Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Gig Review: MakeWar at DIY Space For London 30/11/16

Sometimes in London you have those nights when there are two excellent gigs on and you have to choose between them. This was the case last Wednesday night where you had MakeWar and Cory Call playing DIY Space For London and Muncie Girls, Woahnows and Happy Accidents playing at the Camden Underworld. We were definitely spoilt for choice! Emma and I chose MakeWar which was being put on by Everything Sucks Records. MakeWar are one of my favourite bands of the past year and Emma wanted to see them after missing them due to a clash with Broadcaster at Fest. We made our way to London and, after a little bit of drama with the tube, we eventually arrived at DIY Space. When we got there and got into the warmth we discovered something - it seemed as if all the other London punks had decided to go and see Muncie Girls. If you were to count up everyone in DIY Space on this night, including paying punters, members of the bands, organisers and staff at the space I don't think there were more than twenty people at the show - this however did not stop a great night of live music.

First up was a gentleman named Dexy, an artist I had previously seen opening up for Red City Radio at the Brixton Windmill last year. From what I remember from seeing him last year it look me a couple of songs to really warm to him but by the end of his set I had become a fan. This year I was a fan of his work from the outset. Playing a selection of songs from his recently recorded upcoming new album, I was seriously impressed by his songwriting skills. His talent as a guitarist also shone through as well - there was some lovely melodic guitar playing along with some stomping fast chords. He noted that finger picking his guitar in the winter was a difficult thing to do but he did a fantastic job regardless. I feel like Dexy is one of those brilliant undiscovered talents in London that is on the cusp of something great.

Following Dexy was Chris Snelgrove from Canadian punks Prevenge. Before starting his set he remarked at how excited he was to play the show tonight despite the small attendance. Having never listened to Prevenge or Chris's solo work before I wasn't quite sure what to expect. What I got was one of my solo-acoustic-guy sets of the year. Where Dexy had more of a soft vocal style Chris's was loud, shouty and full of passion. It was the sing-a-long style of acoustic punk rock that I really love. Simplistic and raw - the way punk rock should be. He also played a fantastic cover of Steve Earl's I Ain't Ever Satisfied. Coincidently Emma was at a gig in Bedford the weekend before, seeing Luke Tuchscherer, and he also covered this song. I really enjoyed Chris Snelgrove's set and will be checking out his upcoming solo album as well as his band, Prevenge.

Next up was Cory Call from the Colorado based band Arliss Nancy. Cory decided as there were so few of us he would do his set unplugged on floor with the crowd. His reasoning being that it felt weird to have that many people looking at his "balls." Cory coming down to the floor gave his set a lot more of a special feel. He played a mixture of solo material and some Arliss Nancy songs he rarely gets to play live. It was a lively and honest performance from somebody who clearly lives to play music. Like Dexy and Chris Snelgrove before him it didn't matter about the size of the crowd, Cory gave us a performance like he was playing to two hundred people. Excellent stuff.

After Cory's wonderful performance it was time for Brooklyn's finest band - MakeWar. I have to admit I was a little worried about the small crowd affecting their performance. Whether they would have a hard time getting motivated to play to so few people after travelling so far from their home. I'm over the moon that this wasn't the case. MakeWar played a fantastic set and so much credit has to go to them for that. I'll admit, if I had travelled so far to play to such a small group of people I wouldn't be motivated to play such a great show. I think I may have enjoyed this set slightly more than their set at Fest back in October. Maybe this was due to me being a bit more familiar with the new material from the amazing new album, Developing A Theory Of Integrity, or maybe because the band seemed more relaxed because of the size of the show. There was a playfulness amongst the band that really put a smile across my face. One of the things I first loved about MakeWar was the raw emotion that goes into their music. Live this is magnified 100 times. I love everything they've recorded but live it's just something else. If a band can be brilliant on record and even better live they are definitely doing something right. I enjoyed their entire set but the song that REALLY stood out for me was Tiger Lili. The lyrics in that song mean a lot to me on a personal level so hearing it played live is pretty special.

Despite the lack of people at the gig we still had a great night out. All of the acts were on top form. Even if everyone else seemed to be elsewhere on this night, I am 100% confident that Emma and I made the right choice making the journey to DIY Space to watch a truly special band.

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