After a rare week without any gigs at all, on a Thursday evening full of events in the city I attended three of them, starting off at the Dr. Martens store where Peach Club played a great early evening set of half an hour or so and we were refreshed with BrewDog’s Punk IPA.
It’s always a treat to see the excellent Peach Club, the store’s full audience were well into it and it was funny to see the bemused and interested expressions of passers by peering through the window. The following day Peach Club were heading to London by invitation to support Shonen Knife and in a weird twist the next port of call for me of the evening was to Norwich Arts Centre to see … Shonen Knife.
I was a little caught out by the 8pm set time and so missed the first few minutes of the performance by the support for this date, KOLARS. However I did catch plenty enough to be totally blown away by them. A bit of Temples-like glam, a bit of White Stripes, Velvet Underground and Jesus and Mary Chain and whole lot of KOLARS entertainment. They were brilliant and created something quite unique with some punky-spirited, melodic rock and roll and quite the most visual drumming performance I think I have seen. Whilst Rob sings and plays guitar, Lauren is thumping the percussion and tap dancing on an upturned bass drum at the same time as playing stand-up drums, almost like a fascinating toy that comes alive when the box is opened and the music plays. It’s quite brilliant stuff and highly visual too along with the great songs. My friend David was also well into it – which was duly noted by Rob and he deservedly had a song dedicated to him for it – he described them colourfully afterwards as: “An homogeny of White Stripes, The Killers, The Stray Cats, Gary Glitter and the late Lena Zavaroni” … I totally know what he means and KOLARS have been added to my list of excellent new favourites bands to be coming out of California, Los Angeles especially (indeed it turns out they are friends with the amazing Starcrawler too), bands who are putting the dynamism, visuals and animated fun back into rock’n’roll, Rob even went walkabout with his guitar on the floor among us at one point. They sure put on a show.
KOLARS is a band of two members.
Rob Kolar sings and strums his rollicking guitar, Lauren Brown uses her whole body as a percussive instrument.
KOLARS has created a sonic world that straddles self-described genres such as Desert Disco, R&Beyond, Space Blues, and Glam-a-billy . Rob produces, mixes, and writes the material. His studio experimentation is incorporated into the live show. Lauren has invented her own drumming style. She tap dances rhythms with her feet atop a bass drum while simultaneously playing a stand-up kit. She uses this dance to transform beats into natural extensions of her movement. The two perform with energy, sweat, and excitement, thrilling audiences with their unabashed exuberance.
The first time I saw the incredibly likeable Shonen Knife was in the same venue a few years back and it seems these three girls from Osaka in Japan also have fond memories of that gig and mentioned it several times in this welcome return, especially drummer Risa who seemed to be having a great time here once again. They play these punky songs with Ramones-esque melodies with great spirit and exuberance and even included a cover of Nick Lowe’s Cruel to be Kind. They were a lot of fun and this was another enjoyable gig though it’s probably KOLARS who made the biggest impression on me, they were simply amazing and a great discovery.
Shonen Knife play tonight at The Garage in London, with support from our own Peach Club of course.
As it was an early start everything was pretty much done and dusted by just after 10pm so there was still some time to head back to The Reindeer where Sacred Sounds were hosting a gig, of course previously these events were held at the now sadly closed Owl Sanctuary and Lou has recently taken over The Reindeer after successfully putting on gigs at The Wildman for these past few years. The Loose Leaf Drifters were in fine form and and full flow (all eight of them) when I arrived but I think I caught most of their set which was a most enjoyable way to end the night, and particularly good to have a few hours respite from the hugely depressing thoughts about the state of the world at the moment so big thanks to all the bands for putting a smile back on my face.
all rights reserved (c) shashamane 2018