The local village pub isn’t somewhere you’d expect to find a (very young) alternative/punk band. But then again, perhaps this is where most young bands start: playing to a bunch of old farts with pints in the back room of their local. I’m sure it’s the perfect way to ensure a humble entrance into the world of music, and the only way to prepare yourselves for the bumpy road ahead of you. So there we were, standing in the sparsely filled back room (which has a rather large fireplace blocking the entire middle of the stage area), and completely clueless about who was performing.
It turned out to be a group of three school friends, two beautiful long-legged girls (Miranda Bardsley and Grace Payne-Kumar) and a passionate male drummer (George Mathews). I’m a sucker for a female-led band for more reasons that one. Firstly I think it’s different, at a time when most bands are polluted with two many sweaty boys and a lack of that badass feminine injection. Secondly, I think there is a bit more sass to a teenage girl, probably because their slightly less awkward and slightly more angry at life. (Parents suck, I h8 skl etc. etc.)
The band started out quietly, with a stripped back electric guitar chord accompaniment and a lone singer. Queue the “1,2,3,4” drum stick clicking exercise (which was a welcome touch of true rock) and BOOM the sound exploded around the tiny room like a slap in the face. It was very guitar heavy, with some equally intense drum parts. I thought the underlying sound was rich and akin to a female Vaccines at times. One problem was the mixing, which sadly didn’t give nearly enough weight to the two gals singing. What I could make out over the bubbling background was beautiful and there were some really great harmonies and intertwining part work going on there. I would have liked a lot more voice and a little less backing.
The band played mostly original material with one White Stripes cover. The songwriting was like a blast from the past. I was picturing 90s kids wearing tube socks with middle partings and a large array of piercings. It was really refreshing to hear that angsty teenage vibe lit up with meaty drums and guitar. I would liken the sound to Misty Miller or Wolf Alice (both fiery and badass female-fronted acts).
Listening to the band on Soundcloud gives a far more accurate representation of their overarching sound and overcomes those technical problems at the gig. They are really well recorded and the two voices have a chance to probably belt the cleverly written lyrics and vocal parts. My personal favourite is “Ex Machina” because of it’s resonant harmonies. The girls’ voices work beautifully together over the insistent drum part. The background might seem slightly busy and scattered but it manages to work well combined with the sustained vocal lines.
So my socks were thoroughly rocked Saturday night at The Plough and all for FREE (except that continuous stream of Gin and Tonics or ‘jiggle juice’ as I prefer to call them). This is what it’s about for me at the moment: low key events with fresh new bands and cheap cheap drinks. What better way to spend a Saturday night? Check these guys out, and keep your eye on the ball. We Need More Cowbell might just be blowing up a new sensation.
May the ROCK be with you,