Cheering For Zero / Ragweed @ Bull & Gate, London 22.08.12

For those who have never been to the Kentish Town Bull and Gate before, it provides a brilliant setting for live music with a neatly tucked away concert room at the back of the pub. The grimy underground feeling really helps add to the atmosphere.

Aug 22nd, 2012 at Bull & Gate, London / By Thomas Donno
Cheering For Zero / Ragweed @ Bull & Gate, London 22.08.12 First up were Ming City Rockers who provided an energetic opening to the night and proved to be relatively successful in capturing the attention of the very small audience. The lead singer provided an admirable vocal performance with hints of a Jack White influence in his voice. The true star on the night though was the band’s lead guitarist as she was able to deliver some impressive solos. Perhaps the only negative from their performance was the lack of interaction on stage but this in no way meant it was a nervy gig, a solid effort.

Next up came the Brighton based Ragweed who very much continued the energetic approach. As was made clear from listening to their E.P Double Chalker, this band excels in the live format. Ripping through track after track, you are able to see a good chemistry between the three on stage. Whilst the between song banter with the audience may have been a bit off, the band more than made up for it in performance, showcasing material mainly from the new EP that they had available to hand out free, which was a nice touch. The small audience were even treated to a new song (absurdly named ‘George Moshington’) which kept up the ‘in your face’ style of grunge and punk infused mayhem.

From here the night took a turn for the weird. The third act on the night, Tom Milsom, provided a bizarre performance. Being alone on the stage gave him the freedom to intimately interact with the audience on a level different to the bands on the rest of the line up, even coming down to perform a song sitting on an audience member’s lap. Musically the set proved to be a confusing amalgamation of sounds and noises which Tom Milsom would sing and speak over. He did have some sound issues with his equipment but it was easy to gain a first impression that this looked like a lead singer who had lost his band and was consequently having a total mental breakdown. The set was enjoyable more for Milsom’s antics rather than the actual music but it is fair to say that it left a lasting impression.

After a slightly longer interlude tonight’s headliners took to the stage, and Cheering For Zero certainly provided a very professional show. Perhaps the most striking feature of this three piece band is the fact that it is the drummer who provides the vocals, and honestly anyone who can keep rhythm as well as sing, with consistency in a live arena, should immediately gain a level of respect. Performance wise, the band connect brilliantly as they provided an entertaining set list, as well as adding some humorous in between song banter, keeping the crowd engaged. However the lighting accompaniment, rather than becoming part of the show, was a bit of an unnecessary distraction away from quite clearly a very talented group of musicians. A special mention should go to the lead guitarist who emblazoned the punters with immersive solos adding real depth to the performance, presenting a fitting conclusion to the night.

All in all, Club Fandango at Kentish Town’s Bull and Gate provides an entertaining night of live music which does not limit the musical styles on its bill. A fiver well spent!