It’s been ages since I went to The Shack­lewell Arms for a gig, and it was a reminder not to over­look this venue: wel­com­ing vibe, good space for bands and amaz­ing Lebanese Street Food cooked to order by Jel­ly­fish Organ­ic (soon to move to Hack­ney Wick). 

Both the bands play­ing tonight, sup­port Look­ing Glass Alice fol­lowed by Death and Vanil­la, despite their dif­fer­ences, embrace vin­tage equip­ment and sound.

The evening start­ed very promis­ing­ly with Look­ing Glass Alice, a psych-pop duo with a plen­ti­ful ros­ter of songs and charm­ing­ly engag­ing mem­bers who don’t take long to set­tle into their stride. The front woman and gui­tarist are sim­i­lar­ly in killer 60s vin­tage out­fits and their stage pres­ence is inspiring. 

Titles of songs evade me but two that stood out were, I think, Black Cat Blues, and Mind the Gap (plus a cou­ple with a def­i­nite Doors vibe) in a set that’s loaded with dancey, infec­tious tracks. And there are those styl­ish­ly insou­ciant vocals float­ing over the the fuzz and pulse of the instru­men­ta­tion. Look­ing Glass Alice are def­i­nite­ly a band to watch out for.

Death and Vanil­la are back tour­ing in the UK – I dis­cov­ered them the last time they hit these shores when they joined the Fire Records Xmas par­ty in Hack­ney Wick in 2019. They excel at thought­ful and sup­ple dream pop but can slip eas­i­ly into tense and atmos­pher­i­cal­ly doomy territory. 

Most of the tracks from new album Flick­er made an appear­ance, mixed with a smat­ter­ing of ear­li­er mate­r­i­al. 60s infused Out For Mag­ic came over well, as well as the stat­uesque and bleak Find Anoth­er Illu­sion although at times Mar­leen Nilsson’s vocals were a lit­tle low in the mix. Death And Vanil­la appeared thrilled and even tak­en aback by the crowd’s enthu­si­asm and we were duly treat­ed to a mes­meris­ing ver­sion of Nec­es­sary Dis­tor­tions as the encore. Mar­leen informed us it was going to be a long ver­sion. They could have stretched it out a fur­ther 30 mins and I would have been happy.

We leave to an absolute crush at the merch stall. Death and Vanil­la say they’re hop­ing to come back to the UK soon. Fin­gers crossed. 

Death and Vanil­la / Look­ing Glass Alice / Fire Records / The Shack­lewell Arms /

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *