Pharaohs From The Grave – Live reviews 2010 / 2011 / 2012



PHARAOHS OF THE GRAVE – 28 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, 22nd September 2010 – Text and photos – Mickey Penguin / Additional Text – Andy Martin

Pharaohs From The Grave formally known as Coda featuring UNIT member UJ on bass and joined by Emily ‘Wolf’ on vocals, Kath on guitar and Par on drums and percussion. I witnessed what I think was the debut gig by this exciting young band at the Anti Design Festival, a performance (and non performance) art show in Shoreditch. Bumping into my old friend from the 1980’s Andy Martin ex of The Apostles, now performing in UNIT, was also a pleasant bonus.

A great gig in a marvelous venue, Emily originally entered stage right with some kind of Tina Turner Mad Max 3 home made costume on which soon got ripped off  by herself to reveal a black and white dress which complimented the full-on strobe effects very nicely. The whole room seemed to be full of young left-field arty folk and edgy fashion designers who seemed to appreciate Pharaohs From The Grave very much…I wish and hope for big things in the future for this band and will look forward to checking them live again in the future.

The arty black and white photographs taken with a mobile phone (believe it or not) mostly in strobe effect lighting courtesy of my own steady flipper. Colour photographs courtesy of Emily ‘Wolf’.

The text below in burgundy courtesy of Andy Martin. Thanks to him for writing that out…A photograph of Andy (with the white training shoes on) witnessing the performance is also below if you look closely enough.

On Wednesday 22nd September, I attended my first pop concert since the late 1980s. In general, I simply don’t go to such events. UNIT performs our own concerts with sufficient frequency to mollify any desire I may have to be entertained by the rock and roll circus. However…instead of our usual Tuesday evening rehearsal, UJ called an hour earlier to inform me that his other band were due to play a gig the following evening. The group is called Pharaohs Of The Grave (what a truly dreadful name for a band – sounds far too Goth, all backs to the audience and pass us the hair dye, wack – which as a description of the group is as inaccurate as to describe a New Labour politician as decent and honourable) and they play pop music in a pared down, simplified style without being boring or repetitive (there’s nothing punk rock about these chaps – if there was then I’d have stayed at home and listened to the remaining two hours of the fifth One Day International between England and Pakistan).

Demographics ought not to be so intriguing but they are and let’s not avoid the fact. Alien Kulture were the first racially mixed British group to play white indie pop music: three Pakistanis and one Caucasian, all red stars and agit-prop, playing on the backs of lorries – well, it was 1980 when socialism was still taken (almost) seriously by people who really should have known better. 23 Skidoo followed with their two brothers of Chinese origin – musically a far more interesting and adventurous outfit. Now we have to move forward all the way to 2000 and the formation of UNIT with its three Chinese lads and two Caucasians of which I am one – these days it’s just one white chap and three British born Chinese lads but that’s grand…now move onto 2010 – Pharaohs Of The Grave feature two women and two men – an advantage for various reasons: decent role models for other women in an industry still thoroughly male dominated etc, you know the rest. The singer is of West African origin; the guitarist is of West Indian descent – now onto the men. UJ was born here but his parents are from Hong Kong. The drummer is Indian, commutes all the way from Newcastle to attends rehearsals which must be a bloody pain. So, we have two black women and two Asian men on stage playing what (if you close your eyes) sounds like a more interesting form of white indie pop.

Open your eyes again and before you is a vision of how a teenage Diana Ross would have looked had she been influenced by punk rock. You have a space age member of The Vandellas on guitar. You have two tall, slim men with very long straight black hair on bass guitar and drums, like two Native American brothers. Visually the group were stunning and highly photogenic. I used up a whole roll of film on the band when I’d originally intended to take only a couple of snaps for my album. Mickey ‘Penguin’ of Southern Record Distribution and the KYPP website was also there – an expected and welcome face in an audience who included an unusually high number of non-white people (a pleasant change from the norm).

