At a loose end on a Saturday night, we decided to check out the gigs at The Good Ship. After wandering down the hill, we stopped for a drink at Kilburn’s The Black Lion, intrigued by two things – the Burts Bees lipsalve at the bottom of my handbag and the fact that the only draught beer on offer was Guinness – what’s the story there, is it an Irish thing? [Ed: no, it’s a brewery dispute thing]
Across the road at The Good Ship we had missed the first couple of bands but arrived in time for new band Royal Youth, three young lads who make a lot of noise with one guitar, drum kit and voice. For such a new band they were incredibly tight. Their first song had echos of Radiohead’s Paranoid Android and their big sound reminded us of Muse. They have much time to continue to develop their own sound and I look forward to seeing them again one day.
Joe Mills followed, a strong acoustic guitarist/singer songwriter with a powerful voice that conveys great emotion. He kicked off with a wonderful irish ballad-type song but once joined by his band became less interesting including a Talking Heads cover (why do bands so often cover Talking Heads?).
The audience had thinned once headliner California Gypsies came on. This is a really likeable band from Camden whose line-up surprisingly includes a cello and a drummer/beat box. Their first song, Nothing is for Certain, reminded us of Darwin Deez. They introduced a cover of Common People with a polite apology and proceeded to deliver a brilliant upbeat rock reinvention of the song – I love it when bands can carry that off.
As usual the audience was an eclectic group of self aware teenagers, proud parents, middle aged music lovers and strange men in hats. It’s great to have bands on our doorstep, especially without a long overground ride home from East London.
Listen to the bands here: