Show Review: Blood Red Shoes with STARSKATE and Happy Fangs at Rickshaw Stop, 10/1/2012

by Matthew Blake on October 5, 2012

Perhaps due to the myriad of musical selections these days, there’s chance you haven’t heard of them, but young English rock duo, Blood Red Shoes, are on a mission to change that.  Leaving their familiar Europe, they arrive almost two years to the day they first played the States, bringing their simplistic but powerful set to entice those who don’t know and incite those that do.  In an area chock full of both local and visiting fresh talent, how would these Brighton, UK natives fare?

Having three albums under their belt, yet having a certain newness about them, Blood Red Shoes feature a number of influences that span the gritty chords of Nirvana to the soft rock ballads of Fleetwood Mac.  With Laury-Mary Carter on guitar and Steven Ansell providing drum work,  they blend a beautifully simple yet curiously complex cocktail of rock that does not seem comparable to much out there these days.  I first recall being directed to the band as they were displayed as a “related artist” while I was listening to The Kills on the increasingly popular Spotify music service.  Instantly smitten with their rock ‘n’ roll ways, this was a can’t miss show.  They had already been featured on the soundtrack for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and had some pretty notable live appearances at places such as Reading Festival and All Tomorrow’s Parties, in addition to opening for the likes of  Rage Against the Machine, among others.  The BBC seem to fancy their catalog as well, which can never be a bad thing.  However, enough of the resume, there is a show to discuss.

San Francisco’s Rickshaw Stop has hosted some fairly large names in music at times when they were not so large – M.I.A., Silversun Pickups and Vampire Weekend all come to mind.  Perhaps the venue was about to repeat the process on Monday night.  Helping open that evening would be the likes of local bands STARSKATE and Happy Fangs, both of whom which provided a fairly warm and fuzzy interlude into the main event.

I’d love to draw direct comparison to Blood Red Shoes from legends of the past, but I simply can’t.  They have a style unique unto themselves that must be heard to truly understand.  As the two finally took stage, they allowed us to experience just that, ripping right into their set list with a ying-yang blend of drummer Steve’s youthful energy and guitarist Laura’s reserved coolness.  Despite some audio issues mid-way that were seemingly forgotten by the audience as the band charmed their way through it, the sound they provided was very crisp and quite full for a stripped down duo in a limited venue.  Steve’s drumming never missed a count as the pair’s vocals kept the crowd grounded in each tune, almost forgetting that this was an indie act and not Queens of the Stone Age.  All who were present had some movement about them, and how could they not?  This is not music to stand dull and stare at.  The set list rolled through with one addicting melody after another, in between the pair taking tequila shots on stage and sporting cheeky grins. It was revealed that Steven had a birthday that night, so cake was delivered on stage and a rousing bar of “happy birthday to you” sung by those in attendance began.  One could not fall in love and feel a certain warmth and connection with these Brits, as if they were friends who just came on stage to entertain us – and I am certainly one of those people.  The night eventually led to the band switching roles for their B-side “Surf Song”, a track they wrote “hoping to have it thrown into a Tarantino movie”, Laura holding her own on drums and Steve on guitar.  Concluding the show was the rambunctious “Je Me Perds”, eventually letting their feedback ring like out good students of the game and capping it off with Steve spastically falling off his drum set.

One could not walk away after the show feeling satisfied and like all was right in the world.  Amid all the hype and the hipster mentality that crowds truly good art nowadays, we finally have people who just want to rock, and who are good at doing so.  I’m looking forward to their return and expect growing success down the road, should they want it.

Set list:

It’s Getting Boring by the Sea
Don’t Ask
Cold
Say Something, Say Anything
In Time to Voices
Light It Up
Lost Kids
This Is Not For You
Heartsink
It Is Happening Again
You Bring Me Down
The Surf Song
Keeping It Close
I Wish I Was Someone Better
Je Me Perds

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