The Admission: yes I admit it – I would not have attended this event had UJ not been one of the performers. Look, my CD collection overflows with progressive rock, contemporary Japanese rock, a plethora of the more adventurous post-punk gear like The Lemon Kittens and Five Or Six plus a healthy batch of avant garde classical works. Why the hell would I normally go to see an indie pop group for crying out loud? Reputation to uphold and all. However, since UJ had travelled all the way to my place in Isle Of Dogs the previous night, prior to his rehearsal which was miles away in Action, simply to tell me about the gig, I believed it was my duty to show my support. Well, I’m glad I did. I went to the concert fully expecting to be bored witless so imagine my surprise when I actually enjoyed myself thoroughly.

My initial fears were exacerbated when I witnessed the first and second outfits on the stage that night: they were so absolutely abysmal that I was only able to tolerate five or six minutes of each group before I was compelled to leave the hall, if only to return to the current century. Groups like that weren’t even particularly interesting to me even during their halcyon period of the 1980s when such bands were popular – now they’re just irrelevant. Time, musical evolution, ideas and styles have moved on. Oh they were technically competent and highly adept at their chosen idioms and, to be fair, most of the audience enjoyed what they had to offer but I don’t do nostalgia.

So to be honest, after that aural assault, I anticipated the third group with considerable trepidation. Emily the singer managed to maintain her role as the focal point in a group full of focal points – it was impossible to separate their appearance from the sound they made. (How that translates itself onto CD is another matter, of course.) With her frequent forays into engagement with the audience it was virtually impossible not to like the band – they played as if they really wanted everyone to have a damned good time and I generally have almost Benedictine patience for a group with that kind of attitude.

Kath the guitarist stood facing her amplifier for the whole concert to concentrate on her playing – no fake posing or empty gestures here. UJ faced the audience but again wasted no energy on looking cool, he was too concerned to ensure he played the right notes at the right time (he did) – remember that he is a flute player first, a guitarist second and a bass guitarist third – although I bet nobody else in the audience would have realised that from his solid performance.

Par Mahn, the drummer achieved a rare feat: I noticed what he was playing. I have little interest in drums or drumming and generally I ignore what the drummer of any group does since I’m too busy paying attention to the proper instruments. However, his curiously fractured, slightly tribal style was too unusual to ignore – oh it was all in time and added lustre to the general sound but, even though virtually the whole set was in 4/4, what he did with the rhythms was often highly inventive. Because for much of the time the guitar and bass guitar frequently played single note melody lines an octave apart, he used his drum kit to fill out any gaps in the sound over which Emily’s’ voice soared in avian fashion, a falcon surveying her sonic primordial forest. (I can do reams of this pretentious muso journo stuff, just watch me.)

Question: why was I the only person in the entire audience who danced, jumped, leaped about and moshed? This was a group whose music MOVED – it had ENERGY and it vibrated with LIFE. It’s 2010 – we don’t have to stand around and look cool anymore, honestly, that kind of behaviour is SO 1980s – come on, folks, enjoy yourselves, we’re here to party and Pharaohs Of The Grave were the kind of outfit to make that possible – no, more than that, they made it virtually obligatory.

Right – when do we hear their first recording then?

Andy Martin 23rd September 2010

PHARAOHS FROM THE GRAVE at The Shoreditch pub, Shoreditch, 14th April 2011 – Text and photos – Mickey Penguin / Additional Text – Andy Martin

The second performance myself and Andy Martin have witnessed by this absolutely brilliant unsigned band. The band have only performed three times but the first time they were called Coda. This was the second performance by Pharaohs From The Grave, and this performance was every bit as exciting and special as the previous performance had been. This time the band had hooked up with the Fresh Meat promotions and the occasion was a regular gig (as opposed to the first performance set within an art event).

I thought this fact might have dampened the spirit somewhat. As it happens I was happily incorrect. Even without art on the walls and above one’s head. Even without strobe lights and performance artists wandering around. Even with just a set list and a sound man…This band and this event were immensely satisfying on the night underneath the Shoreditch bar.

