Blood Red Shoes: Camden Barfly, London; Saturday January 13
One boy, one girl, 300 teenagers and an afternoon’s rock’n’roll racket
“AOOOTAKEMYBRAAYYNNTOANUVVADIMEN SHYEEUUUNN! WOOOOOOO!!!”
NEE-NAW-NEE-NAAAWWW! A rapid response squadron screeches to a halt outside Camden tube station. The cops have heard reports, see, that clearly “under the influence” Camden Market stoneheads have been hallucinating silhouettes of flailing arms and pogoing midgets in the Barfly windows. At five o’clock in the afternoon. Must be some dodgy Class Bs floatin’ abaaaht sarge…
“PAYCLOSEATTENSHYEUUNN! HAHAHA!” Inside the Barfly a youth club disco has been stormed by hordes of sequin-cheeked pubescents. They’re raving on the tables to The Prodigy’s ‘Out Of Space’, littering the toilets with empty bottles and snogging up a storm on the dancefloor. This is the RockPaperScissors club, an over-14s ‘night’ run for the kids, by the kids, and out of its Tizer-spewing, Lynx-stinking melée step two of their number looking like the king and queen of the prom. The boy (Steven Ansell) sits at a drumkit, the girl (Laura-Mary Carter) picks up a guitar, and for half an hour the pair make noises like Yeah Yeah Yeahs being torn to bloody chunks by rabid wolves in the fiery, art-punk Circle Of Hell. And it’s ruddy fantastic.
The sound of a convoy of speed-freaking punk-funkers recreating the motorway pile-up from Final Destination 2? That’ll be ‘Can’t Find The Door’. The demonic Formula 1 squeal around Baghdad that turns into a thunderous bass onslaught despite there being no bassist? That’s ‘How To Pass The Time’. The one where two shy kids manage to sound like a dozen Queens Of The Stone Ages having a bottle fight with The Breeders? ‘Take The Weight’, mate. It’s the huge, brutal blast of Blood Red Shoes’ noise that dazzles first: you’d expect longer-in-the-tooth duos such as The White Stripes and DFA 1979 to make this kind of punk racket with the same amount of personnel as the Arcade Fire’s glockenspiel section, but for Laura-Mary to be wrestling the fury of 50 metal bastards out of a single guitar surely marks the arrival of a staggeringly accomplished enfant terrible of the new noise scene.
As the feedback finds focus, though, it turns out that BRS are here to subliminally educate the kids in 20 years of the finest skronky guitar violence, from the Pixies (‘Stitch Me Back’) to PJ Harvey (‘You Bring Me Down’) to, um, Pennie from The Automatic fronting Elastica (‘Try Harder’). As a final ‘ADHD’ closes with Laura-Mary yowling “Now-now-now-now! Boooooy!” like Karen O mid-childbirth, and Steve standing on his bass drum beating a raised cymbal stand, 300 teenagers bounce home in time to skip Doctor Who in favour of guitar practice. Lock up your parents: the kids are all bite.