Sunday, 11 January 2009

Rota @ Notting Hill Arts Club, London

(Stagecoach: bad quality photo taken from the back of the audience @ Rota, Notting Hill Arts Club)

On Saturday afternoon me and mine put on just about all the clothes we own and stepped out into the freezing January afternoon for our first ever visit to a free afternoon of live music called Rota (sponsored by Rough Trade Records and 405' magazine) at the Notting Hill Arts Club.

Starting at 4pm we arrived a little late mainly because I was writing Saturday's blog and well, we got a bit lost. Luckily we literally just missed the pretty violent pro-Palestinian march that had left the street where were headed littered with posters and sticks and loads of shoes that had been thrown at the Police. There were plenty of protesters still hanging around waving Palestinian flags but the violence had thankfully passed.

The club itself wasn't very easy to find, there's no big (or little) sign saying Notting Hill Arts Club above the door well that we could find anyway, we had to ask a doorman who was pretty grumpy, (in fairness he was standing out in sub zero temperatures) and then once we'd got into the downstairs club we realised to our dismay the place was packed and we couldn't even get into the room where the music was happening.

While we listened for the first act to finish and then people to move out I couldn't help but think to myself what a strange old world it is we live in. There were all these people in this basement sipping on happy hour drinks (did I mention they do a happy hour from 4-8pm?) enjoying the live music meanwhile just yards above them on the street all hell had been breaking loose with people throwing shoes and sticks at the police. London can be very disjointed.

Anyway, on to the music. The bands playing at Rota on Saturday were as follows, in order of appearance:

Laura Hocking
My Amiga

Stagecoach

William


OK I've never actually heard of any of these bands before but in fairness, only William is actually signed to a label.

Here are my thoughts on the performances:

Laura Hocking:
Unfortunately for us, we arrived very close to the end of her set which was a shame because she sounded pretty good. I was listening from round a corner and couldn't actually see her on stage. Think along the lines of a slightly less powerful Laura Marling style voice singing sweet story telling songs with a bite. The audience seemed to really like her which is why we couldn't even get in the same room!

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/laurahocking

My Amiga
Looking and sounding like a cross between McFly, The Artic Monkeys and The Kooks, My Amiga's sound wasn't offensive in any way but it just wasn't doing anything for me. Possibly suffering from sounding too much like a lot of other bands from the past 5 years. 10/10 for effort though, they really looked like they were enjoying themselves up there.

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/myamiga

Stagecoach:
Pure indie pop and if that's what you like, this band does it very well. They might be from Surrey but there's an unmistakable rich American indie influence that comes through in their sound. Along with what I heard of Laura Hockling probably the best performance of the evening.
Good example of their sound is the track No Ded Enz on their MySpace page.

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stagecoachuk

William:
The only signed band of the evening, William gave a pretty tight performance blending fast indie body twitching bass rhythms and melodic riffs while the signer (who isn't called William -none of them are) tortured his voice in a semi shrieking style. We had to leave a few songs in but what I heard sounded decent. Check out their MySpace to hear for yourself.

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/williamtheband


On leaving the club, desperate for food we opted for a quick packet of crisps each served to us by the most grumpy shop keeper I've ever encountered in London who charged us £1.20 for the privilege. It was time for us to leave Notting Hill...

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