The former Sex Pistol played The Lower Third for the second time since its launch; a new venue on Denmark Street only a stone’s throw away from the Sex Pistols’ former haunt on the same road. Glen Matlock played rhythm guitar with his band The Heavy Friends’ lineup of Neal X (guitar), Jim Lowe (bass), James Hallawell (keyboard) and Chris Musto (drums).

The band opened on regular Philistines’ track ‘Rattle Your Cage’, from their 2000 studio album ‘Open Mind’, moving onto Matlock’s last solo album, ‘Good To Go’, playing ‘Keep On Pushing’ – with Neal X’s streaming pedal effects – and Matlock’s Screaming Jay Hawkins tribute, ‘Hook In You’.

With his forthcoming studio album release expected later this year, Matlock performed some new songs including one already released as an acoustic lockdown track, ‘Consequences Coming’, featuring Hallawell’s keyboard solo. The band then did a new cover they had just learned earlier that day, Buddy Guy’s 1993 single, ‘I Go Crazy’; a slow blues revival song.

They played another new cover, KD Lang’s ‘Constant Craving’, with its drawn out chorus perfectly befitting Matlock’s voice, staccato drums and medley of guitar and keyboard with backing vocals. The band finished the set on two new album songs, the rhythm and blues track ‘Can’t Be Myself’ and new single, ‘Head On A Stick’, with Matlock’s descending chords, returning for an encore of Bob Dylan’s ‘Everybody Must Get Stoned’.

16/12/22: Glen Matlock @ The Lower Third, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.



The former Cabaret Voltaire frontman began his support set on his past band material with a cover of ‘The Set Up’ from 1978 EP ‘Extended Play’, creating industrial squeaks, taps and clicks amongst a suspenseful synth drone throughout, with recent co-producer Benge on electronic drums.

Stephen Mallinder then played from his debut solo album, 1982’s ‘Pow-Wow’, with ‘Cool Down’: hard hitting drums and brassy synth that also echoed Benge’s recent work with headliner, Blancmange. He came up to date with his last studio album, ‘tick tick tick’, performing reverberating industrial track ‘Shock To The Body’, with computerised overlay and Cabs-style and robotised vocals.

He also played another track from the new album, the disco electronics of ‘Control’, finishing his 40-minute set on his second solo album, ‘Um Dada’, with ‘Working (You Are)’ – similar to Cabs’ ‘Kino’ – and ‘Colour’, featuring his unique, repeating gruff vocals and laser effects.

10/12/22: Stephen Mallinder + Benge @ Islington Assembly Hall, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Ruts DC played the last date of their ‘Faces In The Sky’ UK tour to promote the release of their brand new protest studio album, ‘Counterculture?’, performing several of the new songs live amongst their classic material. The band are formed of founding members Segs Jennings (vocals, bass) and Dave Ruffy (drums) with long-time guitarist Leigh Heggarty.

Entering to a cover of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ by Capitol 1212 ft. Earl 16, they opened on ‘Faces In The Sky’ from the new album; a dytopian, political rock-rap with twinkling guitar contrasted by an underbelly of darker chords, this echoed in the present from the tracks that followed off debut album ‘The Crack’ – ‘S.U.S’ and ‘It Was Cold’.

The band played more new material in the way of ‘X-Ray Joy’; a hybridised post-punk x punk song with Chameleons-like guitar twinges and abrasive riffs. After punk prayer, ‘West One (Shine On Me)’, they returned again to the new release with their title track single ‘Counterculture’ as well as ‘Born Innocent’; the latter’s loud bass dub and Heggarty’s circular, dizzying guitar and pedal effects made this the best live performance of the night and it seems criminal that it was not released as a single.

Their 1979 single and reggae dance track ‘Jah War’ could have benefitted from even more dub; the band then revisited their last studio album with title single, ‘Music Must Destroy’, introduced by Segs’ vocal sample of Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name’. They played their debut single ‘In A Rut’, with Heggarty’s zipping guitar solo, also doing a touching interlude of a tribute mashup to recently passed musicians Nik Turner (Hawkwind) with ‘Silver Machine’, Keith Levene (PiL) with ‘Public Image’ and Wilko Johnson (Dr. Feelgood) with ‘Roxette’, before finishing the rest of the song. They ended the main set on their hit single ‘Babylon’s Burning’.

Ruts DC returned for an encore featuring another new song, ‘Pretty Lunatics’ and 1980 single, ‘Staring At The Rude Boys’. The set excelled from fantastic sound (with the exception of needing even more dub!), energy and the perfect complementary mix of old and new material – onwards and upwards for this lot.

03/12/22: Ruts DC @ O2 Academy Islington, London.

Photos © Division PR.

© Ayisha Khan.


Touring his biographical solo show ‘An Accent Waiting To Happen’, Richard Strange hosted an intimate evening of stories, live music and comedy illustrating, with slides and video clips, his long career, amongst many things, as a musician, nightclub owner and actor.

He related his early days at school where a teacher first introduced him to William Burroughs’ ‘The Naked Lunch’ and his early musical influences such as Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground, The Kinks and Love, then performing an acoustic cover of ‘Alone Again Or’ which he said inspired him to start a band.

Together with Urban Blitz (guitar, violin), Stoner (bass) and Peter DiLemma (drums), he formed proto-punk band Doctors of Madness. After promoting their own gigs, they grew in popularity and later made television appearances, until one day a support band, that happened to be The Sex Pistols, put them out of business.

With backing vocals sung by singer Lilybud, Strange performed some Doctors Of Madness songs on electric and acoustic guitar taken from the band’s 1976 debut studio album, ‘Late Night Movies, All Night Brainstorms’, with ‘Billy Watch Out’ and ‘Mitzi’s Cure’; the latter inspired by Burroughs’ cut-up technique.