Emily appeared from back stage in her home made custom costume, a tradition from the first show. Is it a bit too soon for it to become a tradition? Probably, but it shows exactly how much the band put into each rare performance!

This time she was covered in what looked like one dollar notes. She elaborated during a break (and the ripping off and destruction of the costume) that it was her small dedication to Elizabeth Taylor who had recently passed on. I assume the face on the notes would have been this famous old actress. Emily had a red velvet looking dress underneath the now destroyed and torn ‘dollar bill’ top layer lying on the stage floor.

The rhythm section was even more powerful than the previous show and the guitarist over dosed the crowd with some wonderful noise. Emily rolled, UJ swayed, Par did not miss a beat and Kath stood almost motionless dragging the chords out of her Les Paul…

Batteries powering the many cameras pointing at the band went low with the constant use. Two large film cameras were also adding to this gigs carbon footprint by archiving this whole performance.

The crowd yelped for an encore heartedly, the band performed ‘Higher’ for the second time in the night, a track with some drumming patterns to kill for.

This band (if they stay together long enough) will certainly make waves on the gigging circuit and no doubt the festival circuit as well. Some recordings may well help, but for now I still have these two live experiences to remember with fondness.

Pharaohs From The Grave are, in my opinion, one of the most interesting bands I have witnessed in over three decades of attending gigs, the band are well worth checking out if you get the chance to.

The arty black and whites from my own camera shutter and the text below in burgundy from the man on the door for the night, Mr Andy Martin…

Pharaohs From The Grave were the main band again even though it was only their third concert, as I sat there by the door and heard their barbarously (yet oddly appealing) simplistic songs evidently enjoyed by an appreciative audience, I experienced a pre-sent future vision of UJ remaining with them while I sat alone in the studio as UNIT churning out strange pop songs that nobody wants to hear!

I didn’t take any photographs this time around – I was employed to sit at the door and help Marie collect entrance fees from the bright young things who flocked into the venue (she did most of the work, actually – I just sat there looking morose and miserable).

As for the music – gone were the mildly irritating errors of the previous concert – gone were the hesitant uncertainties – the group were now sufficiently familiar with the songs to blast them out with confidence and this ebullience transmitted itself like a virus to the gathered throng – this time they danced, jived and gyrated to the tribal turmoil over which Emily soared, a sonic sparrow hawk whose radiant sound defied depression – even I was  cheered by it – without looking at her, I could hear the smile in her glorious voice – the audience response was not so much an example of hedonistic abandon as a respectful tribute to a group who knew how to entertain a small crowd of young people with neither pretention nor pomposity.

Once again it was refreshing to see a healthy plethora of non-Caucasian faces in the audience and none at all on the stage. Cue the folk who occasionally try to infest this site with their creed: indie pop music is longer the domain of wealthy brats who are white, white, white as far as the eye can see. Before the punk police commence another rant about how I shouldn’t draw attention to the racial and ethnic mix of the group because it’s irrelevant, consider this: it IS relevant to all those non-white people in Britain who seek to engage with a culture that previously was reserved only for whitey. We now live in a racially diverse nation personally, I prefer to celebrate it.

The Pharaohs have finally, at long last, recorded a few of their songs but only on a home studio set-up so the recording quality may not be ideal but perhaps the possible absence of professional gloss will work in their favour: bands who perform splendidly vibrant live concerts can often mutate into neutered, pale imitations of their former selves once their power and energy have been emasculated by the sterility of studio production jobs.

Andy Martin 18th April 2011

PHARAOHS FROM THE GRAVE at The Pinder Of Wakefield Water Rats, Kings Cross, 18th May 2011 – Text and photos – Mickey Penguin

Well after several months apart from the band performing their debut gig and the second gig, suddenly Pharaohs From The Grave perform two shows in one week!

