At First Serious, Then Self-Indulgent and Finally Superb

Last night we pitched up at the Old Queen’s Head on Essex Road in Islington for a gig. I’d walked past this pub many times and had assumed it was a bit ropey from the large dark windows – I couldn’t have been more wrong. Clearly benefitting from a recent makeover, it’s got a twist on that retro 60s/70s look that’s become very fashionable lately. Its complimented by a fairly adventurous bar menu that even includes mushroom burgers. It’s clearly popular with the younger crowd and was absolutlely rammed by the time we left at the end of the evneing so they’re clearly doing something right. They have a really sexy website too which you’ll find here.

Anyway, up the stairs we went to the first floor bar, a large room which also functions as the performance space. We were here to see Goldheart Assembly but, as with most of these gigs, there were two support acts to see before they came on. First up on the stage were Thee Single Spy, quite a large group of very serious looking individuals. Then they started to play – very serious lyrics, very serious expressions and the lead singer had a seriously unexciting voice… ah well we hoped… the second support was bound to be better. While The See See were much more accomplished musicians, they treated the whole thing like a jam in the garage where they rehearse – completely self-indulgent and they clearly didn’t give a toss about what the audience thought – props to the fantastic bass and lead guitarists though!

Time for the main event, and suddenly we were back in 1972 – it was as if six rejects from Aston University’s School of Applied Biology, fresh off the set of Bamber Gascoigne-era University Challenge, had taken to the stage – all beards and brown jumpers – what is it with the kids these days?? :)

Goldheart Assembly have a very sophisticated sound that belies the age of the band members – there are definite overtones of the likes of the Fleet Foxes and the Arcade Fire in their music, and a lot of nods back to the late 60s and early 70s but I don’t want to give the impression that they’re derivative – their material is uniquely energetic, fresh and catchy. An interview and performance on BBC 6 Music as part of this weekend’s Camden Crawl won’t do any harm in opening up their sound to a wider audience either. Their Myspace page has lots of tracks to listen to – another band to catch before they’re famous..

From Goldheart Assembly April 2009