The power died. The atmosphere was surely to follow.

‘Even in the dust bowl, we got juice,’ croaked a husky young drawl, face drawn in shadow.

Treasured black leather boots; toes and soles wound round with gaffer tape, a powerful symbol of this troupe of harmonious misfits. Scruffy dark clothes, straggly unkempt hair and wild beards, shabby instruments. None of this was what mattered. The creation of a pure, hard sound was worth more than all the boutiques in Soho.

From the void a second, deeper timbre exploded, ‘One, two, three, four…’ The quartet played on, acoustically, sounding none the worse for it.

Lit only by emergency power, the plush crimson interior paled. Faces bathed in B-movie chiaroscuro. If these former Pentecostal boys cared to notice, their audience had been captivated by the moment, as it gazed and swayed, shrouded in an emerald glow.

The build-up before tonight was tinged with excitement, trepidation. No one knew quite what to expect but here it was: electric (and not), sexual, powerful, dangerous, hardcore, raw, untempered. These boys could be big, everyone could feel it. They could rule the world, set it on fire.

Madame JoJo’s was not the obvious choice to break a new rock act, but tonight it felt like the only place on Earth to be. Witnessed by a lucky few – a collection of hip dudes, old queens, industry-liggers, cool cats and wannabes. An audience teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown, always needing the next big thing before anyone else could get there.

Minutes after rescuing the exploratory set, the power came back, with a loud crackle of amplified static. A faint cheer pushed against the ambience, not too enthusiastically so as to ruin the atmosphere but an approving one, nonetheless.

‘Let’s go,’ hollered the drummer, with an inevitable deep Southern twang; they and the assembled throng did just that.


By Sean A. Fitzgerald