The first performance at the well loved Pinder Of Wakefield pub in Grays Inn Road, home decades ago to early Pogue Mahone gigs and also one early venue for the ‘Living Room’, the Creation Records club before any Creation Records existed. The June Brides, Television Personalities and Primal Scream all performed in this traditional pub / venue.

Now it was Pharaohs From The Grave’s turn.

Emily appeared in her (now well loved by the crowd of Pharaohs From The Grave followers) secret home made costume for the night. A superhero bent was on offer tonight complete with cape which by the end of the first couple of songs was discarded somewhere in the crowd.

A particularly large crowd had turned up for this show, not just for Pharaohs From The Grave, but mainly for Rotten Hill Gang, a decent Victorian oik style hip hop outfit featuring Hollie Cook, the daughter of Sex Pistol Paul Cook and an ex Slits member to boot, on vocals along with various Clash City Rockers from the old days when The Clash were on top of their game. One member of Rotten Hill Gang was in Big Audio Dynamite and the great Mick Jones is generally in or around this bunch of lovable urchins.

In front of plenty of music biz agents, freeloaders and punters alike Pharaohs From The Grave performed an almost perfect set, full of energy, solid riffs and excellent stage presence.

The thirty odd Pharaohs From The Grave followers that were in attendance at this gig, and recognisable to me from the previous two shows, showed how much they supported the band as did the seventy or so other gig goers in the hall.

Going on after the Rotten Hill Gang certainly worked in the band’s favour on this night.

I had to skip after Pharaohs From The Grave had departed the stage without seeing the other bands on the bill, to pick up my little Aaron from his grandmothers so an early night for me gig wise.

Witnessing both Rotten Hill Gang and Pharaohs From The Grave was an immense pleasure and I felt privileged to have been a part of the night in this old ramshackle venue in Kings Cross that I had not been to for at least twenty five years!

PHARAOHS FROM THE GRAVE at The Bull And Gate, Kentish Town, 22nd May 2011 – Text and photos – Mickey Penguin

I arrived at the venue very early as I went straight there from White Hart Lane where I witnessed Tottenham Hotspur put Birmingham City to the sword in the guise of a 2-1 win. Happy enough with that and the lovely weather so made my way up to Kentish Town.

Yet another night of memories for me to contend with, The Bull And Gate in Kentish Town, home of the legendary Jon ‘Fat’ Beast’s ‘Timebox’ nights in the mid 1980’s as well as dozens upon dozens of other gigs I attended there around that time.  Just like The Pinder Of Wakefield venue in Kings Cross, time just seems to have stood still for this venue in Kentish Town. Nothing has changed, nothing…not even a new paint job by the look of the inside of the place…

Apart from the lack of punk squatters with dog’s on string begging for beer and change it could be 1985 again.

As normal with these reviews, I seem to focus in on Emily’s chosen garment of the day…This fourth gig she wandered on in a U.S.A. printed swim / gym suit perhaps in celebration of the U.S. president visiting Ireland and England that week. I could not figure however exactly what part of this costume would be ripped off her body and thrown in the crowd as has been the norm early on during the previous three gigs.

As a forty something man I did have my thoughts, my thoughts would have to remain in my head whilst I slap my wrist for thinking those thoughts…

In complete contrast to the gig in Kings Cross where the band performed around nine thirty after the main act Rotten Hill Gang, tonight the band had to suffer the indignities of the early performance on the Sunday night.  Hardly anyone was in the venue at the kick off, but towards the middle of the set some of the recognisable faces from gigs passed arrived. By the end of the set around thirty people were in the hall. The lack of people at this venue at the time the band went on was in no way a reason for Pharaohs From The Grave to give a shoddy performance.

The band dealt with the small but appreciative crowd as well as they did a few days previously. This attitude to perform as well as possible even to five or ten people in the crowd (at the very start of the performance) and that crowd seeing that the collective band members heads have not gone down shows a maturity which is welcomed. The band have been lucky so far in not having to perform to a very nearly empty venue. They did on this Sunday and it should be an experience that all young bands will have to suffer during the lifespan of the band. Another performance from this band to treasure, and from what I understand one of the last gigs for a little while.

