The Bull and Gate in Kentish Town is the TARDIS of music venues: small North London boozer on the outside, large back room venue with top notch sound and lighting on the inside. All is quiet outside, but on walking through the door, the room is filled with a close-knit collective surrounding tonight’s bands. We’re here to witness the double-whammy of SKINNY GIRL DIET and ART TRIP AND THE STATIC SOUND, who are sharing tonight’s lineup with THE LAMPOST GULLIVERS.
ART TRIP AND THE STATIC SOUND channels the politically charged spirit of punk rock, but instead of chaotically attacking in anger, they pick off their targets with precision and deadly accuracy in sniper-like fashion. The music has the punk hallmark of simplicity to it, but there are elements in the sound that exhibit the flair of accomplished musicianship. Melodie Holliday delivers her vocals with a kind of clear-minded, controlled anger, one highlight of the set being the song “Heels” with Melodie’s and Tony Fisher’s guitars hammering out 2 chords, full tilt, and the refrain of “she was not asking for it” conveying the desired message and emotion in an extremely powerful way. Their performance is visceral and memorable, transfixing the audience, and leaving them with ringing, thoroughly impressed ears.
SKINNY GIRL DIET is a band that, apparently unbeknownst to them, have got a lot of people talking. The 2 sisters Ursula and Delilah (daughters of Art Trip’s Melodie Holliday), together with their cousin Amelia Cutler, are a unique prospect in London’s music scene, combining the influences of bands like Nirvana and The Slits in neither an obvious nor a contrived way, producing something so utterly raw and individual that anybody familiar with their music would already be able to recognise their trademark sound a mile off.
It’s shows like tonight’s that get people talking. Taking to the stage with a confidence beyond their years and aggression to match, SGD storm through their 30-minute set. “Dimethyltryptamine” is a highlight: equally melodic and dissonant, straddling the line between chaos and order (something this band do incredibly well), the opening guitar melody something of a brainworm, and guitarist Delilah’s drawling, punky vocals offset by bassist Amelia’s blood curdling screams that punctuate the song. This band is heading for good things, and their already accomplished sound is a testament to their hard working, DIY approach.
Following up this show with a slot at Power Lunches a week later, this thundering no-nonsense band is making the rounds at some of London’s hottest venues. Also massive supporters of Pussy Riot, Skinny Girl Diet are already fast becoming role-models to other musicians and artists in terms of craftsmanship and maturity – and they’re still in their teens. With a supportive family guiding them through (or along the outskirts of) the music industry, these girls make up one of the most exciting bands of our generation.