Live Reviews

Live Review: Ghost Road Management Presents: Weekend Recovery, Salvation Jayne, Healthy Junkies and Mouses

The Sebright Arms, a two-tiered public house in Hackney, played host to a showcase event for Leeds-based Ghost Road Management’s mini-tour of London, Chatham and Brighton. The gigs, predominantly featuring female musicians, hired a total of eight bands to represent them over three consecutive evenings in early April.
Lori, the singer from opening act Weekend Recovery, personally invited me and at one point completely ruined a video I was taking with a request to dance.
One never turns down that kind of offer!
I arrived ten minutes late to find the first band already tearing through their set in front of a line of photographers. My friend, Koichi, saw me and said “You got here then” while I hurriedly tried to disentangle my camera from various wires in a bag with shoelaces on the outside that never seem to stay tied for too long.  “Yeah,” I replied, “no thanks to public transport.”
Most people believe the paparazzi just click and shoot, but that assumption is far from the truth.
I had to basically turn my camera on and hope minimal human intervention would be enough for a Nikon to work out how to deal with lights that were dark blue and pink with an occasional oscillating spotlight circling a dark stage upon which four bands would slay ears that were primed for hours of entertainment.
The last song came all too quickly with Lori mouthing into a microphone “Watch this video to see me look like a man” as her band began to play “Why Don’t You Love Me?” before exiting the stage to a rapturous round of applause that would be repeated for every act across an extremely busy night.
I retreated to the bar to rehydrate with a glass of much-needed water. The barman, who seemed surprised I wasn’t interested in an alcoholic beverage, attempted some conversation that I couldn’t possibly have heard right because I thought I heard him ask me about my tonsils.
“Sorry,” I shouted above a loud PA system, “my ears are still ringing from last night.”
The man listened to a tale of musical exploration from my time in the Monarch the previous evening, responding back with words of his own, but without any comprehension of what was going on I could only nod and make a hasty retreat as another patron called him to attention.
Salvation Jayne, who I first saw at Tokyo Taboo’s just got married show in June of 2017, were the next band on stage. The Kent-based rockers used an interesting tactic which completely fascinated me. They played voice-heavy music samples as precursors to a number of songs in the early stages of their set. I’m not sure why they only used it on two or three occasions when it made for such an intriguing bridge between tracks.
Keen not to take up too much space when I believed I’d got enough shots, while also eager to scribble down notes for this review, I retreated to the right and let a photographer take an angle I’d worked hard to establish.
Something or someone immediately began to push against me so I turned around to investigate and realised the speakers were expelling sound at such a force that my bag was being physically moved away from my body.
The third act almost stole the night, if not for Mouses insanity which will be documented later, with Nina Courson leading her Healthy Junkies through a perfect set which even featured a member of the crowd (Woulf) screaming in their stead during a song featuring their famed punk etiquette.
Lori, who spent most of the evening supervising proceedings, made her way to the front almost as soon as they began playing. The singer, dressed all in white, told me how they were completely on point from the first track and encouraged me to dance with her despite me being on photography duty.
I happily obliged and put away my equipment for a few minutes of freedom from my responsibilities.
“I’d like to thank all the bands that are playing tonight,” Nina said while raising her hands to laud a bunch of performers who were all still in the crowd and committed to supporting their cohorts. I turned to my fellow shape thrower and whispered some mock discouragement in her ear when Weekend Recovery was mentioned on the role of honour. This elicited a smile that quickly turned from amusement to delight as the band kicked into another gear before our very eyes.
Finally, when my energy felt like it’d been dissipated by days of travel and an endless list of musicians I hadn’t always heard of, Mouses took to the stage and literally blew me away. The band, a two-piece lo-fi punk act from Teeside, consisted of a guy in a dress and a topless drummer with tape on his nipples.
What is this? I silently asked myself as I raised my camera for the last time.
The duo were absolutely insane, and that description is intended as a compliment rather than to be in any way derogatory. I can tell you that by the time they were finished a number of people around me were literally breathless in astonishment for what they’d just witnessed. My breathing was certainly laboured and it wasn’t because I was tired or in any way not 100% in awe of a band I made an immediate mental note to download their entire back catalogue.
The finale, which I filmed, featured the singer, Steven, repeatedly going into the crowd with his guitar and a microphone to scream about organised religion. He walked amongst us before then writhing around on the ground with his instrument as a guest vocalist filled in for him. Most of this was hard to film in a dark room so I focused on a drummer who kept leaping up momentarily off his seat while also hitting the skins with such force that broke at least one of his sticks.
In the final moments of an epic swansong, the lead noisemaker returned to the stage to adjust a pair of thick black rimmed glasses. He then raised his arms aloft before gently lowering them to perform a farewell curtsey.
I pressed stop on the video I’d been recording and looked around.
Everyone was smiling because they knew they’d witnessed something phenomenal.
Words by Lisa Knight
Photography by Lisa Knight

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