He moved onto the next stage of his life founding the arts club Cabaret Futura, which hosted Richard Jobson’s poetry performances and put on Soft Cell’s first show. After then signing to Virgin records as a solo artist, he toured his second album, ‘The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange’, playing alongside the likes of Grace Jones and appearing on The Old Grey Whistle Test. With Lilybud, he then sang ‘By The Wall’, written after touring in Berlin at the time of the wall falling.

Strange also discussed film, theatre and musicals and his various acting roles including a part in the blockbuster ‘Batman’, a Tom Waits musical and first meeting a young actor named James Nesbitt. After performing some more solo material, he returned to Doctors of Madness with their 2019 protest album, ‘Dark Times’, playing both electric and acoustic guitar alongside Lilybud for ‘This Is How To Die’ and ‘This Kind of Failure’, and ending the evening on single ‘Make It Stop!’.

01/12/22: Richard Strange @ West Hampstead Arts Club, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


After playing a succession of European dates, pastoral post-punks And Also The Trees arrived in the UK to promote their latest studio album, ‘The Bone Carver’, their 15th release. Founding brothers Simon Huw Jones (vocals) and Justin Jones (guitar) are the remaining original members of the band.

They began on the new record with opening track ‘In A Bed In Yugoslavia’; its introduction and ending a gentle medley of clarinet and guitar. The band then played off their last studio album, ‘Born Into The Waves’, performing ‘Your Guess’; mandolin guitar, Spanish drums and cymbal crashes.

AATT moved onto their older material with their 1983 debut single, ‘Shantell’ – waltzing strokes and wailing clarinet – and second studio album, ‘Virus Meadow’; its echoing, trance guitar riffs invaded by stormy drums and shrieking clarinet. They interjected these with a new song, ‘The Book Burners’; its Hebrew feel taking you down winding corridors played out on the clarinet against stubby drums.

The band also played from their eponymous debut album, performing the more fast paced early punk track, ‘Wallpaper Dying’, featuring its dark trembling riff. They returned to their latest material with ‘The Seven Skies’ and stretches of Jones’ warm metallic trills.

For the encore they performed again from their new album with title track ‘The Bone Carver’ and their debut album ‘So This Is Silence’; a stripped down, noise track full of wirey, chord scales and feedback, Huw Jones shouting out the vocals.

19/11/22: And Also The Trees @ The Lexington, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



The singer-songwriter played a solo acoustic six-night residency at the west London venue performing from across the anthology of his work, following last year’s dates at the same venue.

Going straight into his set, Lowe’s first song was a cover of his previous band, Rockpile – ‘Heart’. He then performed the rockabilly ‘Long Limbed Girl’ from 2007 studio album, ‘At My Age’, featuring non-lexical and harmonic vocals, and ‘I Live On The Battlefield’; its swinging guitar driving the rhythm.

Revisiting ‘At My Age’, he slowed things down for ‘Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day’. As well as his own material, he performed many covers, beginning with Bee Gees’ single ‘Heartbreaker’; a song he recorded in 2018 as a fan of the band and made his own. He also played the silently creeping guitar of Burt Bacharach’s ‘Blue On Blue’.

Lowe then shared a song he wrote for another artist he admires, American rhythm and blues singer, Mavis Staples, with ‘Far Celestial Shore’. He included a hit from his second album ‘Labour Of Lust’, 1979 single ‘Cruel To Be Kind’ and finished his main set on John Fogerty-style roots rock song ‘I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock ‘n’ Roll)’ from 1984 album, ‘Nick Lowe & His Cowboy Outfit’.

Continuing from the same album, for the encore he was joined on guitar by swamp blues musician and support act C.C. Adcock to perform ‘Half A Boy and Half A Man’, ending on another Rockpile track, ‘When I Write The Book’.

25/11/22: Nick Lowe @ Nell’s, London.

Photo © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


Following the release of their last studio album ‘SKIN’ earlier this year, punk rap group Ho99o9 toured the UK performing the new tracks. The core duo are made up of founders TheOGM and Eaddy with the addition of former Black Flag drummer Brandon Pertzborn.

Beginning with their new album, they played their latest single ‘BATTERY NOT INCLUDED’ with its hardcore drum beats;  Eaddy singing through a corded telephone while TheOGM keyed electronics in his skeletal slenderman outfit. They then performed hip hop track ‘THE WORLD, THE FLESH, THE DEVIL’, with TheOGM rapping, and the drone tracks of ‘Punk Police (unknown virus 5.)’ and Forest Fires (unknown virus 3.)’ from their 2018 EP ‘Cyber Cop’.

Ho99o9 returned to their new album with thrash title track ‘SKINHEAD’ and slow hip hop track ‘SLO BREAD (feat. Bun B)’. They did a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ song ‘March Of The Pigs’ and comically contrasted this with a sample of ‘Mr Sandman’. The group danced throughout the set, illustrating their comments that they are not a band but a (dance) revolution.

‘Mega City Nine (unknown virus 4.)’ contained the trudge of heavy rap, again juxtaposing it afterwards with a sample of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’. The industrial Test Dept-like beats of the group’s multi-genre came through in single ‘Dope Dealerz’. The ended their show on an encore of ‘Street Power’ from their 2017 debut album, ‘United States of Horror’; a traditional crossover hardcore punk track.

07/11/22: Ho99o9 @ Scala, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Commemorating 50 years of German Krautrock band Neu!, founding member and solo experimental artist Michael Rother hosted an evening of live renditions with special guests DJ Stephen Morris and Paul Weller performing alongside his band, formed of Franz Bargmann (guitar) and 1975 Neu! member Hans Lampe (drums).

Rother started the show on the soaring guitar streams of B-side ‘Neuschnee’ from Neu’s 1972 debut single and the glockenspiel tones of 1975 single ‘Isi’. The band then played the choppy ‘Groove 138’, with warbling synth and meteor showers of electronics, which Rother mentioned was taken from a Harmonia track.

