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We join Brighton's brattiest as they stab their long-awaited debut into the heart of Europe. Paradiso, Amsterdam (April 25) and Molotow, Hamburg (April 26)

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NME is crammed into Blood Red Shoes’ tiny tour van. Laura-Mary Carter is unconscious on the back seat and to our left Steven Ansell is snoring, his eye-mask bearing the glittered legend ‘Fuck Off’. We’re buzzing down the autobahn towards the inaugural German Club NME in Hamburg. Behind us is Amsterdam’s London Calling festival, where last night Blood Red Shoes were a snarling beast of perpetual action, their audience rioting at chord changes. One stage invader threw himself at Laura-Mary’s feet, only to find the severe guitarist walking across him in her heels. “That was amazing! I’ve got to get a picture of you with your foot on a guy!” laughs Steven, waking as we pull up to the Molotow venue. If 12 hours ago this band were peeling the walls of the huge Club Paradiso, what are BRS going to do to this airless matchbox? “They reckon it’s got a capacity of 350,” says Steven, nibbling shredded meat that someone may or may not have laid out this morning for the band. “It’s going to be intense.”

It’s 10.30pm and inside Molotow’s bubbling belly, Steven approaches his drum stool and yells, “Guten abend Hamburg!” The crowd, not fazed by his thick-tongued ‘re-imagining’ of their language squall back, inches from Laura-Mary. Against this wall of boiling adoration her face may point shyly towards her shoes but her guitar roars undimmed, ripping apart the Polly Harvey megalith of ‘You Bring Me Down’ and putting its elegant boot through Sonic Youth on ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better’. Steven, meanwhile, is doing battle with his kit. Adding his piercing yelps to their dense melange, he only pauses to occasionally puke.

This is blood-and-guts stuff. As ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better’ blows across the tiny room, the chorus digs its nails into the ceiling, hanging over the throng for an eternity alongside the cruel riffs. ‘Take The Weight’ assumes a new literal significance as the front row’s attention turns to trying not to die. As the band come on for a second encore, acquiescing to requests for ‘ADHD’ with a hint of resignation but offering nothing less than psychotic verve, Steve gasps, wiping puke from his mouth, “…next time we play Hamburg, we’re going to get a bigger venue.” Please don’t, this is awesome.

Alex Miller

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