Nambucca in north London is another of the city’s surviving, dedicated rock venue pubs that has not been converted into a hipster club with over-priced “gourmet” burgers. It has a pool table, a bar and a large room for live music. What more do you need? It has hosted gigs by relatively big name artists and people you will never hear of, as well as plenty of hard-working bands off the circuit. And it has decent lighting, which is always a plus from my point of view. As with most rock venues, it has an affiliation with Jack Daniels, which marketing itself as the rock drink, and will often sponsor gigs, such as this one.
For a Saturday night, it was eerily quiet, but there were at least four other indie/underground gigs I could have happily gone to, and probably just as many at the bigger venues around town. For me, the draw of the evening was The Vex. I’ve seen them a few times already and they never fail to impress.
The evening started with two solo performers, Oliver Shaw and Myles Morgan, respectively. And when I say solo performers it also referred to the size of their audience, but like the troopers they were, they performed their songs as if the room was full.
There was a complete change of pace when Chemical Trails (not to be confused with Chemtrails). Their music was a mix of prog rock, metal and Brit pop. It is a big sound that feels like it is more suited to a studio rather than a pub, but the level of musicianship could not be faulted.
In contrast, London SS is proper old-school punk rock (with old being the operative word). It was clear that the singer was the angry young man to the other members grumpy old men. They didn’t quite have the danger that other contemporary bands such as The Cavemen or Shame have, but they were a great fit for the venue.
I’ve sung (well, written) the praise of The Vex before. When it comes to stage presence and great songs that have something intelligent say, delivered with a rocksteady beat, they do deliver, and make it fun despite the seriousness of the subjects of some of their songs.