‘Weissenee’ from the first album took over with its long strides of mesmerising, liquid psychedelic sitar before bubbling away beneath the watery depths. Rother included another Harmonia cover, ‘Deluxe (Immer Weider)’; purely instrumental with two overlapping layers of guitar and skyrocketing electronics. Rother further played an early solo track, ‘Zyklodrom’, from his 1977 debut album, ‘Flammende Herzen’.

He continued the show on Neu’s eponymous debut album, performing opening track ‘Hallogallo’ (remixed this year by Stephen Morris) as well as ‘Negativland’, the latter with Rother’s partner Vittoria Macabruni singing vocals for the proto-punk masterpiece. The show ended on an encore of ‘E-Musik’ from Neu’s third studio album, ‘Neu! 75’, for which Rother invited New Order’s Stephen Morris and The Jam’s Paul Weller onstage; Morris on electronic drum equipment and Weller playing rockabilly guitar strokes.

03/11/22: Michael Rother @ Clapham Grand, London.

Photos © Jose Ramon Caamano/Baba Yaga’s Hut.

© Ayisha Khan.


Test Dept finally played their long awaited London date following a family bereavement earlier in the year that caused them to reschedule. Performing mostly from their last studio album, ‘Disturbance’, they entered to cavernous, industrial quarry noises and gothic wailings punished by iron lashings and deranged brass, going into the military drum rolls and aggressive march of ‘Information Scare’, which saw both founding group members Gray Cunnington and Paul Jamrozy beating out sheet metal.

Jamrozy then took over on vocals for ‘Debris’ while Cunnington abraded a spring at the start of the track to create a haunted, desolate wasteland, before the glimmering chimes of hope came through for the rest of the song. They turned the spokes of the wheel to introduce ‘Gatekeeper’ – an ominous warning about fascism. Jamrozy played big bass drum on ‘Two Flames Burn’, the group finishing their main set on ‘Landlord’ with its scuttling beats.

After returning for an encore, Jamrozy dedicated one of the last songs of the set, ‘Eternal’, to his son Kyle, who tragically passed away earlier in the year, which had caused them to reschedule their show. He played horn and trumpet, emotively shouted out powerful, angry vocals. Test Dept also remembered other passed individuals including their album producer Ken Thomas for a final encore of ‘Speak Truth To Power’.

29/10/22: Test Dept @ The Albany, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Performing their long awaited, twice rescheduled tour with their original 1976 lineup, The Damned did one-off UK performances which saw them play their entire debut album, ‘Damned Damned Damned’, in full across two sellout dates in London.

Entering to the Doctor Who theme tune, the band – founding members Dave Vanian (vocals), Captain Sensible (bass), Brian James (guitar) and Rat Scabies (drums) – began their show on ‘I Feel Alright’, a Stooges cover of ‘1970’ from their debut album.

They moved into the rest of the album tracks, mostly written by James and featuring his chorded riffs such as in ‘Born To Kill’, but also the perturbed guitar of ‘Feel The Pain’, which they took the time to flesh out. James leant against an amp for most of the show, only occasionally standing up to perform due to his ill health.

The band raced through the remainder of the set, with favourites such as ‘Fan Club’ through to their second single ‘Neat Neat Neat’; songs from second studio album, ‘Music For Pleasure’, including ‘Stretcher Case Baby’ and ‘Problem Child’, were interwoven in, without much between song talk which replicated their early shows.

However, although giving a rare insight into this early phase, the performance was lacklustre and basic, without band chemistry and poor sound (Scabies was almost invisible) despite the set being assumedly well rehearsed. The cheesy banter between Vanian and Sensible was also missing the note and without the firey, punk energy that has become synonymous with their brand it became monotonous.

Although things improved with ‘See Her Tonite’ and ‘Alone’, the latter featuring choking bass and superb high pitched guitar, they poorly ended their main set on ‘So Messed Up’. The Damned returned for an encore of their 1976 debut single, ‘New Rose’, and two rock ‘n’ roll covers to end a disappointing show that proves that nostalgia trips after punk as a genre has been exhausted are not all they crack up to be.

28/10/22: The Damned @ Eventim Apollo, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Stepping in last minute for fellow Leeds contemporaries Scritti Politti following their singer’s sudden illness, Mekons 77 extended their support set to headline a show that promoted the launch of Gavin Butt’s book ‘No Machos or Pop Stars’, based on the late 1970s Leeds experiment art scene. The band is formed of its original lineup of Jon Langford (drums, vocals), Mark “Chalkie” White (vocals), Andy Corrigan (vocals), Tom Greenhalgh (guitar) and Kevin Lycett (guitar), with Ros Allen absent on bass due to other commitments.

Mekons 77 played a mixture of old and newer material, with many of these songs focussing on living in Leeds in the ’70s-’80s. They performed from their latest release ‘It Is Twice Blessed’, which saw Chalkie, Corrigan and Langford on alternating vocals. Chalkie mentioned the relevance of their material 40 years on before playing punk anthem and single ‘Fight The Cuts’, with Langford reminiscing about the 3-day week.

They moved from cuts to powercuts with their single ‘Stay Cool’; a stripped down track with underpinnings of bass, scratchy Bauhaus-like guitar and rustling cymbals, alternating noise and quiet interludes which distinguished the band’s rare ability to play slow as well as fast, what essentially was post-punk before its time. Chalkie jokingly remarked that, “Back then we thought we were changing the world – it still seems to be roughly the same.” The band then played the slow jagged guitar of ‘Corporal Chalkie’.

