Monday, 15 September 2014

17/5/2013 Gasoline Queens & Lilygun @ The Unicorn

Friday night finds me back down at The Unicorn in Camden - it's becoming a regular haunt again these days.

Tonight Lilygun are playing here for the first time - to more people than they often do as the place starts to fill up when as they take to the stage.
It's good to see this band starting to reappear on the London scene after some time away and one or two changes to the lineup. The latest version of the band made it's debut at the Bull & Gate shortly before it closed as a music venue in April. That was a sound enough performance, if not as confident as past shows due to the new lineup not having played together much yet. However, tonight's show is noticeably better. Latest recruit Randy Gabbo on guitar seems more at ease  now after looking a little nervous at his first gig with the band.
Ashley's bass is a little on the loud side, but I think it works well - then again I'm a bit biased having played bass myself at quite a few gigs at this venue in the past. There is a new confidence to the band tonight and the latest lineup is starting to click together.
The sound quality at this venue is often surprisingly good for such a small place with a modest PA, and Lilygun use this to good advantage tonight. The music is dark and moody - not Goth but with a definite nod in that direction sonically if not visually. Grunge is another influence - a little Alice In Chains vibe in the vocals at times maybe. Glam is another subtle influence in the background - more literally in the case of the drummer Belle Star who contrary to the norm is the most Glam member of the band! However, being contrary is a big part of what Lilygun are about - even down to the band name - something apparently beautiful, which might kill you! Which brings us to the band's main focus of attention...
A 'Golden Girl' in her shiny metallic jumper at her last gig - tonight she is a 'Silver Lady'. The enigmatic Anna-Christina is the sole original member of the band and wrote all the songs on the band's self titled album released last year. With a background in both classical music and dance she is not your typical rock performer. Lilygun aren't your typical rock band either - there is light and shade giving the music a certain dynamic - but in a more considered and subtle way than the clumsy and cliched quiet/loud bludgeon of many grunge and metal bands. A lot of work has obviously gone into crafting these songs.
There aren't many people around before Lilygun open their show, but this band's set soon drags plenty of people round from the front bar. The band react to this with a strong performance - more relaxed and at ease than their recent Bull & Gate show. Hopefully they can maintain this forward momentum...
Although some people are here just to see Lilygun, plenty of others seem to have their curiosity aroused and seem to be getting into what the band are doing - a few more people are won over by the band's performance tonight judging by the applause between songs and the reaction at the end of the set. Let's hope Lilygun are back here soon...

Tonight's headliners are quite well known to this crowd and the London underground rock 'n' roll scene - they are no strangers to this venue either. Yes, it's the Gasoline Queens - but not as we know them Jim.
There is new blood in the shape of guitarist Jack Flash - long serving rhythm guitarist Dave Renegade has recently decided to step away from the band, although he is present tonight and said to be possibly making a guest appearance at some point. Unfortunately this doesn't happen though. We do get another special guest though, in the form of Chris Rockson on guitar/vox - although he is actually from Manchester he adds a strong New York sound to the set. This fits in well as the rest of the band are fans of Johnny Thunders and the like.
Apart from the likes of the Heartbreakers and Ramones, there is a strong Dogs D'Amour influence in this band's sound - in fact they have toured as Tyla's backing band playing Dogs songs so at one point they effectively were Dogs D'Amour. Although the set consists almost entirely of their own material, they do have another thing in common with Tyla's band apart from Nigel Heaslewood's gravelly vocals - they have some cracking songs -catchy with some good hooks. Numbers like 'Tip Of My Tongue' and 'Baby Moonrider' get stuck in your head, and this band also do terrific version of the Dogs D'Amour classic 'Last Bandit'.
Sorry for there being so few photos of the headliners - my knackered camera was playing up by then and it was ruining my enjoyment of the show so I gave up trying to take pictures.

It's been another good night at The Unicorn - excellent bands and great value for money. Free admission and pub prices at the bar is a good way to get the punters in.

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