Alas my friend from the ‘old days’ Andy Martin was not  in attendance at these two gigs in north London, so that was a shame. I am sure he will be there or thereabouts at some point soon.

PHARAOHS FROM THE GRAVE at Cargo, Shoreditch,  November 25th 2011 – Text and photos – Mickey Penguin

It seems an eternity since I last witnessed Pharaohs From The Grave last May. It is now late November and I am at Cargo in Shoreditch for the debut performance of the band’s new drummer and this night also celebrates the band’s debut studio EP that would be released in three more days time… Just three days, just three days…

A new drummer? This should be good as the last drummer the band had on stage was immensely talented. Would this drummer cut the mustard? Hang on I have been in a coma for the last few months! The band had already changed drummers after the Bull And Gate performance which is reviewed above. I did not know this would be the drummers last performance at the time of writing. He returned up north and is still in touch with the band.

This reporter (and fan) has missed several gigs by this fabulous band throughout the summer months, all for various reasons. Moving house, management changeover at work, toddler needing more attention and so forth. The band had already had a replacement drummer lined up for these summer gigs and he has now left leaving the position open for the new, new, replacement.

I feel like I have missed a whole chapter in this bands history… When the coffee table book is written about them in a couple of years time applauding them as the biggest rock act since Nirvana I would gaze at someone else photographs and description and wonder where was I?

No time to ponder on that question right now.

OK then, I am in Cargo with what seems to be all the great and all the beautiful people out for Friday night jollies in Shoreditch…

I go to the desk to state my name on the guest list.

Bouncer hovering over me menacingly… “Who is this older fellow gatecrashing all the great and all the beautiful people’s night out in this club”? he wonders… “Is he bent? Is he grooming some of the teenagers who are out for the night in Shoreditch? Has he the money or the stamina to stay in the club for more than an hour”? he wonders still.

UJ and Emily were already in the hall having a chat whilst I entered, greetings and small talk was entered into and snippets of news throughout the summer discussed. It was nice to see them both again. The band that were on the stage were a reasonable force, but for me the night just meant Pharaohs From The Grave. I went to the bar. I ordered a cider, it cost me £5 for a can of Bulmers. I made a mental note. No more drinks for me tonight! It was almost time for Pharoahs From The Grave to come on at any rate so this concept did not bother me especially as the band’s set normally only last for thirty minutes. I wondered off to use the toilet and the bouncer hovered around me once more no doubt checking if I was going to spend time in the cubicle doing gear, I choose the urinal. This was going to be an almost tea total night, the one can of cider ruining the straight edge vibe for me…

The band arrived onto the stage, the room was filling out a little bit by this time which was nice to see. The band explode into the first track… The new drummer keeps time and then some.  Oh no a problem! UJ’s bass keeps cutting out of the mix. UJ fumbles with the leads a little. This helps and then it doesn’t. UJ fumbles with the leads a second time, this time it seems to cure the problem. The other band members are performing the track as normal as UJ’s  bass sound is rectified on the stage by the performer himself. Not the best start to a performance, and this shows the importance of getting a sound check rather than a line check. The band had not got to the venue early enough for a sound check. Hopefully the members all took mental notes to do so in the future!

The gig continues and no one seemed to have noticed the lack of bass in some parts of the previous track.  What was noticed but not reported by this scribe until now was that for this show Emily had a costume accessory in the form of a large hand of playing cards attached to her slim wrist. This accessory lasted until the end of the next track as the cards were plucked off and handed to the audience. The band performed well for the remainder of the show, the new drummer was competent and could work the kit as well as the previous drummer that I had witnessed during the first four Pharaohs From The Grave gigs late in 2010 and up to May 2011.

