Situated in a vibrant part of West London, Notting Hill Arts Club is a haven for live music. Far from the gritty, edgy venues of Shoreditch, the Arts Club resides under a HSBC branch. Fitting yet disconcerting, Notting Hill Arts Club has a more up market vibe than most grassroots venues. Catering to the clubbers and gig goers alike; one thing’s for sure, this venue/ bar/ nightclub, whatever you want to call it, welcomes everyone.
Tom Bell and The Alien Brothers kick off the night, with a soulful blend of jazzy beats and ingenious riffs. The four-piece open with ‘Pepperoni Jones’, a smooth jam for the ages. Erik Steaggles’ vocals soar over the top of the awe-inspiring instrumental, which makes for a killer combination of scatty, trancey goodness. Clearly well versed in all things soulful and psychedelic, the lads burst into a momentous cover of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ by Bill Withers, based on illustrious Old Grey Whistle Test performance. Armed with a wizard sleeve full of tricks and surprises, these very talented young men know how to put on a show, pulling out all the stops and playing feel good grooves you just can’t help but tap your foot to.
Changing the mood, Hertfordshire two-piece Curtsy & Cry invade. Fuzz heavy riffs and oscillating chaos seeps from the stage. Curtsy & Cry give off a ferocious blast of lo-fi energy, playing tracks from last years ‘Sally’ EP and some refreshingly coy new songs. Upping the gear for themselves, ‘Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned’ sets the room on fire. From the disconcerting, in your face riff, to the powerhouse drum beat and shattering vocals, Curtsy & Cry are gritty in all the right places, leaving no nerve unscathed. The addition of the bass amp in the mix works wonderfully with the guitar parts, howling and purring underneath adding another dimension to the bands already impressive get up.
Rounding out the bill tonight are angst ridden sofa rockers, Lady Pocket, promoting the release of their debut single ‘Aloha’. Storming the stage with a massive amount of tenacity, it’s easy to see why the four-piece are so confident, they’ve pulled out all the stops to get as many people packed into this sweaty basement as possible. All screaming, all shouting, Lady Pocket smash the crowd with tune after tune, riff after riff. With astute observations on modern life, love and consciousness, it’s hard not to feel like the band are voicing the thoughts of every 20 something year old right now. Like a lot of us millennials trying to get by in an ever-changing landscape, Lady Pocket meander on the brink of existential crisis and boy does it make for a great show.
Crowd pleaser ‘Little Robot’, is as beautiful as it is alarming, nearly everyone in the room is singing along and you can feel a great sense of unity filling the room. As dazzling as the softer moments are, it’s all about the heavier moments. From the howls of desperation deriving out of frontman, Danny Smartt to the general intensity of the crowd, there’s a lot to admire about the band right now. Lady Pocket finish their set creating a fiery, riled up atmosphere, as Smartt puts down his guitar and makes his way into the crowd to partake in the age-old ritual of moshing, feeding from the crowds energy to close out a gig to remember.
Photo Credit: James Newmarch