Photo: Bryan Sheffield
Review by Faye Smith
14/11/13 Electric Ballroom, Camden
Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll did not die in the 80s. We’re talking the classic sentiment of it right now Milky Tea Kidders! Last week, MTK was invited to the music heart of London to see rock duet Deap Vally. Electric Ballroom was the venue, an underground rock bar with large bars and a whole area for people to stand and watch – or take part in a mosh pit to – the bands that were playing. Upon first look, it was definitely a place for gigs to take place, although it does turn into a place of rave every weekend: dark walls, no lighting, plastic cups… you get the idea.
When I arrived, I was given a VIP pass to the after party. You can imagine a twenty-one year old’s excitement at that. Then, I joined the crowd of middle aged people reliving their rock years, young teens thinking that they’re older than they actually are and twenty to thirty year old crazy people. There were also people like me: alone and wanting to enjoy the gig without being slammed into, pushed against and having drinks spilled all down their front. When I arrived, there was a screamo band playing with thudding drums, bass and big boots. Picture it: large men with long hair screaming into the microphone. They were the warm up gig. All anybody wanted was Deap Vally.
They met in strange circumstances considering they’re full on rock chicks. Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards met in a crochet class in LA and bonded over their love of needlework, which then grew to a love of music and they never looked back. After a band from New York, Deap Vally hailed to the stage rapping… What? Yes. Rapping. Rapping Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back’ aka ‘I like big butts…’ It was a fantastic way to open the show as they hid behind two pieces of apparatus with their slogan on; the audience was only able to see their eyes.
Then the fun began.
Edwards took her place at her drum kit on stage left, whilst Troy took her guitar on the opposite side. The dynamic of the set up shows both equality and enough space to rock out on stage without the possibility of hurting one another mid head bang. I need to take a moment to express my love of the outfits. They were FANTASTIC. Pure 80s. Glittery, tight, revealing: everything you want in a major female rock band. And the hair! Also pure 80s. Troy’s long mullet style, perfect for swishing it around during instrumentals, and Edwards’s fiery curls are the epitome of rock and roll hair.
Soulful, bluesy rock and a lingering line of feisty honesty in their music is what make these women special. And boy can Troy scream! In a good way of course. It’s that throaty, rock scream that rock and rollers go wild for. She deafens half the room with it as she belts out the songs without half a breath. ‘Raw Material’ and ‘Gonna Make My Own Money’ set the ballsy tone of the evening. An immediate impact is made on the audience with these two songs as they flip their hair back and forth in time with the beat of the drums. I don’t like to have favourites, but ‘Gonna Make My Own Money’ is definitely up there on the top line for Deap Vally. The combination of the vocals, guitar and drums get the party started.
No rock band is a rock band without a rock ballad. During this set, we have the pleasure of witnessing two: ‘Six Feet Under’ and ‘Spiritual’. ‘Six Feet Under’ is a slow, sensual song with Troy almost caressing the mic and guitar. Deap Vally almost put the audience in a trance with this one as we all stand and nod our heads back and forth with the slow beat. ‘Spiritual’ is extra special as Troy surprises the audience by announcing that Edwards will be singing the haunting song. She does it beautifully and we’re in awe of her surprisingly good voice. She should solo more often.
Thursday is the new Friday and Deap Vally wanted to celebrate that by getting the audience ready for the weekend. So, “in honour” of anyone going out, joyous Troy sets the weekend in motion with ‘Walk of Shame’ where she gets so excited that she ends up diving into the audience and crowd surfing. Classic rock star. ‘End of the World’ and ‘Baby I Call Hell’ are the closing songs of the night. And we all end the night on a high. We’ve rocked out with party animals Lindsey and Julie for an hour and, despite the tiredness, I can go home knowing that I’ve discovered another amazing band that I can now listen to over and over. How had I not heard of them before?!