There was time for celebration as the band sung happy birthday to a couple of  friends that Emily had dragged onto the stage. This was followed by Emily dragging two or three further friends up onto the stage so before my eyes the band’s first mini stage invasion was taking place, recorded by the many cameras pointing towards the stage. This proud moment in all young bands history will no doubt be written in great length and detail in the coffee table book which will be in a store near you whenever the band have reached Nivana status (or will settle for Jane’s Addiction or Soundgarden).

Glad I was there to witness it!!! The gig was coming to an end and the enthusiastic audience was supportive all the way through the set. Was there any time for an encore? I can’t remember! I think so… A great gig at any rate.

I gave my regards to UJ and to Emily backstage and explained that I was driving and needed to go further nowadays after my families move to the new improved Penguin Towers out on the furthest reaches of north London in the countryside. I gave them both a hug and wandered off past the bouncer who followed me out and eyeballed me until I turned the corner out of sight no doubt thinking;

“Is he bent”? No is my answer for the record.

“Is he grooming some of the teenagers who are out for the night in Shoreditch”? No is my answer for the record.

“Has he the money or the stamina to stay in the club for more than an hour”? No on both counts is my answer for the record.

For the record I had just witnessed another great performance by one of the best unsigned bands on the London circuit and that Mr Bouncer is good enough for me…

Pharaohs From The Grave’s new studio EP is now available from today 28th November 2011 from this download site HERE and cost much less than a can of Bulmers cider does at Cargo Shoreditch…

Support this release, go and see the band performing live, read the coffee table book on the band when released in 2014 or thereabouts…Fingers crossed!

PHARAOHS FROM THE GRAVE at Dublin Castle, Camden, July 5th 2012 – Text and photos – Mickey Penguin

On a relatively warm and dry Thursday evening, rare enough in the context of the summer London has seen recently, I took the stroll from Camden tube station onto the Parkway and up the hill towards the Dublin Castle public house and music venue.

A nice distraction for me when going to Pharaohs From The Grave performances is the fact that they seem to perform in venues that I have not stepped in for decades! Of the six times I have now witnessed the band, I have been to the old ‘Pinder Of Wakefield’ pub in Kings Cross, now re-branded as ‘Water Rats’ which is a name worse than many others I could have thought of! The Kentish town ‘Bull And Gate’, and now my pilgrimage tonight to Camden and to another old venue that I would have been seen stomping around in some decades ago ‘The Dublin Castle’…

Ironically all the other times I have witnessed Pharaohs From The Grave, the band have performed at three separate venues in Shoreditch, all of which were previously unknown to me!

I enter the familiar door way of the Dublin Castle, walk through and notice the same Madness paraphernalia on the walls that would have been up there last time I would have visited.

I order a pint of cider. At the same time I order the drink ‘Police And Thieves’ by The Clash starts up on the pub stereo, this is going to be a good night.

Decisions, decisions. Should I go out front and watch random folk wondering up and down Parkway in the sun or stay in to listen to the Clash?

The Clash won that particular bout, as did The Ruts and Stiff Little Fingers afterwards.

When I did venture towards the sunny side out on the street, I was pleased to see UJ had turned up with a couple of people.

We spoke for a few minutes and I was introduced to another new drummer for Pharaohs From The Grave…

The first four times I witnessed Pharaohs From The Grave was with the original skin basher Par Mahn performing some technically amazing and sonically satisfying beats. From those first early gigs the band has got through another two drummers and they are now onto the third! Spinal tap vibes notwithstanding the new drummer DeMc was an approachable and pleasant chap who politely listened to my ramblings whilst UJ was trying to find out where Emily and Katherine were holed up. The local Wetherspoons it turned out!

I wondered into the venue hall, trying to avoid the drunken gaze of a pretty psychotic looking eastern European skinhead wobbling around the pub on my way through. Plenty of memories came forth as I stood in the dark hall, dodgy looking wobbly skinheads being just one of them.

I spent a little time watching the other performers and bands on the bill that night, in between going to the bar and toilet.

