On a night defined by wind and rain, the atmosphere was set for what would be a plethora of dark and edgy tunes. Starting off with Sun Scream, a young band from Suffolk whose dreamy psychedelia showed off a level of maturity that belies their age. It will be interesting to see how the band progresses.
The next band to enter the stage was bluesy hard rockers Saint Agnes with what proved to be a hard-hitting high-energy performance that really got everyone’s attention. It was impossible to peel our eyes away as the singer prowled around the stage and the band unleashed their pulsating, catchy rhythms. Fans of the White Stripes would have undoubtedly been in their element when Saint Agnes had the stage.
After they had bowed out in true punk rock style, climaxing with the singer knocking over the amp and preceding to stand on it amidst the melodic chaos emanating from the band, it was now time for the headliners to take to the stage, Death Valley Girls.
These LA proto-punk rockers describe themselves as “an acid-tripping science experiment that’s been buried alive and resurrected as a sexually liberated dystopian chain-gang.” You’d expect them to be nothing short of unique.
Right from the start Death Valley Girls were in full-on psych-rock disco mode, which thoroughly got the crowd going as the band orchestrated their songs to gather in pace and intensity. The keyboard added a pleasant and upbeat touch, which gave the dark and driving tunes a dancey edge.
Perhaps describing their music as dark is slightly misleading. Although the band’s imagery is gothic and the songs do occasionally deal with dark subject matter, the actual music is mostly fun and happy in nature. This unique combination works really well for them and there’s surely no band better suited for a fun Halloween experience.
Comparisons to 70s glam rock and post-punk are easy to make with the band’s sense of fun, energy and attitude all featuring heavily throughout the gig. At times Death Valley Girls seem to follow the political nature of punk, with the song ‘I’m A Man Too’ being a particular crowd pleaser, but usually the message was more about being yourself and having a good time.
As the gig progressed, there was certainly no let-up of energy from the group, as their catchy melodies and driving tunes really kept the crowd captivated and dancing along. It was the disco-rock experience we never knew we needed.
The Hope and Ruin, Thursday 2nd February 2017
Words by Jack Moore