They returned again to their latest album release with ‘Still Waiting’, which after two mis-starts they eventually got through. Chalkie sang a spoken word version of ‘The Building’, which the band joked that DJ John Peel did not care for at all but did for ‘Telvira Trousers’ from their debut studio album ‘The Quality Of Mercy Is Not Strnen’, which saw Langford’s stripped back drum solo. The band finished their set on their early track ‘Dan Dare’ also from their debut; a Sex Pistols influenced punk song about the working class, the band having done a rare performance at Leeds Polytechnic on their ‘Anarchy In The UK’ tour.

Mekons 77 returned for an encore of their first single, 1978’s ‘Where Were You’, and as friends of fellow Leeds art college students Jon King and Andy Gill, they also performed some Gang of Four covers, with ‘Armilite Rifle’, which they tributed to the late Gill, and ‘Elevator’, finishing the show on a sample of ‘Anthrax’.

27/10/22: Mekons 77 @ 229 The Venue, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.



To mark 30 years since the establishment of their label, Cleopatra Records hosted a night of their bands with support sets from two punk acts; the recently reformed Eater as well as 999, with Jah Wobble and his The Invaders of The Heart lineup performing a special headline set.

It was the first time Wobble had performed his ‘Metal Box – Rebuilt In Dub’ album in full, which was released through Cleopatra last year, playing with the addition of guest guitarist Jon Klein (The Banshees) on Keith Levene’s parts, who sadly recently passed away following the date of this show.

They began with Wobble sitting down in ‘Albatross’ and Jon Klein playing McGeoch-style guitar, with George Kings’ added gothic keyboard and electronic effects. The band then moved onto ‘Memories’; Klein’s warbling guitar combing through Wobble’s marching basslines.

Following a more Invaders of The Heart rendition of ‘Public Image’ as opposed to the more PiL version on the record, Wobble read out the lyrical introduction to the beginning of ‘Poptones’ before playing his famous bassline; the track turned into a stripped down dub piece with Wobble beating it out on Tom Toms.

Wobble’s bass balancing yoga poses ensued during ‘Fodderstompf’, he then performed ‘Swan Lake’, the demented guitar riff transforming into the serene keyboard interlude and Wobble’s funky basslines. The band finished their set on ‘Socialist’ with its reverberating basslines and noise guitar.

26/10/22: Cleopatra Records 30th Anniversary – Jah Wobble @ O2 Academy Islington, London.

Photos © 2022 Per-Åke Wärn.

© Ayisha Khan.



Launching their new studio album ‘Private View’, Blancmange performed some of the new tracks live for the first time. The set also came ahead of their autumn and winter UK album tour.

They began with the first track on the album, ‘What’s Your Name’, with new synth player Chris Pemberton (John Grant) drowned out by Arthur’s overpowering vocals compared to the recorded version; a track written during lockdown with the help of producer Benge. They next played the second track and single, ‘Some Times These’, on this occasion sounding closer to the recorded version compared to previous live performances.

‘Reduced Voltage’, the third track and second single on the album, is the height of the release with its two layers of blocky and bouncing synth with a brassy instrumental. Blancmange then finished their selection of new material on the last two tracks of the release: title track ‘Private View’ and ‘Take Me’; the latter a softer piano piece, with glistening keys and white noise washes that sounded even better than the recorded equivalent.

The band played older material for the rest of the set, including singles from their first two albums, ‘Feel Me’ and, rather predictably, ‘Living On The Ceiling’ and ‘Blind Vision’; the latter was varied with the addition of Pemberton’s backing vocals and warbling synth interlude.

01/10/22: Blancmange @ Rough Trade East, London.

Photo © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.



For the first time ever Brix Smith headlined her own UK solo show to promote the forthcoming release of her new studio album, ‘Valley Of The Dolls’, due for release early next year. She played alongside her all-female supergroup made up of duo Deux Ferieuses (also on support) and members of My Chemical Romance and the Thurston Moore Group, including bass player Debbie Googe.

The show followed her support sets for Killing Joke and PiL earlier this year, and saw her perform for the first time the entire new album, including its two singles. The album was co-written and produced by Grammy award winning producer and musician Martin ‘Youth’ Glover whom she worked with during lockdown.

Brix started her set on the forthcoming release with the second album single, ‘Aphrodite’, and the crashing drums and hum of ‘Black Rainbow Sky’. She then played two tracks from her 2022 album ‘Lost Angeles’, co-written with Marty Wilson-Piper (The Church), one of which was opening track ‘Backwards’ – a grungey guitar song about the time she fell backwards and cracked the back of her skull.

The band also performed the main album single ‘California Smile’, which Brix explained was one of many songs that represented her fascination with the region’s dystopian culture and the seedy underbelly of the Californian valley, including the porn industry and “doll” culture that echoes the ‘60s film that gives name to the album. The single contrasted light sunshiney guitar with building noise and deafening drums, then transforming into a plateau of deranged joker masquerade. The second track was stark hardcore punk track ‘Valley Girl’.

Brix then played one of the last tracks on the new album, ‘All My Luv’, with its choking AC/DC guitar riffs and mellow chorus line. As well as her new album, she also played some material from her time in The Fall, including ‘Cruiser’s Creek’ (of which she wrote the riff) and doing two encores of further material with ‘Mr Pharmacist’ and ‘Totally Wired’ to end the show.

28/09/22: Brix Smith @ The Lexington, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


After a long wait for their new release, The House of Love were finally touring their seventh studio album, ‘A State Of Grace’, their first in almost a decade. Sole remaining original member Guy Chadwick presented a strong new lineup since 2020, following the departure of other members including original lead guitarist Terry Bickers.

The band opened on their eponymous 1988 debut album with ‘Road’; twangy guitar transformed into feedback, spinning out of control against Hugo Degenhardt’s crashing drums, lifting it beyond the constraints of the recorded song. ‘Christine’ from the same album, after a mis-start, was played without some of its echoey shoegaze reverb, instead having a more shrieky drone throughout, although reverb appeared in other parts. They then performed ‘Hope’, missing its cascading guitar chords but still remaining beautifully poignant.

