The 100 Club, London
Words and Pictures by Captain Stavros
12 years ago, I visited London on a lark. Outside what used to be the Top Shop on Oxford Street, and is now I don’t care what, I saw what would be the weirdest and second most memorable instrument being played by a human being. It was a comically large road cone, through which a rough sleeper was humming Christmas tunes. Periodically, and without seemingly any pattern at all, he would stop humming. Passers-by would drop loose change in front of him from time to time and he would start up again like a child’s novelty piggy-bank. No one would ever know if the change was meant to buy his silence or encourage this budding young talent. Fast-forward nearly 12 years to the day and the road cone would metamorphosis into a conch.
We’re probably getting a bit ahead of ourselves here though, let me introduce the subject in review. Keg, the band, who’re spreading across the land like an inky liquid in water. Probably a band, and an experience, best described using Trainline’s decade old commercial as a visual reference. Completely bonkers and seemingly existing without purpose other than pure enjoyment. It is the blusteriest day in recent memory at the foot of The 100 Club; a venue I’d always dreamt of going to but never quite found the opportunity to do so. At the foot of the steps in a rather unassuming entrance, the stench of a million dropped pints wafts up from between rotten floorboards. I get goose pimples instantly. Finding my way into the belly of the beast, it’s better than I could ever imagine. The layout is brilliant, bars on either end, huge stage in the middle.
I don’t want to over-sell Keg but they are probably the most exciting band I’ve seen live this year. The last time I got this feeling was seeing Squid play in 2018 or ‘19 and thinking, ‘Wow, they’ve got my full attention’. You can’t help but feel your eyes locked in when all seven members are on stage, of Keg I mean, mainly because they don’t allow you to look away. If it’s not a trumpet trumpeting precious millimetres from the audience’s eye socket holes, it’s a god damned conch being played. Albert, vocals, meanwhile is breaking into downward facing dog, getting up and doing a rendition of Conan O’Brien’s String Dance.
The entire audience has, by this point, completely dissolved into something out of Lord of the Flies. In other words, completely feral in an instant. A mob rushes the stage and begins throwing themselves off it. Next to me, a young man leaves the pit in a bloodied white t-shirt. The woman next to me, in hysterics, has completely lost her mind and helps drive the spell we’re all under by constantly yelling ‘TAKE OFF YOUR SHIRT’ in rhythmic intervals to, seemingly, no one at all. Poor Piggy, our tether to a civilized society is unceremoniously severed but with so much pizazz! You can’t help but feel a sense of endearment for a band with song titles like ‘Kids’ though, am I right? Especially when it’s a bait and switch, “shitty kids, shit, shit kids”, rings out and over me like a ‘Wave of Mutilation’.
I was a fan of Keg before walking into this gig but I’m a fair-weather fan. If you ain’t got the chops live, bvvvvvvvvrp, I’m gone buddy. I was going nowhere fast this evening, in more ways than one! These people in the crowd however, made up of half St Martin’s College, half indie sleaze, knew all the lyrics to every song and sung it back to them. That’s commitment, they were diehard. Keg hasn’t even released a full-length LP yet but still managed to play an hour set with a tease of Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’, which would’ve fucking slayed as an encore in my opinion.
When I walked in, I went straight to the merch booth to get a shirt, which was almost impossible as no one was manning the booth. I had to get Butch Kassidy’s Theon (also a dark horse to keep your eye on, reminds me a lot of Black Country New Road) to drag over Keg’s Will Wiffen (you can’t make this shit up, what a name!) for me to buy a shirt. He seemed genuinely surprised I even wanted to do so, bless. By the time the last song was played, lasting 10 minutes at least with plenty of indescribable insanity, the booth was overrun with new and old fans alike. If you too feel like completely losing all inhibitions and having an absolute whale of a time, do not miss out. Buy the ticket, take the ride.