Monday, May 28, 2012

London Music: Happy Mondays, Black Market Karma, SULK

I'm back after a fantastic holiday in London, England, where I passed the time with some good friends, drank a few pints, and saw many, many fascinating things. Amongst them were a few bands. The first were The Inspiral Carpets and The Happy Mondays at the O2 Brixton Academy on May 11th. The crowd was lively, but well behaved, and the bands sounded great. Although the Mondays were the headliners --- and were excellent, mind you --- I felt that The Carpets put in a stronger performance. There's something about Clint Boon's Farfisa that just gets everyone rocking. I couldn't find a decent clip of The Carpets, so here's one of The Mondays perfroming Step On

The following evening I saw Black Market Karma at Paper Dress Vintage, a dress shop that doubles as a bar and band venue during the evening; the band was set up in the front window, facing the back of the store. It seemed like an odd, and very small, venue to me. The crowd was quite small, too (maybe 50 people), but that didn't seem to deter the band --- whose average age is around 18 --- because they put in an excellent performance. They played 5 or 6 songs, and then quickly packed up and departed. Check out the band's bio here, and click on "free downloads" for a code to download their 4 song EP All That I've Made and their full-length album Comatose. Both are great, and I can't wait for the new one, Cocoon, due out in late-June.

Around a week later I saw SULK at The Purple Turtle in Camden. Unlike the Paper Dress Vintage it was a proper band venue, with a stage and everything. Unfortunately, the crowd was quite small, but, like Black Market Karma, the band wasn't put off by that, and showed us all why they've created such a big buzz around England. They played 8 songs and quickly packed up because they had to vacate the stage for the next band. My friends and I left shortly after that; we had seen what we had wanted to see, and went away happy. SULK is a great band, and I'm sure they are going to be huge.
I'm going to post two videos here. The first is a tune called "Marian Shrine" which was done with a slightly different line-up and under the band's former name, The Ruling Class. It is songs like this one which garner them comparisons to The Stone Roses. It has a cool groove and some great guitar work. The second song, "Wishes", was, I believe, their first single under the name SULK. This one has a stronger pop influence, but retains that late-80s/early-90s Manchester feel, similar to that of The Charlatans.

This is great stuff, and I'm glad I was witness to it. The world needs more music like this to save it from the likes of Nickelback, Lady Gaga, and Kanye West.

I did manage to take some (blurry) photos at the SULK gig, and I'll try to get them up with my next post. Until then, enjoy the tunes, and share them with others.

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