Nothing really caught my ears or eyes throughout the night and the weird paradox of placing a clutch of completely different acts on the same bill is that once one band has departed the stage, one crowd leaves and a completely separate crowd enjoys the next band on. This meant that all the acts only performed to around thirty appreciative people at a time before the next batch turned up to duly applaud the band that they had paid to see, and then leave the venue in time for the next band setting up. Most of the people. Not all, but most.

A mighty shame really, but that’s the way some gigs go. Value for money and diversity in performers and music although a very pure and gracious idea does not necessary mean a decent vibe is installed throughout the whole of the night as the separate crowds move away.

Pharaohs From The Grave were getting themselves ready to go on as headliners.

The band clambered up onto the small corner stage and plugged in.

Emily had some old PlayStation controls surgically implanted onto her head… Coloured yellow to match the yellow and black spandex costume she was wearing for the night. These were not really surgically implanted. I made that bit up.

The band started off the set to around thirty people. This was a shame, but the band duly performed to the crowd with good grace and humour. The first two tracks were blighted a little from the odd bum note and mistimed drum beat, but nothing too serious. Soon enough all was settled and the band performed well for the rest of the half hour set.

DeMc the new drummer although being fresh in the band done his bit for the presentation of the band’s performance. Jumping up several times every other song to thump the drums forcefully in a way a seated drummer would not be able to compete with. It was great to watch and although Keith Moon used to do the same thing from time to time (normally for cymbal work it must be stated) the action still stands up as an original idea in the context of a Thursday night at the Dublin Castle.

The band got better as the night went on, performing a cover of Elvis Costello’s ‘Pump It Up’ for the first time to these ears. A great choice considering Elvis Costello had many links to the Dublin Castle as a performer there and also to 2Tone music having produced The Specials debut LP and having a single released, and then pulled on 2Tone (I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down). Madness remember were also on 2Tone and the Dublin Castle was their pub!

Katherine’s guitar grated away through some major distortion effects. This is not a bad thing. Just slightly different to the other times I have witnessed the band live. This outing the band sounded proper ‘garage’ (as in Nuggets compilation LP’s garage). Again, certainly not a bad thing.

UJ also seemed to be using some distortion effects so quite a wonderful noise indeed was forthcoming.

The appreciative crowd gave a decent showing of hands to the band throughout the night, and the band managed to get in an encore for them before unplugging and coming off the small stage.

The band members talked to the audience for a little while and then anybody left in the venue hall drifted towards the bar.

I declined to get another drink and after saying my goodbyes and wishing the members of the band a safe journey home, I went out to the Parkway and wondered back to the tube to get myself home after a nice evening in good old Camden Town.

PHARAOHS FROM THE GRAVE at the 100 Club, London W1, August 17th 2012 – Text and photos – Mickey Penguin

A short review tonight as I got to the 100 Club only several minutes before Pharaohs From The Grave were billed to go on stage, and left the club a few minutes after the band finished their set!

I alluded in one (or possibly more) of the reviews above that one of the great things about seeing Pharaohs From The Grave is revisiting old venues that I have not entered for decades… This night I entered the famous 100 Club for the very first time since witnessing Into A Circle (ex Getting The Fear) performing at the club way back in 1986. The 100 Club was a venue I visited many times in the early 1980’s and it was nice to walk down those steps again for this special night for Pharaohs From The Grave.

I got to the venue around 8.20 pm. I walked down to the girl on the door and gave her my name, my name was all present and correct so I managed to pay a reduced amount. After entering I saw Emily who was by a cake stand near the bar. I said hello and wished her a great performance and a happy belated birthday. Emily was celebrating her birthday at this gig, hence the cakes and other sugary delights on show. Her actual birthday was over a week before but by the look of it a lot of her friends had shown up for this gig in celebration.

A band was performing on the stage as I got in so I went to the bar for my one cider of the night. Emily wandered off to get stage ready back stage.

I noticed UJ lurking around the downstairs door of the club and gave him my regards. I then went stage left to witness the end of the band on the stage’s set. A very polished band for sure, not my cup of tea but a completely shit hot bassist that stood out amongst the other performers. A wonderful vision of man and instrument performing with such fluidity. The band were not a bad band just not my thing. A little bit Senseless Things-ish but less shambolic which was half the fun with the Senseless Things!

