Josie Long, Hatty Ashdown, Colour Me Wednesday, Thee Faction @ The Half Moon, Putney 7 June
Josie Long takes to the stage first, on the hoof as she’s doing gigs in two venues tonight. She’s testing out material for her upcoming Edinburgh show, and this venue suits her well. She’s having so much fun with it that she actually continues her act long after her I-Have-To-Leave phone alarm has gone off.
Next up are Colour Me Wednesday. Song titles like ‘Purge Your Inner Tory’ and ‘Lost On The High Street’ may bring to mind an X-Ray Spex tribute band, but CMW are bang up to date. They have a wonderfully fresh sound; ‘Lost On The High Street’ itself sounds like Cannonball-era Breeders, and they bring new life to a cover of The Lemonheads’ ‘Down About It’. ‘Holiday From Your Life’ is the girls are particular favourite, and their sampler CD (in individually hand-made covers) is flying off the merch table.
Hatty Ashdown plays a brief set. She’s bubbly and energetic – with a warm stage presence – but unfortunately everyone is too busy discussing Colour Me Wednesday’s set (and pressing the flesh with the group themselves) to really take her in.
Then it’s the turn of headliners (although they wouldn’t call themselves that, as “headlining is bourgeois”) Thee Faction. Recently elevated to a nine-piece with the permanent addition of horn section Brass Kapital, they don’t so much take to the stage as occupy it with a visceral hybrid of The Feelgoods-meet-The Clash-in-a-Neighborhood Watch-meeting. They are joined for ‘Responsible’ by Brixton rapper Clencha – who also does an impromptu beatbox performance beforehand whilst the mics are being adjusted, much to the crowd’s (and the band’s) delight. ‘Marx My Main Man’ (the girls are favourite, along with the scorching ‘366’) turns into an epic crowd sing-along. There are more gigs scheduled through the summer, and their third album is also due out soon.
Photography by Robin Boot