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Review: Strummerville Presents @ The Elgin, Ladbroke Grove

The first Strummerville concert of the year was a resounding success with some amazing performances. Friday 1st March 2013, The Elgin, Ladbroke Grove, west London was treated to sets from three great bands. One of the reasons why Strummerville Presents was so enjoyable was the variety of musical styles on show – reflective of the Strummerville ethos and the night really captured the DIY spirit upon which the charity is built.

The first band to play was LTNT, whose Seattle-inspired grunge stylings made for a successful set which the audience really enjoyed. Their music is heavy, with obvious metal influences, yet has a lovely melodic basis which makes it a delight to listen to. Their performance was lively, bold and very noisy! Set highlights included the visceral ‘Ride On Daddy’, with its haunting chord progression, and the sleazy, Americana-tinged ‘Blessing’. You should expect big things from this band, as their set showcased their evident musical talent as well as a considerable stage presence.

“They sound like the Ramones!” was overheard when CuT came on stage, and whilst their sound is much scuzzier and more complex than the three-chord punk patented in New York CuT certainly had the energy to make this comparison valid. Their noise-pop-punk is infectious and demonstrates a real grasp of technique, with their reverb drenched songs exuding class and a real punk energy. What was particularly great about CuT was the cut-and-paste approach they seem to take to songwriting; their style draws from a plethora of influences but manages to sound completely unique and exciting. They are currently recording their debut album, which (if it reflects the enthusiasm and talent seen during their Strummerville set) should be brilliant. Possibly the stand-out song of their set was ‘Get Me A Gun’. Infectious and staccato, it really channels this band’s obvious energy.

However, as headliners the night really belonged to The Meat and Onions Gang and their particular brand of politicised songwriting. Swaggering around the stage like a butcher-jacketed Ian Dury, Danny Onions claimed that they “wouldn’t be playing this chintzy gaff if it wasn’t for Strummerville”, yet their interaction with the crowd meant that their energy was contagious. Despite the small size of the venue, the crowd really responded to the Gang and danced like their lives depended on it, with songs such as the incendiary ‘Creme Egg Boss’ and ‘Sick of The Struggle’ condemning the present era and picking holes in the fabric of society. The Meat and Onions Gang focus their lyrics discusses the struggles of and current state of society and their red paint-splattered jackets are striking. Hopefully The Meat and Onions Gang’s next concert will be on a bigger stage, so they can take their message to more people – they certainly deserve success.

Strummerville Presents… at The Elgin was a fantastic and thought-provoking night, and the quality of the bands playing shows that the Strummerville approach to music really does work. Back in the day, Joe Strummer used to play at the Elgin with The 101ers, and his practical approach lives on through the work of the charity. The bands on the Strummerville roster are amazing and the next Presents… should be a lot of fun. This was a fabulous event which was a credit to both the charity and the bands who performed.

Words by Robyn Strachan

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Without People You’re Nothing – Joe Strummer

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