The band next moved onto their new album with ‘Light Of The Morning’; a Bob Dylan influenced vocal with heavy country and blues guitar. After the hammer on and pull offs of their third single ‘Shine On’, they played new song ‘Sweet Water’ with its dirty blues riff, guitar solos and thunderous drums. They also did their new title track, ‘A State Of Grace’, with Echo & The Bunnymen guitar, ending their main set on their 1992 album ‘Babe Rainbow’ with the stripped down tribal drumming of ‘Burn Down The World’.

The House of Love returned for an encore with new single ‘Clouds’, featuring high backing vocals from Harry Osborne (bass), and finished back on their debut album with ‘Love In A Car’, which transcended into joint guitar shoegaze psychedelia to end the show.

25/09/22: The House of Love @ The Garage, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Celebrating 40 years of their third studio album ‘The Eligible Bachelors’, The Monochrome Set performed the entire tracklist in full with three original members present: Bid (vocals, guitar), Andy Warren (bass) and special guest, Lester Square (guitar).

After a short set of songs with the current members, Lester Square joined them onstage to perform the album in full in track order beginning with single ‘The Jet Set Junta’, then moving onto ‘I’ll Scry Instead’, which sounded exactly like the recorded version, testament to the condition of Bid’s vocal chords.

Bid sang part of ‘On The Thirteenth Day’ in an elevated key which added originality to the live version while Square played his chiming guitar riff at the end of the song. They proceeded onto ‘Cloud 10’, which was lacking in the whirling keyboard from the album, however, keys colourfully featured in the following song, ‘The Mating Game’.

Switching to the B-side, Lester Square comically read from a Satanic hymn book by Anton LaVey before the band performed the opening track ‘The Devil Rides Out’, which Bid joked was played at Satanic parties because they thought the band were followers. They then played the waltz of ‘The Midas Touch’, with inclusion of it’s choppy marine interlude, finishing on the last track of the album, ‘The Great Barrier Riff’, with funky guitar and drums leading into Square’s reverberating riff. The Monochrome Set returned for an encore of songs from their wider discography including their first singles ‘He’s Frank’ and ‘Eine Symphonie Des Grauens’.

17/09/22: The Monochrome Set @ The Lexington, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Brett Anderson launched his semi-autobiographical album at a sold out and intimate RTE in-store event, a record which he describes as “more raw, a little bit more angry, a little bit more nasty…our punk record.” He was joined by Suede’s other founding members Matt Osman (bass) and Simon Gilbert (drums). The launch was a warm-up ahead of the band’s two sold out Electric Ballroom shows and other sold out tour dates.

They performed the entire album minus one track in listing order, starting on the singles, ‘She Still Leads Me On’, inspired by his late mother, and ‘15 Again’ – a triumphant Britpop song with flavours of Killing Joke. They continued with the punk theme, Anderson jumping up and goading the audience, “What is this a fucking tea party?!” in the style of Johnny Rotten.

He cooled the mood down with a poignant solo keyboard track, ‘Drive Myself Home’, before the heavy beat of ‘Black Ice’; Richard Oakes’ guitar riffs haunting behind the scenes. They then performed what Anderson described as his “love song for the audience”, ‘What Am I Without You?’, passionately coming off the stage into the crowd to sing with fans.

16/09/22: Suede @ Rough Trade East, London.

Photo © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


Returning to the venue for the first time since 1996, the Los Angeles darkwave duo began their set with the first two songs on their eponymous debut album, which included the thudding drumbeats of their 2005 debut single ‘These Things’, then playing from their last album ‘Valleyheart’ with ‘Take The World’; co-founder Adam Bravin on keys. They further included ‘Little Stars’ from the same album – crashing guitar and Sad Lovers & Giants synth moods.

The band moved onto their second album with the shrieking synth of LCD Soundsystem in ‘She Will Always Be A Broken Girl’, continuing to play from the same release with the finality of the Placebo influenced ‘This Is The End’; its Chameleons-like guitar strokes transforming into the swinging chiming guitar of Thurston Moore. Whilst the band have their obvious influences, co-founder Justin Warfield (vocals, guitar) remains a proficient songwriter and brims with sexual suavity.

SWR returned for an encore performing five songs, with the grungey rock, growling then crying guitar of ‘It’s Just Begun’, also from their second album. Warfield spoke about how much he loved playing London (his second home) and that it was the best audience they had ever seen since the earlier days, choosing to do a cover version of INXS’ 1982 single ‘Don’t Change’. SWR also included the Josef K-style ‘Out Of Control’ with a sample singalong of David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ before ending their set back on their debut album with single ‘Tear You Apart’.

15/09/22: She Wants Revenge @ The Garage, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



For his only UK non-festival solo date this year, Tom Bailey came to Aylesbury which was missed off Thompson Twins’ tour and never played, so to put things right he performed the band’s 1984 album ‘Into The Gap’ in full for the first time in his career.

Before the album was played, Bailey began with a set of Thompson Twins and solo songs, starting on the band’s second album single, ‘In The Name Of Love’, containing its walking basslines. He also performed from his only solo album, 2018’s ‘Science Fiction’, with the title track; a Duran Duran style vocal after which came another solo track, the nomadic drums and acoustic guitar of ‘Come So Far’, a song about people forced to leave their homelands.

They also played the band’s third album single, ‘Lies’ – a samba intro leading into brassy synth and funky, pumping bass with the addition of world music influences that made his releases so distinct. Bailey ended the first set on another solo track, ‘Shooting Star’, and a cover of Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’.

