Princess Slayer / Oh So Quiet / Lily Oakes [Live Review – The Stillery, Camden, 8/4/2015]
I love Camden’s diversity. Step out of Camden Town tube station and you’re a minute away from the Jazz Cafe, punk and hardcore institution the Underworld, and the Stillery – an intimate hole in the wall torn apart last week by Mancunian post-hardcore up and comers, the Hyena Kill. This time around, the Stillery hosted a set of very different musicians.
Lily Oakes is an interesting one. A series of trip-hop-oriented tracks performed in the most minimalist manner possible, using only vocals, looped bass, and drums with the occasional bit of violin and triggered elements, this set was definitely different, but I struggled to come to terms with the impression that Lily Oakes’ songs seem to yearn for bigger, more bombastic arrangements. The sense of frustrated epicness clashing with stripped-to-the-bone instrumentation made proceedings feel too awkward this time around; but perhaps it’s just an acquired taste.
Pairing Oh So Quiet with Princess Slayer is always an interesting mix. The last time I saw those bands share a stage, the former were drowned out by a rowdy Friday night crowd – but at the Stillery they were welcomed with open arms, and respected too. Oh So Quiet’s folky/country-tinged tunes are the type that normally get talked over by at least a few people who don’t understand the proper etiquette for low-key sets, but the Stillery crowd loved it, standing in rapt attention as the band got stuck into nice, sweet songs with the occasional bit of primal animosity and a great guitar solo spot to close things off.
The fact that Princess Slayer even made it onstage for this set was an achievement in itself. With drummer/producer Vince Welch sidelined with a wrecked wrist, Oh So Quiet drummist Harry Clarke had been drafted in to learn a full set in a couple of days – and did a wicked job. I’ve written about Princess Slayer’s live show more times than I can remember now, but what stands out for me at this point is not only how consistently awesome they are, but also how far they’ve come over the past year-and-a-half. If high-energy, ultra-sexy EDM is your thing, Princess Slayer are the band for you. Although God Said (just one of the tracks featured on Princess Slayer’s new EP Living) proved a crowd favourite, the number of Princess Slayer fans showing their support with freshly-purchased merch and bouncing around to recent single Passion Alley, Naughty Boy/Sam Smith cover La La La, and the rocking At The Harbour among others was heartwarming to see.
A party band slaying the launch party for their brand new, hard-partying EP. That pretty much sums it up.
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