Vanity Project

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Gallon Drunk, Underground Railroad, Snack Family @ Hoxton Macbeth

Gallon Drunk, Underground Railroad, Snack Family
Hoxton Macbeth. 22nov12.

Sometimes conditions are just right and here at the Hoxton Macbeth it was all set fair for a night of sweaty, squalling rock n’ roll; the audience packed tightly into a backstreet boozer with its walls painted in the sleaziest of reds and lit like a tart’s boudoir.

Snack Family open the evenings business slithering about the place like a pencil-‘tached anaconda, a Tom Waits like growl and a smouldering chasm of baritone sax adding to the speakeasy vibes.

ImageRamping up from the Family’s slinky bedrock, Underground Railroad kick on the pace, merging the rock n’ roll vibes with a post-punk sensibility. J.B. Ganivet, looking like the eighteenth Beatle, wheels away at his bass like Pete Townsend trying to sculpt flint using only his thumb-nail; while his guitarist Marion Andrau and drummer Raphael Mura share the vocals around like a passed parcel at a child’s birthday party. It is assured and a little aloof, but in the very best way; a little mystique never hurt anyone.

There’s nothing stand-offish about Gallon Drunk. More stand in-ish, as frontman James Johnston (pictured*) spends the entire set indulging in some front-row frottage whilst slinging his guitar about with such carefree abandon that the less attentive audience member remains permanently in peril of a blithe biffing.

As stated earlier, the atmosphere is ideal for this kind of behaviour. Nothing’s perfect though, and the ceiling could probably be lower, it be summer and sweat be dripping down the walls, but as a request this probably ranks up there with complaining that the Lexus you’re getting for your 16th birthday has turned up before your party and thus ruined your life. I’m really not that spoiled, honest.

Besides, Gallon Drunk more than make up for these minor troublings with sharp organ stabs,  Terry Edwards’ peel-yer-knickers-off sax action and a rhythm section so muscular it could bench press a tractor. Bad Servant live in particular kicks its recorded LP version into a clammy hat stained by sweaty salt deposits. This gust underpins Johnston who captivates the room whilst prowling and perspiring.

At the end of the main set, blurring the stage line further, his guitar is given to a random punter to clang their contribution to the crescendo and there is almost a fight to be the one providing the ham-fisted blam. You can’t blame people getting over excited though; who wouldn’t want to contribute to a Gallon Drunk set when they’re on this form?

*picture found online from a previous show

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November 25, 2012 - Posted by | new reviews | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] 19: Gallon Drunk. Hoxton Macbeth (November) “There’s nothing stand-offish about Gallon Drunk. More stand in-ish, as frontman James Johnston spends the entire set indulging in some front-row frottage whilst slinging his guitar about with such carefree abandon that the less attentive audience member remains permanently in peril of a blithe biffing” FULL REVIEW. […]

    Pingback by 2012: 25 gig salute « Vanity Project fanzine | December 20, 2012 | Reply


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