The Brute Chorus were sadly overlooked

The Hawley Arms has been doused in bad headlines in recent times.

First Johnny Borrell and then Amy Winehouse turned Camden’s famous watering hole into a hipster hangout for all the wrong reasons. To make matters worse on February 9, a huge fire sent Winehouse's boozer crashing to the ground.

Yet while flames continued to lick their way across Camden Town, the news that London's favourite celebrity hangout had started its own record label seemed to bypass everyone. Which is a shame because bands like The Brute Chorus were sadly overlooked.

Hailing from Southend this ramshackle collective come on like a clean cut Gogol Bordello, although frontman James Steel ain't quite as charismatic as his New York counterpart Eugene Hütz. Still he comes close at the death when he drags some singer called Tigs onstage and goes all 'Greased Lightning' on the gypsy driven boy/girl duet otherwise known as 'The Cuckoo & The Stolen Heart'. It ain't necessarily the best track of the night but it’s certainly the most memorable.

Elsewhere the foot stomping 'Send Me A Message' and the bruising 'Chateau' come on like Jack White's undiscovered treasures as The Brute Chorus throw out shouty scuzz pop with an assured tightness, melding dreamy surf guitars with duck whistles, thudding basslines, drum rolls and of course cowbells.

Going by tonight's performance they’d have no problems breaking up any brawl in the Hawley Arms. Who knows they may even send Miss Winehouse home with a smile on her face.


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