She Past Away/Transmission Control Division/Black Light Ascension/Naevus

Electrowerkz, London - 31 December 2014

"It's a goth band, stupid, drum machines are what we love"

[She Past Away poster]I think last night might be the first time I've ventured to Slimelight (the club at Electrowerkz) on New Year's Eve. Had no intention of staying until midnight, as the bands I went to see would be off well before then and celebrating New Year has always seemed at bit pointless, especially with a bunch of people you don't know when you aren't drinking!

There were going to be more bands on in the club, but I really couldn't be arsed to hang around and had never planned to. Was only really there to see She Past Away anyway. Contending with pissed assholes on the night bus is a chore at the best of times, on NYE it's a hellhole.

Anyway, first up was an acoustic set from Naevus' Lloyd James. I'd only seen them for the first time recently supporting Black Volition in a church. It was still Naevus tracks and I recognised at least one from the previous gig. The sound was great and the tracks really worked stripped to the vocal and acoustic guitar. It's the kind of thing that gets lumped in with Goth, but the lyrics are often about social justice or other real world issues rather than sex, love, fairies and shit. Extensive back catalogue though, so there might be one about fairies. If they do one about vampires I'm sure it would be the economic kind. Very much worth checking out.

Black Light Ascension I've seen a couple of times before. On some of those they've been hampered a little by technical issues. Well, tonight after getting an early one out of the way the set progressed unhindered, and aided by what is now a massive sound in the downstairs front room at Slimes blasted through a heavily electronic set. The audience was already pretty big by this time, and the music wasn't a million miles away from the heavy electronic dance some of the DJs play in here, so they seemed to go down a storm. The band seemed very pleased with the reaction. This was easily the best set I've seen them do.

Next up were a Joy Division covers band called Transmission Control Division. I have to say I wasn't expecting much, even though I generally defend covers bands. Many are made up of hugely profiicient musicians with a massive love for the material they are playing. Most covers bands I've seen have made for a fantastic night out. To be honest, I've seen some that are frankly better than the current incarnations of the original bands. I digress.

Once TCD started playing I immediately made a mental note to dig out my Joy Division albums. The guitar was for the most part absolutely spot on, and the bit I'd feared most, the vocals, were pretty much spot on too, even though shared between two band members. There's not a huge selection of Jpy Division tracks to draw from, but it was the more awkward, less popular tracks that really put a smile on my face and made me realise just how important the interplay of guitar and bass sounds there is on those tracks. I've not seen or heard Peter Hook's band, but I reckon this lot could give him a run for his money.

So to She Past Away. I didn't fully catch why Idris, the bassist couldn't make it. They are from Turkey, so could be any number of transport related issues. There was a young lady on a mixing desk, and everything but the guitar and vocal was coming from pre-recorded sources. This didn't bother me particularly, as the guitar is such a large part of the sound and well, it's a goth band, stupid, drum machines are what we love!

I've only recently got into this lot, and discogs describes them as sounding like the Sisters/Cure/Xymox. Well, that's missing Xmal Deutchland which is far closer to what they do on many of their tracks. The vocals are set relatively low in the mix, the main focus being the guitar line underpinned by a prominent and consistent rolling bass/drum combination. I think all the tracks are sung in Turkish, but I think I'd have struggled to make out individual words even if sung in English. The vocal is largely another texture to the sound, especially live.

The room was packed by now, and most were dancing. On stage you can guess it was dry ice, mainly static, eyes down, mouth very close to the mic, just bloody getting on with it. Exactly what I came for. 7/10

Arron Leslie