Friday, 23 July 2010

junk shop

it's friday night and i have been knocking back sailor jerrys in the cavernous Montagu Pyke on Charing Cross Road, named after one of England's earliest cinema entrepreneurs and most famously known as The Marquee club when the rock n roll venue served it's tenure on that very spot from the late eighties and through the nineties, now just another 'spoons', and probably one of the cheapest places to load up on drinks in the west end.

having exited the tube station on Charing Cross Road under the watchfull eye of a 26 foot tall Freddy Mercury, the most obvious, and upsetting, change to the skyline is the loss of the Astoria and it's smaller sister venue a few doors down, razed to the ground in order to make way for a Crossrail link.

surrounded by the ghosts of London's music history it is a blessing to find one of the captal's most intimate venues still going strong just a stones throw away.

nestled in Britain's own 'Tin Pan Alley', the 12 bar club on Denmark Street has been name checked by Jamie T on his debut album and the whole street is steeped in a long legacy that stretches back beyond the Sex Pistols residing there in the 70s and The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix recording there in the 60s.

But tonight in the 12 bar club The Television Personalities are already onstage, favourites of Kurt Cobain and MGMT, the weathered band are playing sans local legend Texas Bob who breezes in looking blustered during their set, Dan Treacy's men are here alongside welsh rapper Akira The Don who headlines the night with a bare bones set, stripped of his usual sample and beat driven backing, both playing as guests of antifolk heroes, Milk Kan.

Milk Kan having been bubbling under for a number of years, having worked hard on open mic circuits in london and new york, gaining a reputation by playing gigs aboard night buses late into the night and releasing their long awaited album last year after putting in a lot of time and a lot of hard graft.

playing host at the 12 Bar club, Milk Kan are curating a number of gigs that see them inviting along their heroes, collaboraters and contemporaries to perform alongside them as they also take to the stage to give fans a taste of material from the new album and also revel in the songs that have already seen them gain momentum on the underground and seen them make fans of BBC's Steve Lamacq and Huw Stephens.

And whether it is tracks from 2009's self titled album like the indie sleeper hits 'God with an i-pod' or new material from their forthcoming effort, it all goes down extremely well with the fans, obviously fond of the rough around the edges band, that have gathered closely in the poky but atmospheric back room.

The band come on like a cross between Scroobius Pip and Bob Dylan in terms of delivery, while the music is a tapestry of influences with several nods in the disparate directions of folk balladry, hip-hop and punk, all combining to create a rabble rousing sight to behold as Milk Kan turn up the amps and turn on the charm.

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