Live: Saint Agnes @ Oslo, Hackney.
Beware! Saint Agnes are back with a new single and are ready to kick down the doors in your neighbourhood. The band, who are my personal greatest discovery of 2016, have bought out another strong rock song Merry Mother Of God Go Round. The new single release was followed by a live show at Oslo, Hackney on 8th December.
Nothing can be just ordinary on 8th December. On the same date, we lost John Lennon (1980) and Darell Dimebag (2004) and it should be another celebration of Jim Morrison’s birthday – the Lizard King would have been 73 this year. With expectations set high by the upcoming single, I went to check out what was to be served up on a cold winter’s night at Oslo. On the menu were: HORSEFIGHT, Electric Child House and Saint Agnes.
The first band of the night – HORSEFIGHT – were a bit of a mystery. The London-based trio is due to release their debut album in the upcoming year. They delivered a strong rock performance, deep and edgy with some crazy riffs and kickings drums. It mixed well with screamy vocals and immediately turned the audience on, the band took the stage by storm. Their youthful energy was contagious and warmed up the atmosphere.
As Oslo becomes more and more sweaty the second band of the night put their footprints in. Electric Child House. The last time I saw them at the Hackney Wonderland Festival, they were tearing the place to pieces. I did expect the same quality on this cold December night and they didn’t disappoint. They play melodic, almost classic rock with some heavy riffs and intriguing vocals.
Times it by six, stir it well and serve with a portion of buzzing energy. The six-piece from Essex is fun to watch and the audience responded well to their own material. Songs like Soul Sucker reveal their growing popularity, they easily put the crowd in the kind of sing-along, dancing mood that left them starving for more.
And more was just about to come. Saint Agnes were the unquestionable and awaited stars of the night. Kitty Arabella Austen (guitar, keys, vocals), Jon Tufnell (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Ben Chernett (bass) and Andy Head (drums) came on to a stage covered in black balloons, the magic set to begin.
I was in awe of the four piece rock band when I saw them earlier in the year. In fact, each time I have seen them them on stage they get better and better. They develop and grow. They deliver great music, highly influenced by the one and only Lizard King.
Saint Agnes are best served live, their performances are very sensual with an almost touchable tension between Kitty and Jon. It adds a hint of spice to an already highly energetic show.
On a day that could be another Jim Morrison birthday I was expecting to hear my favourite The Doors cover – Roadhouse Blues. The first time I heard their take on the song, it gave me goosebumps and left me with the question: how on Earth did they manage to touch the sun without getting burned? I still don’t know the answer but what I witnessed again made it shine their own light. With a dedication to Jim Morrison, the song sounded even more powerful than the first time I heard it live, perhaps it was my anticipation?
What I didn’t predict was a reference to the late Pantera guitarist Darell Dimebag. In between their own songs Jon took the time to mention his gone-too-soon-hero and played couple of Pantera riffs. The audience responded well but it was more than obvious they didn’t share the same musical background as Jon.
Saint Agnes on stage are an unpredictable force that will drag you into their world and let you completely sink into the music. Choosing to end the set with a brand new song isn’t the most popular and the safest thing to do, but it worked brilliantly for them. Merry Mother Of God Go Round is one hell of a jumping, vibrating ride, full of rich guitar riffs, harmonica and charismatic vocals It was the perfect close to the night and wrapped up a tight performance.
Merry Mother Of God Go Round was released on the 8th December 2016.
Check out the new single from Saint Agnes here: https://youtu.be/nwfG4pWcj0Y
Saint Agnes live @ Oslo, Hackney, 8th December 2016
Live Review and Photography by Edyta K