Following the highly successful Fuzz Club Festival last November, we are back at the London Fields Brewery for ‘Under the Arches’ – a new monthly event which brings together record labels to showcase the best from the global psych and underground rock and roll scene. Housed within two brickwork arches, the Light Arch plays host to the record fair and the Dark Arch will be hosting five live bands for the evening.
Proceedings kick off at 11am and the vinyl enthusiasts are out in force, to get their hands on some of the best records the scene currently has on offer. There is a festival like atmosphere around the place with people gently milling around, food being prepared, beer being drunk and a general excitement in the air.
I venture into the Dark Arch for the first time to admire the visuals, courtesy of Inner Strings, as Rats on Rafts take to the stage. They area new acquisition for me and the Dutch quartet offer fast and refreshing as their main priority, with a side order of post-punk/new wave. ‘Last Day on Earth’ is an early foot tapper and as people come in out of curiosity more than anything, they are quickly ensnared. Their latest single on Fire Recordings is ‘Some Velvet Morning’ by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood – but as you’ve never heard it before and live its quite mesmerising to watch. They are the perfect band to start the day with their high octane approach that has gone just as quickly as it came.
10 000 Russos (pronounced Dez mil Russos) are a band that need no introduction in these circles. For the uninitiated, they burst on to the scene last year with their unique blend of obscure and stomping mantras and released their self-titled debut LP which sold out instantly. After a brief tour last year, they are back to play the Dark Arch. Some minor amp difficulties delay things but soon enough they open with ‘Karl Burns’; a six-minute sound odyssey with its haunting sweeps and rhythmic drum beat. It descends into a noise fuzz onslaught before the set proceeds. Fans are pleased to be offered ‘UsVsUs’ which recently received a lot of attention thanks to a live session video sweeping the internet. To end the set, we are treated to three new tracks, showing that even in a short space of time, 10 000 Russos have not been idle. The set ends on a high with ‘Ashkenazi’ and the dancey crowd are left wanting more. On nipping back into the record fair, I am delighted to see that the limited remaining vinyl have now gone – I think that tells you all you need to know about how good they are live.
The kings of lo-fi dreampop Younghusband are up next, and the room fills quickly. The release of their second LP Dissolver, on ATP Recordings, has peaked the interest in this band and their inclusion here tonight is most welcome. Opening with ‘Waverley Street’ with its hypnotic jangle, the crowd are feeling it instantly and bob along like ships in the sea. Another highlight comes in the form of electronic tinted ‘Broken Girls’ which is so dreamy you can easily get lost in it.
I leave Younghusband to do their thing in the Dark Arch and nip back to the Light Arch where Pedro from 10 000 Russos is preparing some nice noise in the guise of Tren Go! Sound System. One man, one guitar and a tonne of pedals is what we have on offer here. ‘Fixed Income’ is particularly spell binding with its deep repeated loops and screeched guitar interludes. A complete surprise addition this, but one that is very welcome.
The Underground Youth have been around for some seven years now, and yet whenever their name is included on a bill, there is always a tingle of excitement – and tonight offers no exception. The psychedelic post-punk quartet are spell binding live, and when they begin with ‘Lost Recovery’, we know we are in for something special. ‘I Need You’, ‘In the Dark I See’ and ‘Morning Sun’ follow in rapid succession and leave the crowd bouncing. There are some slight sound issues on stage, but being true professionals they power through and by the time we get to ‘Sadovaya’ they are really in the stride. The mind behind the band, Craig Dyer, pulls the microphone stand into the crowd and plays amongst us for ‘Rules of Attraction’. This song live packs such a punch its hard to recall it to the recorded version, but it’s the one everyone talks about and we just can’t help shouting “I love you” back at him. Ending on something slightly different, they pull out a superb cover of Suicide’s ‘Ghost Rider’ which results in three quarters of the band in the crowd rocking out. It is no surprise that The Underground Youth were superb tonight, they have a pedigree now that not many other bands can touch.
Today marked the birth of Under the Arches, and a fantastic day has been had by all. Superb live music, a great venue and an enjoyable atmosphere. Fuzz Club have set themselves up nicely here and I envisage this monthly event becoming the ‘must attend’ of the year.