The Victoria, London
Thursday, 19th January 2023
Sounds Beamed In From Another Dimension… And Why You Need To See These Artists…
I had the absolute pleasure of spending a good portion of 19th January 2023 in That London with author and fellow Welshman Mr. Jez Rowden, a man dedicated to finding new and innovative music in all its guises.
Our common goal was to get to The Victoria in Dalston, London E8 3AS. We had tickets to see Michael Woodman, Kavus Torabi and Lost Crowns.
You may well already have seen reviews of this event, and your question right now, no doubt, is:
“What? It’s nearly April!”
Well, you see, there was REALLY bad traffic… no. Aliens…? no…
OK, look, things that appear in your browser have a fleeting existence and are soon washed away in a never ending tsunami tearing through your favourite items of social media, demanding your attention. So, it doesn’t hurt to publish a gig review a while (ahem) after the event. In fact, I hope I can persuade you to go and see every one of these acts – if you get the chance!
First up, a solo set by Thumpermonkey guitarist and vocalist Michael Woodman.
Armed only with looping pedals and Fender Telecasters and stuff, he absolutely nailed his set. With beautiful, complex and unexpected chords and twiddly playing, he provided his own intricate harmonies using the guitars and vocals and that aforementioned stuff. He brought in an Octave Divider for a bit of bass, and a drum machine made an appearance for his third track, No Moon, No Throne. He even squeezed in a Scott Walker cover.
Mr. Woodman’s music would easily have stood out in its own right, but his between song mini-monologues showed that he can deliver the full entertainment package. I particularly enjoyed his confession to rocking a Star Trek: The Motion Picture Bones McCoy inspired costume (in a tone suggesting that his tongue was firmly in his cheek). Fabulously splendid.
I strongly recommend finding Michael Woodman (or Thumpermonkey) doing a gig and going to it.
Kavus Torabi was up next. No two ways around it, he’s a legend, though I’m sure he would deny it. Being Cardiacs alumni, the front man of his own band, Knifeworld, a member of Guapo/The Holy Family, one of The Utopia Strong and as the worthy successor to Daevid Allen in Gong, this list only scratches the surface of his CV.
Kavus made a glorious racket, which at times verged on the transcendental. With only a harmonium, a Fender Jazzmaster/pedalboard, a microphone, and some tiny bells, I feel it is justified to label Kavus a human tsunami of talent. You don’t need the set list. You just need to be there. Splendidly fabulous. He finished his set with a deeply moving number which inspired me to fondly remember friends recently lost. Luckily, Jez was there to give me a big hug. It was all beautiful.
You really should find a gig where Kavus is performing, whether in a band context or as a solo performer, and go to that.
The Lost Crowns is not just a set of three downloadable content packs for the 2014 action role-playing game Dark Souls II. Oh no; it is also a band, described by Mr. Jez as having a penchant for “…beaming in sounds from another dimension,” and being “an aberration of the natural order”.
Jez is right.
I’m not one for hyperbole (wink), but if you’ve never seen Lost Crowns or heard their album (a second is on its way), then I’m sorry, because I lack the lexicon to adequately describe their music.
To try would be the equivalent of describing Michelangelo’s The Last Judgment fresco and the Sistine Chapel ceiling using only the medium of Dulux White Emulsion and a ten inch roller.
Mr. Roger Trenwith, a main man in The Progressive Aspect and a self-confessed fan of weird music, does not lack the ability to do English like I already done. Click Here to find Roger doing a rather good job of this, without leaving more than a few specs of paint on the tiles of the chapel floor:
And you should check out Lost Crowns’s debut album Every Night Something Happens on their Bandcamp page, Here.
Fronted by the very self-effacing Richard Larcombe, the band contains only the very best musicians from a very here and now, slightly weird music scene.
Richard is an engaging performer and so well suited to fronting a band. Despite his mind-boggling ability to play jagged guitar riffs while singing, veritably flying in the face of the impossible, he states that, had Michael Woodman and Kavus Torabi been performing as part of their respective bands, Lost Crowns would have been the support act – and I think he meant it! Modestly charming.
Lost Crowns’ set was made up of songs from their first album and from the next, as yet unreleased second album. Starting with my personal favourite, Sound as Colour, with Drummer Chops executed by a masked man using sticks the size of telegraph poles (so it says in my notes), all songs enthusiastically enjoyed by an extremely happy audience. This includes the mixer who clearly enjoyed the drums as much as I. I swear, the walls were moving. Nicola and Sharon clearly enjoyed every moment. Rhodri, tucked away in the corner at the back, was at the front only in support with his keyboards and occasional backing vocals and Charlie absolutely killed it (in a good way) on bass. Josh and his magnificent beard were just splendid. My personal favourite moment was when the bass drum produced sympathetic reverberations in my chest cavity, that is, all the time.
What I love about this particular branch of the music scene is the intimacy of the performances and the relationships that the musicians form with their fans. There is nothing stand-offish, aloofish or indeed anything fish about this bunch.
For example, they mingle with the crowd before they go on, and when they’re done. They are clearly music fans in their own right. Before going to the performance bit of the venue, we stood near the bar and Josh Perlman (one of Lost Crowns’ keyboardists and backing vocalists) and I found time to form a mutual Society of Excellent Beard Growers (his beard being truly magnificent). Jez and I had a lovely chat with Charlie Cawood (LC’s supremely excellent bassist) about his other music projects, the aftermath of the pandemic and evryfink, before he had to dash to the performance area.
Not only as often as not will you be rubbing shoulders with these splendid individuals at the bar, but these musicians show no sign of even a hint of being too self-absorbed to show their mutual appreciation for the other acts. Some dance enthusiastically and as close to the stage as they can get – usually while the said other act is performing their set, I must add! One of the band’s partners was right in front of us, dancing like a crazy happy little demon and singing along, probably at the top of their voice, clearly knowing every single word of every song. It was joyous and infectious and brilliant to behold! What a fine ambassador for the band! Splendidly marvellous.
Indeed, I’ve seen Lost Crowns three times now. Every time, without fail, they are a spectacle that is also joyous and infectious and brilliant to behold!
If you get the opportunity to see any of these acts, you must seize it.