After the interval the band returned dressed in white to perform the full album, ‘Into The Gap’, beginning on the title track ‘The Gap’, featuring percussive Middle Eastern influence and electric cello. ‘You Take Me Up’ followed – the band’s highest charting single that peaked at No. 2 in the UK charts — for which Bailey released a giant, red inflatable balloon into the audience.

He moved onto even more band hits with Thompson Twins’ next single, ‘Sister Of Mercy’, which also peaked in the charts and ‘Doctor! Doctor!’, an Oberheim synth track that charted at No. 3 in the UK. Bailey ended the set on another hit single, ‘Hold Me Now’, a No. 4 UK chart hit, which the audience chorally sung along with.

03/09/22: Tom Bailey @ Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


Peter Murphy’s original Bauhaus lineup – David J (bass), Daniel Ash (guitar) and Kevin Haskins (drums) – returned for a second London date. It follows their show last year at Alexandra Palace, the first reunion of the band since 2006.

They played a similar setlist as the previous show, beginning on Ash’s high pitched, unstable chords in John Cale’s ‘Rosegarden Funeral of Sores’, to which a very focussed Peter Murphy walked onstage, strutting around wearing a jewel encrusted jacket and waving a walking stick. The band then moved onto their ‘In The Flat Field’ debut album with its title track, featuring Haskins’ clattering drumbeats and Ash’s disorientated, screeching guitar.

Ash then switched to disembodied free jazz saxophone in ‘In Fear Of Fear’ from ‘Mask’ while Murphy moved to keys. The band also performed ‘She’s In Parties’, their last single for which Murphy played melodica and percussion, identical to the recorded version if not for its experimental afterthought.

Bauhaus continued their set with favourites such as their 1979 debut single ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’, ‘The Passion Of Lovers’ and ‘Stigmata Martyr’; the first saw plenty of experimentation such as David J grinding his bass against a fan; the last witnessed the stage turn blood red and Murphy take up his crucifix pose with the microphone.

The band came back for an encore of three covers, which included Iggy Pop’s ‘Sister Midnight’, and, more unusually, ‘Adrenalin’, from their last studio album ‘Go Away White’, performed by the original lineup of the band for the first time live since it’s release in 2008. Unfortunately, Murphy was unable to complete the setlist with ‘All We Ever Wanted Was Everything’ as he had done at the previous show.

19/08/22: Bauhaus @ O2 Academy Brixton, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs

© Ayisha Khan.



Circle Jerks reformed to play in London for the first time in 35 years to mark the 40th anniversaries of their first two studio albums, ‘Group Sex’ and ‘Wild In The Streets’, their tour slightly postponed due to the pandemic. They played 32 songs, the majority of which were taken for these two records and the lineup was formed of founding members Keith Morris (vocals) and Greg Hetson (guitar) with the band’s second bassist Zander Schloss and newer addition Joey C (drummer).

They hit things off with ‘Deny Everything’ from ‘Group Sex’, also playing ‘Stars And Stripes’ from ‘Wild In The Streets’ and alternating with each respective album, playing fast paced with more from the former such as ‘Back Against The Wall’ and ‘I Just Want Some Skank’. The band performed non-stop like this throughout the set apart from ‘towel breaks’ after blocks of songs to retune, breathe and hydrate, which Morris, mindfully at 67, unabashedly said if it made him a “pussy” to do so that’s what he was.

They continued into the next block of songs with additional material from their third album, ‘Golden Shower Of Hits’, playing ‘When The Shit Hits The Fan’, one of Morris’ favourite Circle Jerks songs. Their tracks are aggressively formulated with similar structures featuring chorded guitar, tempo building verses that bubble up to explosive choruses, crashing drums and strong basslines that typify the hardcore punk genre of their Southern Californian roots. They returned to ‘Wild In The Streets’ with ‘Trapped’ and title track ‘Wild In The Streets’, a Garland Jeffrey’s cover.

Circle Jerks continued to ‘Live Fast Die Young’, with Hetson’s screeching guitar. During one of the band’s breaks between songs, Morris spoke about the new founded rapport amongst the members after “hating each other’s guts” despite still having small disagreements about cutting songs off the setlist which he comically described in graphic detail, then playing such a song which he argued with Schloss’ about because it contained the  bassline the latter wrote in ‘Casualty Vampire’; they also played other such material taken from later studio albums such as ‘Wonderful’ and ‘VI’.

The band played the rest of their main set primarily from ‘Group Sex’, featuring ‘World Up My Ass’, ‘Operation’ and ‘Red Tape’. They also returned for a three-song encore, which included a cover of The Soft Boys’ ‘I Wanna Destroy You’, with Morris paying homage to Robyn Hitchcock’s anti-corporative sentiments in the song.

03/08/22: Circle Jerks @ Electric Ballroom, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


For only his third show of the year, Wreckless Eric returned to the UK for the first time since the pandemic to play as part of a three-day fundraising event in order to help raise money for independent radio station Resonance FM.

He played a short setlist featuring ‘Father Of The Man’ and ‘Dead End’, also doing rocky guitar solos during ‘Creepy People (In The Middle Of The Night)’ and ‘The Half Of It’. He spoke about the importance of keeping independent radio stations going in light of his experiences of the Christian Right in America trying to shut them down.

Eric performed his best known song, ‘Whole Wide World’, which was first recorded 45 years ago around the date of the show. He ended his set degenerating into noisy guitar feedback. Unfortunately, he didn’t return for an encore due to the chatter at the back of the venue which had irritated him throughout the set.

30/07/22: Wreckless Eric @ MOTH Club, London.

Photo © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


To promote the release of their new compilation album, Orbital headlined the outdoor stage at Alexandra Palace performing new mixes of tracks from the release. The Hartnoll brothers stood on top of a platform surrounded by screens displaying stunning visuals throughout the set.

