Menace Beach at Oslo, Hackney, 25 October 2018

Menace Beach are a Leeds band, who released their third album , “Black Rainbow Sound”, a couple of months ago. I didn’t know much about them until I saw them on Thursday, at Oslo in Hackney. I went along with Jon G, whose suggestion it was. I gave the new album a listen on Spotify before I went, and liked it. It’s a spacey blend of pounding guitars and wailing synths, with a bit of a Kraftwerkian feel. Singer Liza Violet’s dreamy vocals waft over the motorik beats, giving it an other-wordly feel. There is definitely some inspiration from the synth-pop sounds of the 80s and 90s, but I also likened them a bit to New Young Pony Club, whose album “Ice Cream” I rather enjoyed in 2007 . Most of all though, the fuller songs reminded me a lot of Hookworms; and there is a connection there apparently, through previous producers.

Onto the show. It was really good! I can’t say a lot about the individual tracks they played, as I’m not familiar enough with their music, but they did include “Black Rainbow Sound”, the album’s title track, which features Brix Smith, once a member of The Fall and wife of Mark.E.Smith, who now tours with her own band, The Extricated. That’s where the Hookworms analogy was at its strongest. Liza Violet and fellow singer Ryan Needham stood centre stage, playing their synths, occasionally picking up a guitar. I’m pretty sure “Satellite” featured – I like the looped synth sounds on that one. Likewise “8000 Molecules”, an electro-ballad which really suited Liza’s voice. The light show was good too: lots of stark lines and dots enveloping the main part of the stage. Again, very Kraftwerk, if simpler; but very effective. That, and Liza’s stage persona, gave it just the right level of alienation! Meanwhile the rest of the lads in the band drove the pulsing sound on.

So, an enjoyable show, and great to discover another interesting band. Thanks to Jon for that. Further Spotify research beckons!

About John S

I'm blogging about the things I love: music, sport, culture, London, with some photos to illustrate aspects of our wonderful city. I’ve written a novel called “The Decision”, a futuristic political thriller, and first of a trilogy. I’m also the author of a book on music since the 1970s called “ I Was There - A Musical Journey” and a volume of poetry about youth, “Growin’ Up - Snapshots/ Fragments”. All available on Amazon and Kindle.
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