The former bass player of The Raincoats launched her solo career earlier this year with the release of her debut album, ‘I Play My Bass Loud’. Together with her backing band The Unreasonables formed of Jenny Green (guitar, bass, backing vocals) and Marie Merlei (bass, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals), she performed a set consisting of the new material, beginning with ‘I Am Rage’, featuring knife-on-glass fretboard scratchings, descending into a noisy, bludgeoning symphony and onto the oriental dub of ‘Digging Down’ and spoken word politics of her 2021 single, ‘Feminist Song’.

Birch continued with the whirling keyboard and reggae electronics of the ‘Pussy Riot’ chant, with deep toned guitar added to its live rendition. Whilst not performed as well live, the album includes one of its best tracks in the way of the jungle beats of ‘I Will Never Wear Stilettos’ – equally a single in its own right – with Birch swapping guitar for bass. She then played the album’s first single, ‘Wish I Was You’, with its galloping metallic guitar riffs, fluting their way through the noisy interlude.

She moved onto the ghostly whistles of ‘Dance Like A Demon’, the set culminating in title track and second single, ‘I Play My Bass Loud’, with all three now on bass emitting pulsating reggae riffs. The band returned for a pretty good cover of The Kinks’ ‘Lola’, which The Raincoats recorded for their eponymous debut album in 1979.

22/03/23: Gina Birch @ Oslo, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.