Sunday, November 14, 2010


Tonight’s trip to Islington Mill was a spur-of-the-moment one. I might have missed out on enjoying the anticipation in the build-up to a Saturday night-out but instead it was refreshing to walk in to watch three bands and have no expectations.

The Louche FC have played a handful of gigs in Manchester over the past few months and have been warmly praised. And from tonight’s set I can see why. The four-piece wrap waves of noisy, shoegaze guitar over old-fashioned fifties innocence: songs about love, sweethearts and dreams – like Roy Orbison covered by Swervedriver or a noisier Mazzy Star. Some songs play out to 5 or 6 minutes in length but they avoid the pitfall of shoegaze – interminable drift – through propulsive drumming and great harmonic hooks. The band remain fairly immobile and expressionless throughout which is a shame. For the first song singer Kyoko Rathmell was without guitar and more animated. However better than this was in the final song, first when she took an unexpected step off the stage breaking up the static onstage line-up, and then as the song came to an end she angrily dropped her guitar to the floor and walked off stage. More of these edgy moments please.

Emperor Zero play an angry, taut post-punk, reminding me of both Gang of Four and The Fall but never feeling retro. Songs went from angry thrash to slower, industrial numbers with jagged guitar and punkish shouted or occasionally spoken vocals. Throughout singer Matt Boswell was an agitated presence, fidgeting and jerking his way across the stage, driven it seemed by rage and resentment rather than attention-seeking. It was a shame then that for most songs the lyrics were largely indecipherable (although I did catch a great line about “girls with books are more sexual”) so the cause of such anger remains unknown. The final two songs of their set were also their debut single: ‘Berlin’ and ‘Man With Red Eyes’. Vinyl copies were on sale at the gig and I’d recommend tracking it down but given it is a limited run of 19 copies (can this be right?) you better move quickly.

I knew nothing about The Vipers prior to tonight but I expected slinky and sexy garage-rock. Instead I was bludgeoned by a furiously fast punk-metal onslaught. Any subtlety was sacrificed for speed and volume it felt and as songs merged into each other the only thing that caught my curiosity was the fact they appeared to be performing with one guitarist and two bass players. The Vipers are tight and brutal – and possibly as announced from the stage this was their last gig – but they are not for me.

So two out of three bands worked for me. A good tally for an impromptu night out and even better value given admission on the door was only £3.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Matt (bassist) from Emperor Zero here. Cheers for the write-up! Glad you enjoyed it. Was a really good night all round and we hope to do it again sometime.
Just a quick note about our single. There was a limited run for Sat night which pretty much sold out but we're doing another pressing (ltd to about 200) which will be available soon. Anyone interested can get in touch with us via myspace ( Ta!

Anonymous said...

I noticed that there was a paragraph missing from your review, the one about the DJays. I thought they were both incredible [and sexy].

p.s. I am of the understanding that there truly are only 19 copies of the Emperor Zero 7" available. There seems to be a lot of mis-information around.

p.p.s. Those videos are really good.

DJ Benzedrine

Anonymous said...

I also thought the DJs were good and sexy.

DJ Hopeful

An agitated presence said...

Hi, other Matt (angry singer) from Emperor Zero here. Thanks for the review and video!

Just wanted to say that for anyone who's not part of the desert wasteland of Myspace, we're also contactable via new media forms such as 'email' ( and 'Facebook' (search Emperor Zero) and anyone who bought the vinyl can contact us if they want a free mp3. In fact they're going to anyone who wants one.

I strongly suspect the spreader of rumour and misinformation about our single to be an overly-idealistic representative of our record label, SWAYS (a new independent that's also home to The Louche F.C). He claims to stand for the work of art in an era of mass production. He will be tried for subversion.

There WAS a limited run produced just for the Islington Mill gig but these have pretty much sold out. The corporate droids of SWAYS are now busy mass producing the single proper which is in no way limited, we will make as many copies as the world can stomach, I'll whore myself on T4 on the Beach if that's what it takes.

I'm pleased you liked the 'girls with books' line and the lyrics for The Invasion are now up on our Myspace page, being as the song is now in the public domain. The reference points include McDonald's, torture instruments and English seaside towns and it rests on a tedious extended metaphor about a relationship between a German girl and an English boy being a bit like World War 2. *Sigh*

The Archivist said...

Misinformation or not, it's all very entertaining and you're all very sexy.

A Representative of T4 on the Beach said...

...we accept anyone. Welcome aboard.

HPofP said...

I'm interested in this 'pretty much sold out' claim. Nineteen records guys. Either they've all gone or they haven't. Can we have clarity?

Walter Benjamin said...

It's a complex situation. We live in volatile economic times. What would Charles Saatchi do? What is art? (There are 2 ltd editions left at £3 each.)

George Osbourne said...

With 2 copies left of an already limited run of 19, I'd say these are now considered pretty rare items, double your monies; sell them at £6 a pop*

*Don't forget to pay your tax.