Gig Review: Spang Sisters, Honey Hahs & Spinning Coin @ The Old Blue Last, London
by Alice Adlide
The Old Blue Last juts out on a corner of bustling Shoreditch, and tonight its windows are draped with cobwebs in the spirit of All Hallows’ Eve. Walking up the narrow, creaky staircase takes you into the gig room, to a stage that has been graced by many. A rather small space, it quickly fills with a buzzing, pint-sipping audience. This evening, there are three bands on and the night promises a triple bill of eclectic rock.
First up on stage are Bristol-born Spang Sisters. The dynamic five-piece have recently begun venturing out of Bristol to the Big Smoke, and to a great reception. Tonight is no exception as the boys pull out all the stops. Their songs - melodic, harmonic, sleazy, and at times RnB inspired - are decorated with the occasional burst of bongos or tambourine on top of the already multi-faceted arrangements. Their energy is infectious, much like their music. Spang Sisters run through a diverse set of tunes, ranging from groovy to woozy and getting heavier towards the end with pulsing, contagious rock (see ‘Lizards’ and the Modern Lovers cover ‘Pablo Picasso’, two personal favorites). The Bristol boys have a few self-produced tunes out on SoundCloud, and I’d implore anyone unfamiliar to check them out.
The next group up are the Honey Hahs, a trio of sisters (tonight joined by a trumpeter, who I’m told is not related to the girls). I’m sure they must be used to incessant awe and commentary on their age – the drummer is the youngest at a mere 10 years old, with the guitarist the eldest at 15 – and their youth certainly conjures intrigue. Up on stage, they look tiny compared to the adult-sized bass guitar and drum kits, but they wield the instruments with confidence and ease. The drummer (sporting her school jumper) keeps a steady, simple beat as the two other sisters mirror riffs on guitar and bass, all three singing in a magic unison that comes from sharing the same biology. The trumpeter kills it with bluesy riffs, which are met each time with a cheer from the attentive audience. The alluring simplicity of the songs, and the youthful dulcet voices, are reminiscent of Velvet Underground’s ‘I’m Sticking With You’, and the girls command the whole room’s attention. Between songs, you can hear murmurs and whispers of wonder at the girls’ young years. But if you close your eyes and listen when they’re playing, they are far from school girls. There’s a maturity there; they know what they’re doing and they know they do it well. Their age also doesn’t keep them from getting political: ‘This one’s for Donald Trump’, the bassist peeps with a coy smile. “Stop him, stop him, he’s building a wall // stop him, stop him, he’s making it tall” sing the girls to a round of applause. They are certainly an act to keep an eye out for.
Headliners Spinning Coin get up on stage and fill the room with upbeat, noisy indie rock. The Glaswegian band have been making quite the name for themselves over the last couple years, and have an upcoming debut album Permo coming out on the 10/1/2017. Originally a four piece, Spinning Coin were recently joined by keyboardist Rachel Taylor. The group layer intricate, wild guitar riffs over fast paced drumming and harmonies that are at times reminiscent of Yuck and others of the wonderfully shouty vocals of early Los Campensinos. Their indie pop melodies are rendered noisy and visceral live, and the audience wriggles in appreciation. The band occasionally swap singing duties (I particularly enjoyed bassist Cal Donnelly’s turn on the mic), though most of the vocals are crooned by Sean Armstrong and Jack Mellin with Rachel Taylor harmonizing. The songs are short and sweet; every noisy number ending abruptly. Each song seemed to finish with a premature full-stop, cutting off the power supply to the audience and leaving us squirming for more.
Find Spang Sisters on Soundcloud
Keep an eye out for Honey Hahs
Keep up with Spinning Coin