Do you like rock music? Do you like ROCK music? Really like ROCK music? Then you should make the effort to see Blood Red Shoes live. Indie metal rock seems to be their signature these days. It’s no wonder they’re grabbing headlines.
The incessant power chords and distortion, combined with the clamorous drumming, and the occasional use of bass drum in doubles relays the style of hard rock. But to look at the two, they wear the mask of indie-ness to the max (factor) with her red lipstick and stripy top and his clean cut good looks and a stage set of retro TVs and movie set lights. The contrasting figure of a couple of huge Marshall stacks against this backdrop proves that yet again the disparate tribes of metal headbangers and indie kids can find a common ground twenty years after grunge.
This could be said about Laura-Mary Carter as well. The mightiness of her limited sonic adventures on guitar, and swooning vocals, set the audience a-sail on a wave of loudness. Yes – for a two-piece they are very, very loud. Instructions have been clearly delivered to their sound guy to turn everything up to eleven. Yet her singing is in a pitch that wreaks femininity and establishes her as an alluring female figure in the current rock scene.
Steven Ansell’s drumming is dead tight and they both know their chops. Three albums in and the tautness of their playing seems to push and pull at the centre of the songs. The contrast of the music and identity also exists within the relationship of the band. She’s broody, lovelorn? Staring out at the baying crowd like those female icons of early Hollywood once did – icy, untouchable. Her body language is actually quite robotic, even non-existent at times. He’s the joker, the talker, the drinker. His body language is loud and boisterous – he’s clearly having a great time.
There are swells of energy that aren’t exposed at first, perhaps the audience is still coming to terms with the new songs, but from the first note of ‘Light It Up’, there’s an explosion, and the crowd ignites into a fist pumping mass. When Laura-Mary gets hit in the face with something thrown from the crowd, it surprises her and she flinches a bit, but her stance and industrial playing isn’t affected, she simply beckons to the crowd with an expletive and a smirk.
Where Blood Red Shoes go from here is difficult to predict. They seem to have deliberately moved the goalposts of their career from their sceney beginnings to the sweaty masses, and with a headlining show at Shepherds Bush Empire this autumn to look forward to, the trick seems to have worked. Only time will tell if their early edginess is lost in the process.
The Pixies once sang that “in Heaven everything is fine”. Tonight, for Blood Red Shoes and a thousand fans, it’s more than that. It’s a celebration.
Words by Libby Moné
Photo by Helen F. Kennedy