I did not have to wait long before Pharaohs From The Grave clambered up on stage. UJ crouching  tuning his bass, DeMc I was relieved to see was still the band’s drummer! If you have read the previous reviews you will know that the band have gone through several drummers since I first witnessed the debut performance in September 2010.

UJ stood up and decided to perform in some kind of Chinese mask from the start (to finish…) Kat was stage right getting a riff going. The band went into the first track but where was Emily?

Emily appeared in her costume for the nights performance slipping past Kat a minute after the first track had started to rapturous applause from the very healthy crowd that had turned out for the night. Dressed like a circus ring master holding onto a tube of what looked like wrapping paper, top hat on head Emily eased the lyrics out to the backing track that had already been simmering for over a minute now. A marvelous entrance captured on many expensive looking cameras (and even more smart phone cameras) pointed toward the stage.

The performance in front of this larger crowd and on the stage of this legendary London venue was immensely enjoyable. There were times throughout the performance when the odd drum to bass rhythm was slightly out of time. Not drastically so though.

Emily through the heat of the lights and of the club decided to ditch the top hat and ringmasters coat to a fair amount of interest from the male folk in the audience I would expect. One twenty something lady came up to me while I was taking some photographs for this review to state that the fellow she was with “also wanted to get a nearer and better look at the band” wink wink!

DeMc the drummer went onto ditch his Napoleonic era replica jacket for no doubt the same reasons Emily had discarded hers and performed the rest of the gig topless, doing that standing up drumming thing he seems to do so well. Thumping those drum skins hard enough to have me worried for the safety of the little stretched things throughout the gig!

The band received an extremely pleasant reception throughout the whole night and hopefully the members of the audience in attendance (aside from Emily’s friends who had come out to support her on this ‘birthday bash’) will be seen at the next gigs by the band whenever or where ever that may be.

Pharaohs From The Grave did not perform quite as well as I have seen them before as there were several minor musical errors, but this performance was special. The clothing, the audience. Emily reminding the audience late on in the performance of the cakes that could be scoffed afterwards which was a nice part of the night. The venue is special and seeping with alternative music history, a history which the band do know about which is wonderful for such a young band. A little after 9.15 pm as the band were leaving the stage I said my goodbyes nice and early. I decided against running off with a cake as I am unfit enough all ready. I walked up to street level and onto Oxford Street managing to get the trains back home to Penguin Towers before 10.30 pm.

Happy Birthday to you Emily, take a bow. A great night. I hope the rest of your birthday celebration night was enjoyable.

Hopefully one day Pharaohs From The Grave are going to be massive. They really should be. One of the most striking and original unsigned bands in London for near on two years now… Someone ought to give the band a helping hand. Now who should I ring up…?

  1. Chris
    September 24, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Well, they certainly ain’t Unit!!

    Particularly liked ‘Higher’. made me think of a more commercial sounding Bardot Pond for some reason. Stunning pedal work by the drummer too.

    Must agree with Andy about the name (a bit too much like Rocket From The Crypt as well?) , but disagree with him that anyone would give a flying fuck about the band’s ‘racial composition’ , or that of any band really. Unless, I concede, they were a brass band comprised of Congolese pygmy dwarfs playing death metal or something equally unlikely.

    Otherwise, a bit archaic and retrogressive in 2010, no?

  2. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    October 13, 2010 at 12:01 am

    You should come along when the band next perform Chris. I will keep you informed on any dates if and when they come up. Ta.

  3. Mark
    June 30, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks Jingo De Lunch (perpetuum) when they listen to this?

  4. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    July 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

    You were Mark 😉 but after listening to them it does have a similar vibe; Wonder if the band knew this band? The band are performing at The Dublin Castle in Camden on Thursday night 5th July so I will try to remember to bring this up.

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