Islington Assembly Hall is one of my favourite London venues for many reasons; not least because it has hosted some of my top live experiences. And on Friday, I got to add to this list of memorable experiences at the venue, when I was lucky enough to catch the undeniably awesome Deap Vally live.
Opening the night with their raging riffs and amazing hair are Denver duo Velveteers; their intense driving energy setting the crowd up for the night’s headliners.
Uncharacteristically bravely positioning myself at the very front, I struggle to contain my excitement as Julie Edwards and Lindsey Troy take to the stage – a moment I’ve been waiting for since hearing their first album, Sistrionix, back in 2013.
On the night of the release of their incredible second album, clad in their matching spandex jumpsuits, the blues-rock duo immediately blast out new track ‘Little Baby Beauty Queen’ – a suitably riotous start to their set. As the crowd wail with excitement, it seems weirdly wonderful to think that the two women creating these heavy, rock sounds actually met in a knitting shop…
Continuing with Sistrionix’s straight-talking, feminist anthem ‘Bad For My Body’, Deap Vally exude their spectacular, inspiring power; as Edwards pounds her kit – her bare feet hitting the pedals like there’s no tomorrow – alongside the impassioned, guttural growl of her bandmate, I’m reminded of the raging energy of the legendary Babes In Toyland, and not just because Troy’s eyes roll back into her head as Kat Bjelland’s so famously tended to do on stage.
As the empowering, fist-clenching offerings from both their albums rage from the stage, Deap Vally continue to wow the packed-out venue with their glorious, gritty aggression – their passion and inspired spirit inciting in me a strength and motivation that only comes with seeing the most wonderful of my musical heroes.
Whilst it can often prove difficult for a band to follow up on the success of their debut album (especially when said album is Sistrionix), on the night of Femejism’s release, Deap Vally certainly prove that their sophomore offering is worthy of our time, and packs just as much of a punch as its predecessor: from the incredible, racing beats of ‘Post Funk’ and the uplifting, catchy chorus of latest single ‘Gonnawanna’, to the utterly empowering and refreshingly tongue-in-cheek ‘Smile More’, I’m completely blown away by this duo’s spectacular tenacity and dazzling, raw energy. As Deap Vally’s power radiates from just a couple of metres in front of me, I find myself welling up in sheer excitement and awe at being in the glorious company of these two women.
After treating us to raucous classics such as ‘End Of The World’ and ‘Lies’, the duo disappear for a couple of minutes before returning to the stage for the most welcome of encores. After blasting out the magnificent reverb-fuelled energy, raw passion and empowering sentiment of ‘Baby I Call Hell’ and ‘Walk Of Shame’, Deap Vally draw the set to a close with the first track of their latest album, ‘Royal Jelly’. Ending the night as they started; amidst a stunning whirl of enthralling vigour and wonderful, riotous charm.
Photo Credit: Jon Mo