London King’s Cross Water Rats

A celebration of darkness, tonight's pre-gig atmosphere is less of a wake, more of a pantomime...

The goths are out in force. They’re clustered in the toilets, they’re clogging up the bar in kohl-eyed droves, they’re muttering noisily through the support act. A celebration of darkness, tonight’s pre-gig atmosphere is less of a wake, more of a pantomime.

Then Michael Sheehy takes to the stage like there’s a dagger protruding from his shoulder blades. Last weekend, he was preparing to take his band, [a]Dream City Film Club[/a], on a nationwide tour. Come Monday morning, though, bassist Andrew Park and drummer Laurence Ash had both resigned. Oh dear.

Strangulating garage punk squeals from his guitar, the lone Sheehy wears the shell-shocked grimace of the recently jilted. He’s boiling with frustration as the chatter of the audience begins to drown out a set of bleak, tortured solo songs. The look in his eyes suggests he’d love to jump into the crowd with a broken bottle.

Tonight was conceived out of necessity rather than elaborate design, and as a violinist takes to the stage, Sheehy‘s captivating anger loses its edge. On ‘Another One’s Skin’, Sheehy spits lyrics about [I]”Greasy hair/Liver sick complexions/Atrophied limbs” [/I]at his audience, but they’re already making their own snakebite-fuelled entertainment. Sheehy dies a death. Satisfied, the goths party on.

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