Monday, 15 September 2014

4/9/2013 Jonny Cola & The A-Grades album launch gig

Wednesday night finds me down at The Lexington. I wasn't that keen on this venue when it first opened but I'm warming to it these days - a music venue which stocks three real ales and charges well under £4 a pint encourages me to keep coming back. No ale in the upstairs bar, but it's not the end of the world if I have to go back downstairs to get a decent pint. And not in a plastic glass either. At a mere £6 on the door to see three bands it's excellent value for money compared to most places in Camden or the West End.

Unfortunately I miss my train, and consequently the first band too. I'm told The Ladykillers were good though. Next band is Temple Of Gold. Hopefully my pictures are better as I've just got a new camera after having to use my phone to take pictures at gigs for the last few weeks. As I only got the new camera this afternoon I've not had time to figure out how it works yet...
This is the new band from David Ryder Prangley of Rachel Stamp fame. His latest outfit isn't a million miles away from Rachel Stamp (also on tour later this year) but this lot have a harder more edgy sound. For Temple Of Gold David puts guitar/bass aside and concentrates on just singing/fronting the band. While DRP himself shows a more straight ahead rock image in this band, his bandmates head in the opposite direction with a far more Glam look.
As you might expect, there is still a strong 1970's era Bowie influence, but this is far more of a rock band than D.R.P.'s other combos and definitely sounds more powerful - particularly because of the way Belle Star (also to be found drumming in Lilygun) drives things along.

This is the second midweek gig I have been to at this venue recently, and they have both been very well attended - they must be doing something right at The Lexington. Tonight's headliners bring their own crowd, and tonight for their album launch show they have brought more people along than usual.
I think Jonny Cola & The A-Grades are one of the most improved bands I've seen in the last two or three years. I found them a little too indie-pop for my tastes when I first saw them, but their sound has got noticeably tighter and harder since then. This is a good thing.
Like tonight's previous band there is a very strong Bowie influence at work here. The indie vibe is still there - Suede in particular, and you can throw in some early Manics too. Maybe some New York trashy punk, and large helpings of power-pop with big guitars. I think virtually the whole of the band's new album 'Spitfire' is played tonight, and a few older songs too. Both the album and tonight's set are varied - there are quieter moments and keyboard based interludes and well as plenty of rocking out. We get good value for money as the band come back for a well deserved encore and play for nearly an hour all told.
The band's energy level is high and they play like they really mean it. Although their songs are poppy and commercial, there is more of a punky edge to to their performance compared to other indie bands - no shoegazing going on here!
I don't think anyone goes home from this show disappointed, and I think the A-Grades album launch show could be considered a great success. An excellent night!

I think the band made a good choice of venue for this gig - the place is open until two in the morning, and unlike many well known music venues I'm actually happy to stay in the venue and have a few beers after the show - decent beer at reasonable prices = party time! Certain venues make you feel less than welcome and have security trying to throw you out almost as soon as the band finish playing, and some venues you want to get out of as quickly as possible anyway to get a decent drink elsewhere. The Lexington is not like this, and I wish there were more venues like it. I don't have to get up in the morning so it's gone 1.30 before I finally head for the night bus....

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