REWS – The Slaughtered Lamb, London – 16th September 2021
Gig #6 is an excursion to see Northern Irish alternative pop / rock two-piece REWS in the tiny basement of a bar in Clerkenwell we have never been to.
Three things immediately stand out:
REWS have grown in lockdown – I don’t mean the “lockdown stone” brought on by lack of exercise, too much wine and excessive cheese consumption, but that they are now a three piece
Despite being listed as sold out, there aren’t many people there – are people still anxious, is this social distancing or is this good old fashioned marketing shenanigans? It doesn't matter, they will put on a fab show whatever
There are a group of young (but not that young) men hellbent on moshing to anything that’s played by the support band, by the DJ or by REWS. If Cat Stevens had made a surprise appearance to pay some sensitive balladry, they’d have knocked him over three times in short succession…most are "rockers", one looks like Dominic Raab which is most unfortunate...
We arrive during a set by support band Taunts. They are enthusiastic and loud. Their singer/bass player is supremely confident and deploys every single RAWK stage cliché you can imagine – in her head she is playing Donnington, not a quarter full basement on a Thursday night.
This isn’t meant as a criticism, it’s hugely enjoyable, but ultimately distracts from the songs. I think they’ll do a lot better when they drop that and focus on the tunes, because buried behind the “let me see your hands” and “let me hear you London” nonsense, and when she’s not running out into the crowd (though crowd is really overselling it), they have some real talent. They are tight as fuck and there were some fab catchy songs there that need developing.
So far so good.
REWS take the stage, each member carrying a black flag, the significance of which I miss - Shauna's beautiful Northern Irish brogue distracts me and I miss the actual words. They launch into Itch and instantly it’s clear this is a much more rock REWS than previously. The addition of a bass player since we saw them last gives them a much louder, powerful sound. They are dressed to the nines and sound huge!
The group of “young men” mosh, the band headbang, jump, pose and play like demons, their long hair creating a mini psychedelic show of its own with the lights on stage. They motor through the 13-song set with real joy. Like every band I have seen since May, they are just thrilled to be back.
Shauna strolls into the audience for an acoustic Bad Habits, and even the over enthusiastic moshers stop in their tracks, singing along, a little bewitched by her. One punter shouts something unintelligible and she cuts him down mid-song with a “shut your face” and then cracks on, without missing a beat. Class.
Standouts were Shake Shake, Miss You In The Dark and Shine. Worth checking out if you want a little headbang and jump around to powerpop rock…!