If you live
anywhere in or around London and haven't yet noticed what the
Lucida Records label is up to with its live events then you need
to pay attention.
Home to the
infamous Leg Puppy, Lucida has effectively established a monthly
residency at the venerable Dublin Castle in Camden, something of a
near legendary live music venue, where the likes of Blur, The
Killers, Madness, The Libertines, Coldplay, The Arctic Monkeys and
Supergrass have all earned their live chops and built their
month or two so, and supported by funding from Arts Council
England, Lucida Records puts on a night showcasing some of the
best rising and emerging talent operating in and around the
fringes of electronic music - frequently with an emphasis on
female artistes. My first gig of 2023 was at this
night back in January, where I was fortunate enough to
discover Analogue Electronic Whatever. Tonight was the latest
compelling incarnation of the format.
were alt-pop outfit Ashkat.
Ashkat is the stage name of the lead singer and songwriter, but
tonight the act was fully realised with Cess Greeness on backing
vocals and synths and Jez Noble on live electronic drumming
duties. As soon as Ashkat started I was instantly reminded of the
similarly distinctive tones of Kah
whose first album More Than Dawn over a decade ago
made an impression on me.
The intro to
the second song Grow faltered, stopped and had to be
restarted, but she calmly fixed it and we were quickly back in the
moment. A strong voice with broad range combined with some nifty
sampling and looping work with the gear was a solid way to begin
My Hand, Grow, Together We Breathe, Spilt Milk, Ashes Falling
is a solo artist from Bulgaria. The SETI-like signals that opened
her set were tantalising. "I wanna freak you out!" she
screamed. This was a promising start.
impressively expansive sound could easily carry an audience of
several thousand in some megaclub, but I'll take a back room in
a Camden pub any day of the week. Although there were actual
songs in the set, it was the glitching tones that drifted in
between the main tracks that I could have listen to for hours on
end. Vibe wise, there were glimpses of early Grimes here and
there (clearly no bad thing). I definitely want to hear the
recorded versions of what I heard here.
the potential (and talent) to go seriously far. See her soon in
a small venue near you - before those megaclubs call her.
Sandman, The Leader, Enough To Believe, Screenshot, Black
Season, Virtual Love
[L-R]: Ashkat, LVA, Leg Puppy
than a touch of The KLF about Leg
Puppy. There's a nudge and a wink in the delivery, but
their underlying Black Mirror-esque observations on modern
society remain acerbic and just the right side of bleak.
'their' but Leg Puppy has essentially always been a 'one man
band' in Darren Laurence. In times gone by, a Leg Puppy gig was
a bit like someone had let loose a carnival sideshow inside a
music venue by mistake. These days, the live instrumentation all
falls on Laurence's shoulders, seemingly testing out a new piece
of esoteric kit every few months, but there's still a
performance side to every show with Madame Crumpet doing a turn and adding backing
janitor/construction worker in a high-vis jacket and yellow
helmet swept his way through the crowd with a broom from time to
time, recalling familiar antics by the
mighty Pattenbrigade Wolff. There were some hypnotic
monochrome visuals throughout as well. Very nice.
The lyrics to Your Profile is Dope are
hilarious, and those to Twitter Man had been tweaked (to
account for Elon Musk's acquisition) "Blue Tick Man" was
now the chorus refrain. Fan favourite (and there were definitely
a few Leg Puppy fans out tonight) Selfie Stick Narcissitic
Prick pumped up the set towards the end and was the best
rendition I've heard of it to date. The audience down the front
were going nuts for it.
Leg Puppy's aim was to get people dancing to social commentary
lyrics then consider it mission accomplished.
Setlist: Mummy, Your Profile is Dope, Twitter Man,
Dominator 23, Selfie Stick Narcissistic Prick, Kinky Emoji
Photos [L-R]: Dicepeople x3
Finally, dark-electro two-piece Dicepeople
took to the stage for the (much deserved) headline slot. I've
watched this act steadily develop since they first appeared on the
scene a few years ago. They too have gone through a few lineup
changes, but the heart remains intact with Matt Brock being the main
songwriter and driving force behind the band. Lead vocals come
courtesy of Zmora, who always delivers them with a performance
worthy of a theatre stage.
setlist was built around their upcoming album Wasteland (released
on 14th July), and the eighth track Black
Tears was their version/remix of the track Tears by
Leg Puppy. I was fortunate to have caught some of the new material
(Red Lines, Waste, Deeper and Empress) when they
performed at The Lexington in February, supporting Zanias, and was
blown away by the impact of their latest songwriting.
with one of the strongest new tracks, the superb Waste,
which is definitely channeling Dubnobasswithmyheadman-era
Underworld. The new tracks demonstrated the range and
depth to the current writing, with the more chilled entries like Solitary
Soul being among the highlights. Dicepeople's sounds has
evolved into something glorious, and the response at the end of
their set, from a very up-for-it crowd, was rapturous, with chants
for "One more song". Clearly unprepared for an encore, they
had to pick something quick before the moment was lost, so used
the higher BPM Control to provide a suitably dancey coda
to close off an excellent evening out.
Red Lines, Divide and Rule, Solitary Soul, Deeper, Empress,
Control, Black Tears
got to hand it to Lucid Records for consistently putting on
inventive, often female-focused, acts that reassuringly
demonstrate that there's plenty of quality, rising talent out
there, if you know where to look. Thankfully, for those either
too busy or lazy to do the ground work themselves, Lucid do
all that hard work so you don't have to. Just turn up to the
next Lucid Records night and have a great time.
+ Photos: Rob Dyer