Let it never be said that Clash can't throw a party. To celebrate the launch of ClashMusic.com’s flash redesign, Shoreditch's The Yard has truly been decked out for tonight's shenanigans; an audio-visual feast with Clash's renowned cover work draped left and right, pairs of Parrot Zik's industry leading headphones to play with and, yes, a free bar. Oh, and letting the booze flow, the fine folks of Peroni, Smirnoff and Rekorderlig have ensured that all present celebrating our dandy new website shall be looking elegant to the last.
But hey, it's not all about the pretty and free things, this is a music magazine after all, and we have quite the double team tonight. Headlining is lovely Northern lass Beth Jeans Houghton and her Hooves of Destiny. Now based in LA, it is a real pleasure to have the Hooves playing tonight, we grabbed Beth for a quick chat before things got hectic.
So, how has life been since Clash last saw her? "Life has been good... pleasant. I’m sorry though I might sneeze seventeen times!" Despite a cold Beth is in good spirits and is looking forward to tonight and the future, their performance promising to deliver "me dribbling out my nose, dancing, and sorry, bad language." A winning combo, and with the recording of a new album beginning in just two weeks things are pleasant as ever in The Hooves’ world.
Those arriving early would have heard the exciting sound of support Nimmo And The Gauntletts sound-checking, and at nine it's time to hear the real thing. With a performance as solid as oak the audience lap up the group’s emotional indie music with pleasure. With numbers such as 'Chin Up' and 'Dealing Desire' the Gauntletts show a lyrical and rhythmic skill far more refined than their contemporaries.
Short intermission taken and those present catch up on all the gossip East London can provide while enjoying another beverage and Clash DJs’ fine tunes. Stepping out in a riding helmet and general eye catching garb The Hooves appear and grab peoples’ attention without yet striking a note. Of course when they do the first thing you notice is Miss Houghton's angelic voice soon followed by an intricate sonic attack that is both powerful and charming. There's a ferocity to the music despite the delicate melodies, perhaps this is why they have fought the “folk” tag for so long. This is not folk, this is Kate Bush, California sunshine and the attitude of punk all mixed at top blending speed.
'Dodecahedron' predictably goes down a storm, after all it’s a fantastic song, as is tonight's version of 'Nightswimmer'. Most of the debut is flown through and it makes Clash most eager for that sophomore effort. Bring on 2013's bounties. With the beautiful and pale all danced the space slowly clears, the four hundred and fifty present drifting into the night. It's been a good time. Fine company, fine drinks, fine music. Job done.
Words by Sam Walker-Smart
Photos by Tom McNeilage