They began on the first song on their new album, ‘30 Something Years Later’, new single ‘Smiley’, based on the Acid house party raves of the early ‘90s, where police brutally raided the secret gatherings taking place around the M25 which gave birth to the band’s name.


The pair then played ‘There Will Come A Time (We Will Die Remix)’, from their ‘Monsters Exist’ album, narrated by Professor Brian Cox – a pyrotechnic display in electronic sound and also a stark warning of the impending extinction of humanity though planetary destruction.

This environmental theme continued in more ‘30 Something Years Later’ mixes from the new album – the urgent countdown of ‘Impact (The Earth Is Still Burning 30 Years Later Mix)’, before they performed the relentless mechanical march of single ‘Satan’; both tracks included still periods of synth reflection.

Orbital returned to the new album mixes with the cyclical ‘Halcyon’ and dizzying heights of ‘Belfast’, both with female vocals and the latter with sirenic opera, grinding to a halt before they performed the techno beats of ‘Chime’. They finished their set on the climax of ‘Where Is It All Going?’, with with drilling pyrotechnics, a version of which also appears on from the new album feat. Professor Stephen Hawking, which returned the set to the common message of their work.

23/07/22: Orbital @ Alexandra Palace, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


The Belgian EBM industrialists played two rare 40th anniversary shows in England, their only live dates within the country for years. Formed of original frontman Jean-Luc De Meyer and additional vocalist Richard 23 as well as Patrick Codenys (keyboards, programming), they entered the stage shining torches and dancing to ‘First In/First Out’, before moving onto ‘Take One’ – a track from their first EP ‘Endless Riddance’ released following their 1983 debut album ‘Geography’, of which it retains similarities in sound with its sonar sounding scuttering synth keys. ‘Don’t Crash’ featured Richard playing additional drums and the whistling war siren synth interlude.

The band progressed to their 1987 ‘Official Version’ studio album with ‘Quite Unusual’; dark drumbeats excited by brass flashes, and 1984’s ‘No Comment’ with ‘No Shuffle’, which they had not played the previous night. They also performed a new song, ‘Deeply Asleep’; a relentless arachnoid treadmill with lazer sounds and crashing industrial effects. F242 went to their earliest work with the very first track on the band’s first album, ‘Operating Tracks’, and another track from the same album ‘U-men’ was hybridised with ‘W.Y.H.I.W.Y.G’, which was also put out last year as a live release from their ‘Ancienne Belgique’ ’89 tour.

As F242 neared the end of their set they played their influential single ‘Headhunter’ from ‘Front By Front’, to the delight of the audience, and then onto their ‘Tyranny (For You)’ album with ‘Moldovia’, before returning to the previous album to finish the set on ‘Welcome To Paradise’, complete with its well known samples.

17/07/22: Front 242 @ O2 Academy Islington, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



To celebrate his 65th birthday, Marc Almond hosted an intimate performance with his friend, music producer Chris Braide, which followed a date they did together at the Royal Festival Hall in early 2020 and comes ahead of a commemorative long awaited mini album of the duo’s unreleased material – ‘Things We Lost’. The show saw them play the whole of Almond’s 2013 ‘The Velvet Trail’ solo album “down to the bare bones” – which Almond described as a milestone career marker release – and a second act featuring a mix from both of their own song catalogues.

They began their set on the album’s opening track, the dark resentment of ‘Bad To Me’, and then a while later transformed  to the exotic colour of ‘Pleasure’s Wherever You Are’, showcasing the album’s many contrasts. Almond incorporated his love of pagan mythology with angry emotion in ‘Minotaur’, also performing the playful poptones of ‘Demon Lover’ and ‘When The Comet Comes’, the later sang more strongly as a duet with Braide, even if it didn’t quite work out as they had planned. They ended on the album’s title track, ‘The Velvet Trail’, which for Almond conjured up nostalgic memories of his childhood visiting the coast of Stockport and the displayed  album’s British rural influences.

After the interval came the second act which saw the pair play from both their catalogues, including Soft Cell covers such as ‘Kitchen Sink Drama’, and an unexpected cover of the Pet Shop Boys’ ‘Rent’ – a song that Almond said he wished he had written. Another influence that they touched on throughout the set was Almond lifetime inspiration, Marc Bolan, whom they tributed with a cover version of Bolan’s ‘The Visit’. They also played for the first time live a new song from the forthcoming mini album, ‘Dead Stars’ – about dead famous persons who never let you down on account of their being dead – which was then also the subject of Almond’s last solo studio album track that followed, ‘Hollywood Forever’.

Almond as usual finished on two favourite Soft Cell numbers, ‘Torch’ and ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’, which after a scattering of petals saw him handing out red roses to the audience, who then sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him.

08/07/22: Marc Almond + Chris Braide @ Cadogan Hall, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


As part of their busy schedule of headlining several festivals nationwide this summer, The Human League stopped by in Kent to top the bill on day two of the four-day castle hosted event. They were joined by a refreshed backing band on keytars, guitar, synthesisers and electronic drums.

Continuing from their recent ‘Dare 40’ tour marking 40 years of their third studio album, the band played the majority of their set from ‘Dare’, starting on ‘Sound Of The Crowd’ and ‘Open Your Heart’, which they followed with the thundering drumbeats of ‘Seconds’; founding member and frontman Phil Oakey shouting out the vocals.

The League continued with ‘The Lebanon’ from ‘Hysteria’, featuring choking guitar riffs, then went to the next album, ‘Crash’, with Oakey performing ‘Human’; although  it ended with a long instrumental that seemed strange with none of the main members onstage. Oakey credited the band’s cover of ‘Behind The Mask’ to the “horrible synth noises” of Yellow Magic Orchestra before they returned to ‘Dare’ with ‘Love Action (I Believe In Love)’.

