Penny for the Workhouse + The Gyro + The Fix @ The Finsbury, 22/03/2015

PftW 1 (scaled) We were very much there to see Penny for the Workhouse who Mark K had lauded having seen them as support; though, while I’d thoroughly enjoyed the tunes I’d heard online, they were a new one live for me.
But first there were others to hear; it was a night that, to me, seemed very much about ‘credit where credit’s due’…
Article by Tim Bayley
Photos by Mark K & Jen Hay

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The vocals of Gyro, present as a duet, took us on little journeys of relatable poverty in the big city and other poignant vignettes. As an acoustic act they evoked, by style and subject… Lily Allen? But, with Derek’s rap-sung narratives accompanied by the astonishing vocals of Siobhan, wistful and sultry, bringing folk to the funk, we were taken somewhere beyond easy comparisons and with more than one shiver down the spine. And Derek’s mastery of the guitar and percussion thereof… well you just have to see and hear it for yourself. The Gyro 2 (scaled)
As far as credit goes Siobhan is vocal about Derek being the creative lead, though the talent in performance is a far more even split.

Mind we didn’t realise till after that The Gyro were actually cut in half tonight – we thought they were meant to be an acoustic duet. Which does make more sense of their insistence that tune ‘x’ sounds better on the CD…

The Gyro - Jen Hay (scaled) But don’t apologise guys! Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeur of what is known as… gig life. Besides, everyone thought you were fantastic as you were, and doubtless intrigued to hear you as a full band. And If their tunes indeed work in both acoustic and full band sets it says a lot about their quality; definitely a band to check out.

(www.thegyromusic.com / @gyromusic / www.facebook.com/thegyro)

 

Now The Fix…

Fix 1 (scaled) To my mind we started off in Smashing Pumpkins territory but then took a bit of a tour of other favourite bands of prime indie-rock times. Not that they’re unoriginal – far from it, and a very far cry from the ubiquitous kind of derivative support act indie-pap you might hear elsewhere and when. Musically excellent, clear and defined proper Indie Rock. Fix 2 (scaled)

 

Mind brownie points fell from the board when the front-man, overhearing appreciation from the audience, part repeated ‘I know: we are really good aren’t we?’ I’d had hoped we’d left this kind of Oasis riffing back in 60’s 90’s. But they recouped something with the admittance that they had discussed maybe not talking between tracks (well maybe chaps); also we were their first audience in a year and a half.

Fix 3 (scaled) So, okay, settling back into playing to a live audience again, so we’ll let that go and give you a big thumbs up for a cracking performance of solid tunes, and with flawless delivery. Keep going lads!

(www.facebook.com/wearethefix / @we_are_the_fix / www.soundcloud.com/wearethefix)

 

But then Penny for the Workhouse…

Well you hear the hype of a band, check out some tunes ahead and maybe manage your expectations because, well, it’s best to have enjoyed a good gig rather than bigged up your expectations and… well you know.

I was absolutely blown away.

PftW 1 (scaled) These guys are Musicians with a capital M who’ve got a serious act together. Four guitars, drums and vocals bring us a unique and vibrant sound, rightly described as Indie ‘influenced by the style and swagger of old London Town’.
But that’s only the beginning of what they’re about. Oh the cheeky cockney thing is never far from the surface but, for example, Jack the Gunslinger, takes a little bit of country into the mix and incorporates a snippet of the Rawhide theme to boot, not to mention native American ‘chanting’ (I really want to make a video of this number, if only so I can make the band perform in feathered headdresses!).

And it’s not long before the Hokey Cokey (!) puts its left leg in for a cameo and, whether or not it works – which it most assuredly DOES – it reminds me of the playfulness you used to get with Indie music before it mainstreamed and new bands took themselves too seriously. Damn straight.

But, briefly going back to the start of the night, there’s a band yet to mention, and partly because the line up switched and there seems no way now to definitively know who they were. They were… pleasant enough: basic talent, appealing tunes and a passionate performance by the lead, so not a bad beginning. Band 1 - Jen Hay (scaled)
But (and we had to step out for a while so this comes second-hand) the frontman was happy to announce that this tune and the next was his new song, only remembering he had two others in the band when later he switched to ‘our’. So work to be done then, whoever they were, and not necessarily on the music.

 

But Penny for the Workhouse are the complete antithesis.

PftW - Jen Hay (scaled) Throughout the set they harmonise wonderfully, to go their separate ways before coming together again, sharing a real chemistry in delivering seamless and polished performances of every track and the banter between. They’re an absolutely solid band, quirky, expressive, quietly pro and unfailingly entertaining – and, credit where credit’s due, deserving of wide exposure. PtfW 4 (scaled)

 

So get on Facebook, Twitter (@The_Workhouse) and / or their site now and hit them up and spread the word! Because when everyone’s saying ‘No, I introduced you to Penny for the Workhouse’ you want to know you were indeed there first!

Except I was.

Alright it was Mark K.

And maybe some others before him.

Whatever. Brilliant stuff: check them out yourselves now.

 

Tim B

 

PftW 6 (scaled) PftW 2 (scaled) PftW 5 (scaled)