Review: A Trip to The 100 Club with Fred Perry to See Ugly, The New Eves, Skydaddy and The Last Whole Earth Catalog

A Trip to The 100 Club with Fred Perry to See Ugly, The New Eves, Skydaddy and The Last Whole Earth Catalog. We accept the invite to attend a night of exciting new music curated by The 100 Club.

Having spent slightly too long nursing a Guinness round the corner from the 100 Club, the bare-boned twinkling of guitar strings are what coax me down from Oxford Street into the basement on another particularly miserable Monday evening. 

As the stage looms into view, multi-instrumentalist Dan Parr’s delicate vocals shimmer gently and do much to soothe the jagged nerves of a late live reviewer. Fervently melodic with jazzed-up folk inflections, The Last Whole Earth Catalog oscillate masterfully between moments of stark vulnerability and perfectly timed bursts of heavy bass and drums. It’s a blissful offering for a laid-back lover of shoegaze that likes their music to bite back. Presumably named after the American counterculture magazine and product catalogue published by Stewart Brand between 1968 and 1972, the band introduce themselves before quickly adding that nobody will remember the name because it is, in fact, too long. They are however a joy to watch, drawing the audience in with a stage presence that is matched by the warmth of their melodies and tight instrumentals. Mellow, gentle, but with an element of unpredictability that keeps you on your toes, put simply, they’re just good musicians playing good music and are well worth the watch. 

Circling back to the aforementioned Guinness-that-made-me-late, my surrender to the pub did mean that I had the unplanned pleasure of meeting the many members of Skydaddy as they embarked on their secret santa gifting. The flurry of eight musicians at the pub was just as joyous on stage, even more so with the added pleasure of a cello and violin. The folk bent of the evening was an undercurrent that powered on, here with trad-like character and orchestral sentiment. The strings were thoughtfully deployed and thankfully not a gratuitous addition for the sake of seasoning a re-heated version of what we’ve seen a million times before. Refreshingly intuitive whilst holding true sentiment, it was a transporting experience to watch them. The brainchild of Rachid Fakhre, the lyricism is a testament to storytelling and the set even featured a beautiful and tender cover of a breakup song written by Fakhre by his new partner. 

From Skydaddy’s soft storytelling comes the dark and charged power of The New Eves. With an energy that casts its gaze firmly on the punk woman trailblazers of the 70s, their flavour of folk is infused with characteristics that have historically represented female threat. Interpretive dance, group chanting, and bass-heavy steady tempos draw uncanny parallels with witchcraft – theirs is a show that embodies female threat and runs with it. Watching them live is like being unwittingly drafted into a cultic ritual, to benevolent or malevolent ends it’s impossible to say and that ambiguity is part of the charm. It is guttural, raw, and haunting with moments of pure unbridled brilliance. At its best, the music appears as a natural extension of the four musicians; it becomes impossible to tell where the woman ends and the music begins. Feral femininity with a fearsome sound, I loved it. 

The final band of the night, Ugly, brought an excited roar from a crowd that was so tightly packed in around the stage that space to clap had to be fought for. Having recently released their first single of this year, ‘Hands Of Man’, the post-rock mavericks hurtle into nearly an hour of boundless dynamism. Without taking themselves seriously in the slightest, they charge through tracks whose character seems based on whichever member has taken charge. Each of the six bring their own distinct personality to the music which lends a satisfying push and pull element to the live show. Lovers of Glee will find their teenage obsession satisfied by the choral bent. It marks the band’s departure from their early embodiment which saw them make ‘jangly, good-time guitar music’ (as per DIY). It’s an explosive ending to an excellently curated evening spanning a range of contemporary folk iterations. If one thing is certain, it’s that the loosely inflected folk undercurrent is proving particularly fertile ground for exciting new music.


Also Read: Ugly Make a Welcome Return with Single ‘Hands of Man’

All photos by Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

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