vrijdag 8 februari 2019

Blood Red Shoes Live. Bitterzoet, Amsterdam Wednesday 6 Feburary 2019 with John J. Presley

Photo: Wo.
A coughing singer and a drummer jumping off stage to the rescue of a bleeding fan. The Blood Red Shoes show held a lot of unexpected events, but above all was spectacularly good. If circumstances put singer Laura-May Carter at low ebb, I can only start to imagine how good she otherwise is.

Coloured green by three lamps the stage took on the atmosphere of the latest album cover. A bass guitar and electronics in the background suggested more than just a duo setting. So the question I posed in my review of Get Tragic (read on here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2019/01/get-tragic-blood-red-shoes.html) was answered when four people walked on stage. All songs played from the band's latest album were played with a guitarist/bassist and a commander of digital wizardry and percussion. Carter and Ansell did what they always do, I suppose, this was my first Blood Red Shoes show, cook up a storm together of extreme tough and tight drumming and totally distorted guitar playing.

Photo: Wo.
The audience, for a change, had the average age for a band that is around for little over a decade. Circa 30 I'd say, with some mainly men, like myself older and a few younger, but hardly youngsters. People still in for some abandon in the wilder, punky sequences of Blood Red Shoes' songs. There was some tossing of bodies going about, but not in a way that people could get hurt. Except in that one instance where a glass was involved in front of the drums.

I never went to a Blood Red Shoes show as I am always doubtful of duo bands in a live setting. I can only wonder why, having seen Blood Red Shoes in nearly full glory ('Cold', cough, sniff). Yes, the sound became even bigger with James and Hanna on stage, but all the old sounds remained as they were and was more than enough. The power of the songs, there I never had any doubts, was so utterly convincing. Only somewhere halfway was there one song I could have lived without, the rest was simply fabulous.

Laura-May Carter, dressed in something like a school uniform, from a distance looks like innocence incarnated. And here is this delicate woman playing a guitar like the gates of hell are fully opened and unleash tempest and storm galore. Deep, guttural sounds escape her guitar, effect pedals and Marshall stack that is two thirds her height. From delicate to rip to shreds, all escape her instrument.

Photo: Wo.
Steven Ansell kicks out the jams on his drumkit. Ferocious where necessary or only kicking his bass drum and still keeping the groove that is at the basis of all things Blood Red Shoes. My guess is he sang a little more due to the problems Carter had with her voice than usual. If so, it took nothing away from the impact of the show. Together they are a grooving unit that made me forget there were only two people on stage.

And 'Get Tragic'? The new songs stood their ground effortlessly. Yes, pogoing went on in most of the old songs. Blood Red Shoes shows a new side to herself with 'Get Tragic'. After five years of no album release a development that comes at the right time. In fact the new songs lent a layer of variation to the show that gave it some more depth in my opinion. Total winners this combination.

Photo: Wo.
I entered a bit late to here all of John J. Presley's show. Three songs I heard. My impression was exorcism of deep dark thoughts. His hollow body guitar was kept in checked, but barely. Feedback was around each and every second. The sound mix was not optimal as I could hardly hear the organ and background vocals. This seemed a pity as what was going on certainly came across as interesting enough to really hear. In the final song I seemed to hear the underwater organ sound like in one of Led Zeppelin's songs, 'Over The Hills And Far Away'? The loud guitar and fierce drumming prevented me from really hearing. Presley's voice was somewhat worn, I'd say. The overall impression was interesting enough to check out. So watch these pages.


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