Once again we have arrived at the last week of January and that means it’s Independent Venue Week. Championed the length and breadth of this fractured nation by the great and the good, GIITTV take the opportunity to discover a place they have never heard nor encountered before.
Electrowerkz, also known as the Islington Metal Works, is hidden round the back of Angel Tube Station. If you dance up the escalators and twist left thrice then you get to what appears to be the back of a series warehouses. They may well once have been but they now house art galleries, bars and this gig venue.
It is well disguised as a number of fire doors but they are swung open with smokers and vapers gathered round and a smattering of posters on the walls decreeing that Ghum are within.
These are multi-storey, old brick buildings that once upon a time would have housed several hundred workers, but we are crammed into a small room with a high stage and the back.
In the centre of the section being used tonight is a forecourt with a bar in a tube train. Is it real, is it fake?
Ghum have been described as “ghost grunge”, a Goth edge to the loud/quiet dynamic, which can fit at times, but more over they specialise in post-punk angular guitar music, more in common with Siouxsie and the Banshees than L7. They are fronted by vocalist Laura Guerrero Lora who is equally comfortable singing in her native Spanish as on new song ‘Perro’ or adopted English.
Truth be told they start a little slowly. The tempo is a touch pedestrian, new song ‘Shallow’ is followed by ‘Get Up’ from last year’s The Coldest Fire EP with first single ‘I Am The Storm’ up next. It takes brand new single and arguably their best song ‘California’ to get everyone going but from then onwards it’s a riot. The intensity is ratcheted up several notches and the energy in the room increases. ‘In My Head’ is a brooding dark piece of brilliance, ‘1000 Men’ likewise in its intimidating electric atmosphere.
Final song ‘Saturn’ was their breakthrough single last year that received radio plays and is the big hitter.
Lora’s vocals gain confidence as the set goes on, as does the band as they warm to the occasion. The night is a sell out and is therefore quite a big deal for them so nerves may have played a part at the beginning of proceedings but by the end you get the impression they don’t want to stop.
They’re only just at the start, only one EP and a handful of singles down. Next step is an LP and honing their live set. The signs are good. Very good. Something to chew over.