Wednesday Night is Music Night

    God, I have missed this so much. Live music FTW.

    I get emails from the Joe Strummer Foundation . The most recent one told me that their artist of the month for September was someone called Gemma Rogers. I hadn’t heard of her, but was interested when I read that she’d had an album launch at Paper Dress Vintage. That’s a place just down the road from me on the Narrow Way. It used to just be a second-hand clothes shop, but now it’s more, I guess.

    Anyway, the thought that she might be a local piqued my interest, as well as the JSF recommendation, so I gave her a listen, and liked what I heard a lot.

    She was booked to play at a place called Folklore, on Hackney Road, so I thought, why not? In support was Gabi Garbutt and the Illuminations , who I saw once a few years back, because Sean Read, whom I know from round these parts, was producing them and playing in the band. Back then. Not anymore. Not tonight, at least.

    Going to a gig in a small venue? No big deal, right? Except… this is the first gig I’ve been to since I saw Glen Matlock. At the end of February 2020.

    It felt like quite a step.

    But after a bite to eat across the road, we made our way in through forbidding, castle-like doors. Inside is a smallish bar area, and a classic pub backroom. The stage made of two layers of forklift pallets topped with hardboard. It was smoky. Visually, it was like being back in the eighties. But of course, it was stage smoke-machine smoke. Exactly why it filled the air before anyone had taken to the stage escapes me.

    Unless it was to show the lasers. It looked like this:

    A pub back room with a low stage set up for a band. Laser beams criss-cross the smoky atmosphere.
    The back room of Folklore Hoxton

    Anyway, Veronica Bianqui brought her Hollywood-fuelled LA tones to Hackney Road. Though it turned out she had been on the bus with us down from Clapton.

    Veronica Bianqui on stage
    Veronica Bianqui on stage

    I probably enjoyed Gabi Garbutt’s performance most of the three. Because at times? At times they sounded a bit like late-period Clash.

    Gabi Garbutt on stage
    Gabi Garbutt on stage

    They sounded. Like. The Clash. Combat Rock-era. I think it was mainly the bass player sounding a bit like Paul Simonon. Whatever, I can pay no higher compliment. No higher compliment can be paid.

    But Gemma Rogers was also great, with the singalong of ‘Rabbit Hole’ being the highlight. Not often you get the band applauding the audience.

    Gemma Rogers on stage
    Gemma Rogers on stage

    But yes: I had missed it so much more than I realised. Just getting together in room with a hundred or so people, while others make rocking sounds up the front? How could I have forgotten?