setlist: The Next New Thing, Biometric, Medwave, I Confess,
Alien Expression, Ugly Nature, I Wanna Riot
Talking of top notch, next on stage was Voi Vang (who was
celebrating her 20th Birthday the following day). This was another
impressive performance with Voi Vang giving a great vocal
performance and a great and extremely well-choreographed dance
routine. (I was very impressed with her spatial awareness on the
relatively small stage).
musical style is the most mainstream of tonight's line up.
There's commitment, professionalism and ambition in equal
measure in everything she does on stage, meaning her music
transcends its core dance pop elements. Aided immeasurably by
her impressive vocal talent.
Photos [L-R]: 3D, Voi Vang x2
If any A&R men are reading this you should take a look at
this young lady. She knocks the spots off many of today's chart
acts. Not only that, but it should be noted than Voi Vang not
only sings and dances, but writes and produces all of her own
material. Another wow act for the evening.
Voi Vang setlist: In The Dark, Mirror, My Mind, Light Of The
City, Sleepless Night, Streets Of Gold, Cards
If Voi Vang has great spatial awareness the
same can not be said for Derek Anthony Williams of the Jan Doyle
Band. I have seen JDB in action on many occasions and the addition
of synth player Michael Stokes is always a bonus. Tonight, Stokes
was playing a Korg PolySix and a Korg DW8000 - both of which I
imagine are older than he is. Following on from the previous three
acts was always going to be difficult, but I should not have been
concerned. As a front man Williams, complete with stiletto heeled
thigh high boots, is a great showman and his performance was
At one stage it looked like he had collapsed, and I was genuinely
worried, and decided to stop taking photos as it would not be
appropriate if he was not well. Happily, it turned out to be part of
the act, and, as soon the track finished, he made an amazing
recovery. William's playfully labels JDB's creations as
Insurrectionary Neo Futurism - stylishly capturing the various
electronic/punk/flamboyant influences. Tonight was also the best
vocal performance I'd heard by him to date.
[L-R]: Jan Doyle Band x3
For the later part of the set Derek and Michael were
joined by Valkyrie from the Priscilla's on guitar (and who has lent
her talents to Lena Lovitch's live band). This added yet another
dimension to the act, especially on tracks like the very Sisters of
Mercy-like Sister Sarah. The finale of the night was a
memorable cover of Toyah's I Want To Be Free, Derek mingling
with the audience and causing chaos (of the good kind). Always
unpredictable and increasingly impressive, Jan Doyle Band demand
(and deserve) your attention.
Doyle Band setlist: Body Balanced, Lucid, Nitrate Visions,
Green, Oblivion,Burn, You Like, Sister Sarah, Start of War, I
Want to Be Free
All in all it was a great evening of very different
and eclectic acts. Based on the enthusiastic responses throughout
from a vocally appreciative audience, I think it safe to say a great
night was had by all. 9/10
Smith & Rob Dyer