When the insatiable music junkies of London’s Indie Music Meet-Up have a gig in mind, it’s always worth a look and listen. So when it turned out to be (to me) a local gig, nay a local album launch gig of a band with glowing endorsements by the fabulous (BBC Radio) 6 Music – LOCKS – it was a done deal…

First up on the bill is the deep funky country rock blues of Hot Teeth, raw denim vets whose growling sound and cut-off denim barefoot stylings sends you – especially in the current weather – spiritually back to sweltering bourbon-swilling deadbeat eves of some misbegotten backwater past you (probably?) never had.

Paired guitars and drums are present in classic formation, with the signature addition of lyrical xylophoning. ‘I’m your Cherry Aid’ is comparatively light and upbeat, while the next track builds into a stomping anthemic monster and if it had a name in the first place, well it got damn well drowned out by the roaring, trippy wall-of-sound denouement.

Your life’s shit. Now pour yourself another and go get sozzled on Hot teeth.


It turns out that Lonely Tourist is not some – to us ineffable as most initially are – band name. Rather it’s something of a description: a one man shirt-and-tied acoustic guitar act visiting, perhaps amongst other premier London sights, Manor House’s The Finsbury on his tourist itinerary from Glasgow via Bristol. The complete opposite to act one in more ways than you can shake a drumstick at.

LT – Paul to his friends and audience – is unassuming but quietly confident: Locks’ gigging pal knows exactly what he’s doing and in no time has the audience in the palm of his hand which, as happens, is a blur on the strings, getting going on a set of ‘common touch’ songs about, as he later explains, jobs he’s never had.

Some are wryly poignant, the one about spending a few weeks as a stunt double pleasantly humorous. Either way the audience are having a ball. I’ve never heard conversations at a gig, good-spirited either way, quietened so quickly by the start of a tune, if at all. His audience just wanted more.

And on to Locks! Well they immediately capitalise the word ‘Act’ with a spooky intro track before they’ve played a note, something with a cartoonish voice sample I’ve never heard before (but must find out what it is). Having been announced by Mike (Double Bass) they’re straight into bold strumming and bringing us their trademark ‘murder songs and death shanties’, delivered lyrically in shuddering tones by L Geary-Griffin with fiddled harmonies by Marian and solid percussion from Drummer Andy.

It’s a packed venue and no surprise. For one it’s the album launch of Skeletal Blues. And then, while doubtless they had a following before, they’re freshly(ish) back from the Great Escape festival, also being championed by Radio 6 Music and Steve Lamacq who, we gather, is present somewhere in the attentive audience enjoying the night himself. Locks are a band who are going somewhere.

They’ve got a sound all to themselves, but it’s something of a fusion of the diverse genres they’d individually played in – Blues, Rockabilly, Trad Irish, Celtic Punk, Indie. It’s all there somewhere if you listen for it but the Trad Irish / Celtic Punk is foremost in the delightful melancholy of Bodies which also partakes of a signature playfulness with time, slower verses that rally to a high tempo foot-tapping – and even stomping – chorus.
If it’s Marian’s haunting bowing that underpins Bodies, it’s Mike’s bassy pluckings that carry the deliciously macabre Skin which is worth YouTubing for the vid as well as the song, though it must be said it’s the greater pleasure to hear live. Particular thumbs up also for The Chase, a particularly sweet track but dark in its own way, and the rest of the album is a sultry swing between their folk and blues roots and well deserving of a proper listen.


All in all an absolutely cracking evening with a flawless, no-filler line-up: every act one to check out, but many congrats to Locks on the album and what they’ve achieved so far. We’ll be watching – and listening – closely to what comes next…



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