Gig Review: JOHN + SLONK, DIM VANILLA & FRANK ‘N’ THE BEANS @ Brixton Windmill 09/02/19


Mark K headed to The Windmill Brixton to catch John, actually two Johns who were previously ‘John Times Two’ but had three others to check out also (none called John we gather). Here’s how it went… 


Tonight’s headliners John were until recently known as John Times Two, as both members of the band are called John. However, before we look at them, we must consider their three (count ‘em!) support bands.

First up we have Slonk who are a three-piece stoner rock band with killer harmonies. They’re the type of band who make what they’re doing look far easier than it is: ‘we’re not really bothering – honest!’

Following them are Dim Vanilla, who purvey late 1980s indie reminiscent of The Primitives. For the first couple of songs the vocalist is too low in the mix but that’s soon rectified. By turns they’re quite dreamy and then fairly punchy and demonstrate an effortless groove that many bands would kill for.

The final support band, Frank ‘n’ The Beans, from Northern Ireland, are utterly astonishing. They are two relative virtuosi playing ace songs with highly accomplished instrumental sections. There’s an element of Pavement about them; by the end of the set the drummer looks in pain – but, in short, they rock! 


John also rock: very hard indeed. They are fast, punky and metallic. John the drummer also handles the lead vocals, which means he is doing five things at once – something that is damn near impossible for normal mortals. Guitarist John strangles sufficient noise out of his instrument that you don’t even begin to miss a bassist. The lyrics are somewhat deeper than perhaps one might expect, which makes for a far more interesting listening experience.

These are songs written for the early part of the 21st Century. Songs for our age. God Speed In The National Limit is already a minor classic. I’m sure there will be many more to come.


Mark Kelly