VIVA LE PINK – The Black Heart, Camden, Friday 23rd November
Camden’s Black Heart venue was taken over in no uncertain style for this debut gig by psychobilly newbies Viva Le Pink. Self-promoting the event and hand picking two lively support acts in the shape of Knoxville and Rukus is confident enough. Having the show sponsored by your side-project tattoo tonic business, complete with raffle and pole dancing smacks of colourful boldness in the extreme.
This wasn’t just a gig, it was a whole sassy showcase. Missy Le Pink, the band’s focal point, driving force and creative inspiration would have been chuffed with the shape and size of punters who pitched up. The place was pretty much rammed and not just with inked-up hepcats, pouting hell kitties and slicked-down rockabillies either. The fresh three-track EP ‘London Crawlin’’ squeezed out on a limited run last month had drummed up enough interest to drag out an eclectic and curious audience. Either that or the prospect of t-shirts, vests, elpees, deeveedees and bottles of tattoo tonic (the essential elixir for tattoo longevity) as prizes in the ‘Rockin’ Raffle’ was too much to resist. (I didn’t win anything.) (Maybe I should have bought a ticket…)
The pole-dancing routine just before Missy hit the stage maintained the interest levels too. Her band were already up there, underscoring the eye-catching gyrational performance with a snaking, sleazy ‘Pink Panther’ theme tune. On Missy’s arrival, sweeping past the diminutive pole dancer, they cranked up the pace and ripped through ‘Hard Hearted Woman’ to start the show proper without missing a beat.
This is not the same band that recorded the EP. Sadly, the hugely talented Terry Edwards (The Specials and Tom Waits) was booked up ‘til next April, as was Phil Doyle (The Guitar Slingers). But that shouldn’t take anything away from this crew who scorched through ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, smashed a version of The Fuzztones’ ‘She’s Wicked’ with a seriously mean staccato riff and powered through Richard Hawley’s ‘I’m Looking for someone to Find Me’ with a snare so sharp you could shave your hillbilly stubble with it.
The band was a great visual spectacle: sax blowing sweet stage left, upright bass grooving stage right, guitarist swinging his piece so low he was scraping the floor and neat, driving drums out the back. But it was Missy Le Pink who, with tattoo sleeve, flowing pink locks and bust-cinching corset, held centre court. Strapping on an oversize white Gretsh to lead a hi-octane stomp through their very own ‘Queen O’ Jack’ was the highlight. The vocal delivery can only get more assured with a few more gigs under her belt. Missy has a confident style and easy manner – even borrowing a tissue from the crowd to wipe mascara from her eye.
This short set was laced with the kind of energy you’d get if The Cramps and Imelda May hooked up for a jam at the local barn dance. There’s a need for more material (just around the corner apparently) and the experience of more gigs will be good. But this was a rollicking debut and the only way is up.
In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)
Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)
THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)
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