Tonight we head over to Chingford for a night of revelry and political canvassing, raising support for Faiza Shaheen in Chingford and West Greenford, with what can only be described as a blistering line-up of artists including; The Blinders, Sisteray, Couples and Cross Wires.
They’ve all been brought together by The Blinders to raise awareness for the Labour party and fight the election as part of the #ForTheMany tour, taking place at marginal constituencies around the country.
Chingford in East London is where Sisteray are from and the band get there early to help with canvassing for the local Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen, tonight assisted by a certain Hugh Grant, attracting more crowds and attention. As his limo window winds down, the band’s Daniel Connolly even manages to pass a handful of flyers to Hugh himself.
We arrive at Four Seasons at the bottom of Woodford Green, crushed into this 200 capacity venue – the vibe is ecstatic and buzzing.
Hailing from Romford, Cross Wires take the stage first, dressed dapperly, words and lyrics spilling into the room along with their post-punk math-rock sound.
Couples are up next, lead singer Connor Collingwood quivering and shaking as he hollers with a voice, deep and brooding into the mic. Their hobo style and eclectic dress sense emphasise the sound – daisy skirts, rattling jewellery, long macs to accompany layers of guitars, noises and effects with an occasional hint of Chris Isaak-twang amongst the experimental and often scary parts, that dive into bright hazy moments.
Sisteray are packed-full of lyrical content and ideas detailing modern life under the current government. ‘Algorithm Prison‘ takes a swipe at social media platforms with its chant of “I’m not your target market” chanted over and over again. ‘All Boys Club‘ brings the self-prescribed elitism and vandalism of the Bullingdon Club to mind, while ‘Queen’s English‘, starts with a sample of the Queen herself declaring: “Our ministers will continue to bring the public finances under control” before they burst into the song with a raging declaration of their own – “We don’t speak The Queen’s English around here”. You get the feeling they are a collective, searching for and wanting to defend something bigger than themselves. Niall, tall and wiry, speaks closely into the mic, caressing each and every moment, as he delivers the lyrics sincere and direct.
With the fizz of Supergrass, the unifying presence of The Clash, the emotive passion of The Manics and a certain spiky wrangling gnarly rock, Sisteray push the boundaries, speaking succinctly and comment on current times, ‘White Knuckle Joyride‘ brings their set to a raw, relentless close.
The moment The Blinders launch into their set you get this whiff of sweat, beer and rage, we’re transported to another world, a dystopian future. Atmospherics fill the room, hinting at the muddy garage rock of The Fall and the visceral energy of The The. ‘Gotta Get Through‘ starts the set and the room breaks out into a mosh almost immediately, with the crowd completely immersed and transported. ‘L’Etait Ce’est Moi‘ has the raucous energy of Idles and powerhouse vocals of LIFE, but the spitting and hissing sound also has the feel of early Rolling Stones. Ramona Flowers has a kind of exotic twist, and they storm through the rest of their set with tracks from ‘I Can’t Breathe Blues‘ to ‘Brave New World‘, ‘Rage‘ and ‘Rat In A Cage‘. “Come together we need each other” they sing as many are inspired “put your arms on my shoulder.”
Towards the end of their set singer Thomas Haywood speaks the words we want to hear: “We’ll bring the homeless off the streets, we’ll naturally bring up the quality of everything else – here’s to Jeremy Corbyn on December 12 and here’s to the Labour government on December 12”
Pics: Rhona Murphy