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Wednesday, 8 July 2009

SubVersion Stop 9: Black Powder + Ace Bushy Striptease + Saints Innocents @ The Wheatsheaf, Oxford

Don't be deceived by the student-prankster, piss-up styled pseudonym, Ace Bushy Striptease border on a twee, cutesy jangle, paired with march-style drum spurts and deliberately clumsy vocal deliveries. They're joined by Black Powder tonight, who's songs survive via alternated hops, skips and jumps from the drummer, scrunching up the pace like a hedgehog in defence, at other points synchronized to build a fiery synergy, topped off by the lead singer's spiky mohican to wash it down. Covering subjects as disparate as prostitution, Jesus ("your heroes are liars they love you so little") and assorted consequential "Filth" (another equally interesting track title), it's hard rocking right to the finish line, the players abusing their instruments as if life depended on it, and the moods harboured in doom-mongering cross-context juxtaposition - the singer a jekyll and hyde mish-mash of Noddy Holder and an irritable rottweiler. Whatever the score, they're here and heavy, and that's all that matters.

Ace Bushy Striptease see to taming down the noise threshold, yet by the end of their set there are cheers that ricochet from wall to wall. Reading her track order off a notepad, there are stops and starts from the lead singer, and the secondary ("this next song might be better"), that I'd put down to not idle chatter, but a reminder of what it means to be human again. So there's mic trouble from the sound engineer's point of view, but still their identity remains intact, alive, and out there.

Google-searched as a defunct cemetery in Paris, Saints Innocents' music is fortunately posessed with more spirit than a well-stocked off-license. A complete bloody mess of sweeping guitar, speed-freak drumming and skydive-like screams and bellows, it reads like a cavalcade of insecurities being blasted to pieces by the angst of youth. Alright in small doses, but not for the long haul.

Ace Bushy Striptease: MySpace
Ace Bushy Striptease: Official website
The Wheatsheaf: MySpace

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