The Mystery Lights + SLEAZE @ The Owl Sanctuary 6 December 2017

Punk Rock Blues returned to the city, this time at The Owl Sanctuary, and brought us two great bands. The Mystery Lights from New York City and the excellent SLEAZE from London town.



Mystery-Light-FB-ad copy


Starting off masked and with a Canaries scarf around the neck, SLEAZE were compelling from the moment they began.  This three-piece had a good sound, loud, dark, with dirty bass – slightly unsettling, and they don’t sound like anyone else. This is a good thing.  It was a thrill to hear their music loud and raw and live, and also to watch some fascinating techniques involving gaffer tape on the keys!  Whereas I knew of The Mystery Lights and was looking forward to them I knew next to nothing about SLEAZE other than one video for Rapunzel I saw on YouTube and they were a truly exciting discovery for me. This is why one should always catch the support bands!  Excellent group with things to say.  I bumped into lead vocalist Dafe afterwards and had a good chat, he is a great guy too and I hope to catch them again. Their set was terrific. ‘Nice n sleazy does it every time’.




“I stand by, and will always maintain, SLEAZE are one of the most consistently entertaining bands that ever came out of south London” – Clark Kents Rock and Roll Revue



The dimly lit Owl stage proceeded to become even darker for the next set, at the band’s request I gather, but we are talking “Mystery Lights” I guess. How apt, they were a tad mysterious in that darkness.


the mystery lights


This four-piece from New York are signed to Wick Records, which is a subsidiary of Brooklyn’s Daptone Records.  Energetic, enthusiastic and lively they blasted their way through a set of fuzzy, catchy surf inspired by the 60s garage rock and roll sound so familiar to anyone into the Pebbles and Nuggets record series.  They showcased some new songs as well as those on their album and they all sounded great to me, and indeed some of the first generation punks having a ball dancing around to this gloriously catchy and infectious band.



I loved it, both the bands here are among those making music so exciting again, with that raw, punky edge and songs as catchy as hell.  As the Mystery Lights say in an interview intro to a video: “We like it rough and raw. Nasty. Messed up.” when referring to their preferred sound.


the mystery lights



Mike Brandon and L.A. Solano have been in many different versions of The Mystery Lights under assorted monikers since their teens. In a heroic jump from the small town of Salinas, California to NYC, the band solidified its lineup to now include Alex Amini on bass, and Zach Butler on drums.
The explosive live shows gradually became the stuff of legend, as the quintet won their following one fan at a time in dives from Brooklyn to the Bowery. Organically unfolding over the nights months and years, the Lights’ sound has evolved into a fuzz-fueled hopped-up 21st Century take on 60s garage pebbles, and artful 70s punk, that is all their own. 2016 finds these rock’n’roll knights embarking upon the next logical step – unleashing their own brand of kick out the jams on tour and in the studio.
When Daptone Records launched their Wick Records rock imprint, they wasted no time approaching The Mystery Lights as their inaugural act. Hot on the heels of the “Too Many Girls”/”Too Tough To Bear” single, Wick officially released The Mystery Lights’ debut LP, recorded at Daptone Records’ House of Soul studio, on June 24 and they’ve been on the road touring nonstop since. Be sure to look out for them!
– Jonathan Toubin


Though it was recorded to 8-track tape at Daptone’s legendary House of Soul by Daptone studio superstar Wayne Gordon and mixed by Bosco Mann, it was the cutting engineer JJ Golden who called it “the hottest record I ever cut.”


“Truly trippy throwbacks to a filthier, more hallucinatory era, (…) “Follow Me Home” comes straight out of that garage tradition, all Hammond organs and straightforward, declining riffs.” – NOISEY



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Many thanks to The Mystery Lights, SLEAZE, Punk Rock Blues, Ryan on sound at The Owl Sanctuary, and extra special, big thanks to top man Dafe for the t-shirt! 🙂


all rights reserved (c) shashamane 2017


Norwich: Music City, UK

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