Sunday, 14 September 2014

10/4/2013 Lilygun, Drilling Spree & Heel @ The Bull & Gate

SubjectLilygun, Drilling Spree & Heel @ The Bull & Gate
DateCreated4/17/2013 1:54:00 PM
PostedDate4/18/2013 10:03:00 PM

This is a gig I've been looking forward to, but also there is a tinge of sadness. The Bull & Gate is closing as a live music venue and this is probably the last time I will ever see a band here.
I've always found the Bull & Gate one of the nicer small venues to visit as the front bar is a largely unspoiled traditional pub, with real ales and reasonable prices.

I feel it's a slightly mismatched bill tonight, with the opening band Heel being more 'pop' than 'rock'.

You can't knock their energy and sheer enthusiasm, but they don't sound that tight and maybe a bit more time spent in the rehearsal studio wouldn't go amiss...

The singer is very lively, but the guitarist seems to think the show is all about him. Individually they all play well and are obviously competent musicians, but the vocalist acts more like she want's to be a 'pop star' than the rest of the band. They don't quite convince as a unit and come across as rather lightweight compared to the following two bands.

Next are Drilling Spree. Now this is more like it! 

Unlike the previous act, this lot all look and sound like they are in the same band. Tight and well rehearsed with a heavier sound and a much darker image. 

In spite of appearances Drilling Spree claim they are not a Goth band - but who cares anyway? They are a good band - that's what matters. As well as sounding good they have stage presence and personality - each member of the band having their own thing going on but all fitting together well.

If the bass player looks familiar that might be because by coincidence he (Alice Rain) also appeared in my previous blog with his other band Maleficent as well as being an ex-member of infamous London sleazesters King Lizard. Drilling Spree are good to watch as well as to listen to and I reckon they are one of the better bands on London's current Goth/notGoth scene - much more convincing than tonight's opening band.
Tonight's headliners have a bit of history with this well known Kentish Town venue and played here in their earliest days. Although personally I have not seen the band at the Bull & Gate before, it was here that I first met the band's enigmatic leader Anna-Christina at another band's gig several years ago - she told me that she was in a band and the drummer (at the time) was one of the UK's best known rock drummers Robin Guy - who is also the drummer in Rachel Stamp as well as playing with a very long list of big names in the rock world.
This got my interest straight away, but it was some time before I got a chance to see her band. I have seen Lilygun many times since though, with quite a few different lineups...

Tonight see's a new version of Lilygun make their debut. This is the band's first gig with new guitarist Randy Gabbo and only the second with bass player Ashley Dreher.

After launching into 'Sunlight Dream' the band play a shorter than usual set of 6 songs as the new lineup has only been together a few weeks.

The band play well, and despite the newness of the current lineup I don't notice any mistakes.

Most of the songs from the band's self titled debut album from last year get an airing, although the single 'Moonlight' is conspicuous by it's absence. These London based Goth/grunge/glamsters seem to make an impression wherever they play, and I'm sure they have gained some new fans tonight as well as bringing out a respectable showing from their usual fanbase this Wednesday night.

There is plenty of light and shade in the songs - varying from heavy grunge influenced rock, to Goth, and ethereal and atmospheric melodies - the 'Glam' influence tonight being restricted to Anna-Christina's golden jumper!

There is no shortage of energy onstage and Lilygun look like they intend making their last ever show at the Bull & Gate one to remember!

Even though Anna-Christina and drummer Belle Star (a well known figure on the Glam scene in his own right as well as drumming with many bands) are the only members who have been in the band previous to last September it doesn't show.

All the bands tonight have been worth seeing - yes even the first one was worth checking out, and I'm glad that my many visits to the Bull & Gate as a music venue have ended on a good note. It looks like Lilygun's next show will be at the Renaissance Alternative Music Festival at the Boston Arms Music Room in Tufnell Park next month - I'm looking forward to it already.

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