Facebook Slider

PEM @ The Lexington (Live Review)

  • Published in Live


@ The Lexington, London

Words & Pics by Captain Stavros 

A few months ago, Brace Yourself Press, who’re a seemingly never-ending fountain of consistently solid recommendations, shot us one out for PEM and her then recently released single. The vocals hooked us straight out of the gate and shot us back to 2017, when we got caught up in Zoee’s sugar sweet pipes layered atop of equally enamel corroding synth pop. The underwater trill in PEM’s voice is our siren call and could be yours too. If you close your eyes and listen closely when she speaks, you can hear it floating in the back of their throat almost imperceptibly. Their music invites the listener into a conspiratorial embrace and holds them there firmly; not that there was much resistance in the first place. The single came on us like a downpour so naturally we did our best to blag our way into their set to hear it, and much more, for ourselves.

Although singing nearly solo throughout their performance, PEM is quick to note that the rising tides (or talents in this case) raise all boats. From support acts to her band, family, friends, audience, and even designer friend that made their loosely woven and airy Furiosa attire, (pre-Fury Road, more The Green Place). The eleven-track set kicked off with a level climb from ‘Gulls’ and kept a steady ascent all the way through to ‘Sentimental’ (where the violin really came into its own). Set standouts, included but were not limited to, the aforementioned ‘Awe’,‘Gut Health’ and ‘Lullaby London’.The audience hung forlornly off every syllable and note as precariously, and in as much of a fragile state, as PEM’s fingernail which had recently been smashed up in a car door.

Getting away from a ketamine nightmare for a moment, yes, the vocals very much did live up to the hype. We imagine hearing her for the first time would’ve been the same as hearing the golden tones of Karen Carpenter’s voice as she sang‘Superstar’; utterly captivating. The whole set, in fact, was a landscape of rich tapestry, woven right before our very senses.  It is both alluring and terrifying that such a young soul’s well-formed storytelling feels like it has a lifetime’s worth of experience behind it. Speaking to PEM candidly, and off the record, in a sea of people at The Lexington, which surely must’ve been over capacity, everything and everyone else melts away and, like her performance, is a singular experience we recommend if you’re lucky enough to have it. As luck would have it, you can. PEM is currently touring and has just released her EP, which is as satisfying an experience as the performance live was.

Our biggest, and only, regret of the evening is not having the wherewithal when given the chance during our chat to ask if she’d ever consider covering Roy Orbison’s ‘Blue Bayou’. If you, the reader, would also like to avoid the pitfalls of regret,don’t forget to catch one of PEM’s upcoming gigs but bonus, the opening bands were super-solid-rocksteady too and you shouldn’t miss any of their upcoming gigs. Up and comer Scarlett Wolf and her witchy sisterhood slapped. Canty,who followed suit and came at us out of nowhere like a rogue wave, did not disappoint; quickly capsizing any reservation one might have seeing only two figures shrouded in darkness, one sitting on stage. They both are a vivid reminder of the reasons to never miss the opening acts.









Current Affairs @ The Lexington, London (Live Review)

  • Published in Live


Current Affairs

The Lexington, London

Words & pics by Captain Stavros


When a person will say something like, “I hate eggs”, it might not necessarily be the delicious egg’s fault, or the persons.  No, in fact the problem might be that they were force fed eggs at one time or another after politely declining a portion and ended up puking their fucking guts out, thereby associating eggs with putrid and curdy yellowish projectile vomit.  Not fun for anyone, to be fair.  Whilst growing up hearing the term, Current Affairs, which was almost always synonymous with prime-time news instead of sitcoms pushing the limits of their evangelical network censors, and thus dull.  Even though world events, as you enter adulthood (it’s a journey ‘til death or so we’re told), might leave a bad taste in your mouth, Current Affairs are still very much a part of everyday life that we’ve got to choke down.  Until now.  Enter, Current Affairs, band and disrupters of contemporary vernacular.

BBC 6’s Steve Lamacq lazily describes Glasgow/Berlin based C.A. as ‘gets better with every listen’, way to ring out every nuance out of it buddy, but we can’t say he’s wrong.  We caught their headline set, which built up some serious steam across their 11-song performance.  The band compares visually (on stage performers but especially their merch) and stylistically to a Lego project that’s had the instructions thrown out the window.  Clearly, it’s a mishmash of rogue components, but maybe it works even better having gone off script?  The members were drawn into each others orbits, solidified and cooled, with their present four-piece line-up in 2020.

Watching bands set up is a uniform, yet unique experience, case in point drummer, Andrew Milk (of We Are Shopping who are also fucking excellent) removing and refitting their shoes.  Repeatedly.  Rocking a homebrew T with DICKS FROM TEXAS plastered all over it bedazzled in stars.  Lucky ritual or neurosis, what's the difference?  The rest of the gang lurked about on the dimly lit stage setting up.  In the periphery, polka dot wunderkind Gemma ‘where does my shirt stop and polka dot bass start?’, caught our eye.  Nifty!  Everyone and their dog has been describing Joan Sweeney’s vocals as the re-incarnation of Siouxsie and the Banshees.  We were adamant that we’d avoid that pitfall but (Butts!) when the set kicked off with ‘Riled’ roaring out it was undeniable, she is Siouxsie Sioux re-incarnate.  If anyone says otherwise, grab’em by the legs, and throw them down the stairs.

Just shy of halfway through their set, ‘Cahoots’ pitches both punchy beats, up from a melancholic start, and cheesy banter between the members lead by, you guessed it, Andrew Milk.  He really got fixed on the dual pressure climates on stage, hot lights vs A/C, there were no takers and audience seemed befuddled.  We, however, were impressed with the off the cuff commentary, let the record show.  ‘Casual Radicals’ borrowed its distinct wavy guitar sounds from The Orielles with some really approachable warm vibes.  ‘No Fuss’ and ‘Reactor’ were our set faves for different reasons.  The former was a really well put together and solid song, the rehearsals came across on this one.  The latter and their latest single, before releasing their latest album in July, Off The Tongue, ‘Reactor’ was a crowd favourite with huge energy that got everyone moving.  We imagine that was the intent and the plan went off seamlessly.

By the time you read this review, you’ll be sad to hear that the band will have finished this leg of touring, so you won’t have an opportunity to form your own opinion on Current Affairs live performance, yet.  Never fear, that’s our job though, just take our word for it blindly!  You can add them on your socials and stream their jangly and nostalgic for the ‘80s noir wave goodness in the meantime.  We’d recommend also picking up some psychedelic merch as an artefact to live on through the ages though, it’s super unique and collage-y.  We’ll sign off here but not before mentioning something we caught in the press blurbs, Gemma’s mantra – “Everyone’s welcome, but don’t get it twisted”. True say.


Subscribe to this RSS feed