The band came back for an encore of their 1978 debut single, ‘Being Boiled’, which saw the deep, guttural synth and creaky theremin effects of the early version that personified The Human League’s sound, and ended on Giorgio Moroder’s ‘Together In Electric Dreams’.

06/07/22: Rochester Castle Festival – The Human League @ Rochester Castle, Kent.

Photo (top) © Michael Palmer.

Photo (bottom) © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


Ahead of their new studio album release next month, electronic synth-pop band Blancmange were on support for The Human League at the historic castle, coming after another ’80s support act, Altered Images.

The band played favourites from their chart topping album ‘Mange Tout’, beginning  with ‘Game Above My Head’; only Finlay Shakespeare (synthesisers) joined founding member and vocalist Neil Arthur with Liam Hutton absent on electronic drums, Shakespeare performing his duties while adding fresh samples, and Arthur also doing some live vocal mixing towards the end of the song.

After the frenzied ‘I Can’t Explain’ from debut album ‘Happy Families’, it wasn’t long into the set that the band performed their 1984 hit single ‘Don’t Tell Me’, which charted at number 8 in the UK, with Arthur getting the audience to sing most of the vocals. He then contrasted with the more sombre atmospherics of ‘Waves’ and followed it with a track off their forthcoming album ‘Private View’, their new single ‘Some Times These’.

The band finished on three favourites from their first two albums – ‘Living On The Ceiling’, ‘Feel Me’ and ‘Blind Vision’ – with Arthur dad dancing throughout this part of the set and changing the final lyrics of ‘Blind Vision’ to “Bye-bye Boris” following  the PM’s plans to resign earlier that day.

06/07/22: Rochester Castle Festival – Blancmange @ Rochester Castle, Kent.

Photos © Michael Palmer.

© Ayisha Khan.


The ‘80s band recently reformed ahead of the release of their fourth studio album – their first in 38 years – ‘Mascara Streakz’. Following their recent support for the Human League’s ‘Dare 40’ tour, the band were on support for them again in Rochester and playing the outdoor stage at Europe’s biggest punk rock festival.

Singer Clare Grogan began on Altered Image’s second album with 1981 single, ‘I Could Be Happy’; a Blondie ‘Heart of Glass’ influenced bubblegum song, and then ‘See Those Eyes’, a favourite work of producer Martin Rushent who worked on the band’s debut album as well as those of The Stranglers, Buzzcocks and Human League.

She also performed brand new material featured in the setlist such as ‘Mascara Streakz’ – from their forthcoming album of the same name – a fresh feeling, disco dance-funk track with Minogue-style vocals. She moved onto John Peel favourite ‘Insects’ which saw the band appear on The Old Grey Whistle Test, with its Banshees’ guitar sound.

The band covered The Ting Ting’s ‘That’s Not My Name’ – a favourite of Grogan’s – and played their debut single ‘Dead Pop Stars’; a song derived from its punk and post-punk influences. They ended their set on their highest charting singles, ‘Don’t Talk To Me About Love’ (written with Grogan’s former bandmate and husband Stephen Lironi) and ‘Happy Birthday’, which peaked at number 7 and 2 on the UK singles charts respectively.

06/07/22; 07/08/22: Rochester Castle/Rebellion Festival – Altered Images @ Rochester Castle/R-Fest, Kent/Blackpool.

Photo © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


Returning to O2 Academy Brixton for the first time in over 10 years, LCD Soundsystem did a six-night sold out residency which frontman James Murphy stated was to avoid doing one show at a stadium-like venue.

With a huge disco ball above the stage, the start of their set saw the band playing ‘American Dream’ – from their last album of the same name – with its synth cascades and depressive lyrics – and then following it with single ‘I Can Change’, which Murphy performed with a Kraftwerk ‘Radioactivity’ sample at the beginning.

The set then exploded with single ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’ and ‘You Wanted A Hit’, the latter with its mixture of spoken word and noise interval; Murphy also played percussion in some songs. The band then moved onto another single from their debut album, ‘Tribulations’; the venue suddenly filled with air frazzling electronic waves.

LCD Soundsystem ended their main set on ‘Losing My Edge’ – their debut single  of biographical spoken word punctuated with springy basslines. After an “intermission” which was visually displayed on the LED screen backdrop, the band returned for four more songs, amongst them ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ with its panpipe and thick synth keys anthem.

28/06/22: LCD Soundsystem @ O2 Academy Brixton, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



The synth-pop duo performed a rare intimate show at Electric Ballroom as part of Band On The Wall’s ‘Passport: Back To Our Roots’ series of events to raise money for the grassroots live music scene and small venues. The show also acted as a warm-up gig for their Glastonbury Festival set the following night but more stripped down, without the dancers and visuals which vocalist Neil Tennant said was, “just you and us and the songs.”

The set was taken from their recent Dreamworld tour that the band have been touring nationally and internationally for the last several months, featuring their greatest hits collection. Beginning on ‘Suburbia’ from their 1986 ‘Please’ album, Neil Tennant and keyboard player Chris Lowe arrived onstage, the former in a long white coat, during the song getting the audience to sing the lyrics. They also performed their other single ‘Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money)’ from the same album with Tennant shouting, “Camden!” and then following it with Pet Shop Boys 1987 album, ‘Actually’, with ‘Rent’.

Tennant related some stories such as his holiday with Lowe to St Lucia in the ‘80s where they played and lost at dominoes, with the winner doing a victory dance around the table; they then did ‘Domino Dancing’ which that story gave birth to with its pumping synth and salsa interlude and ‘Left To My Own Devices’, both from their 1988 ‘Introspective’ album. They finished that segment of the show on a cover of Gwen McCrae’s ‘You Were Always On My Mind’.

Wearing a holographic metallic coat, Tennant performed the eponymous flagship track from their last 2020 release, ‘Dreamland’. They returned to ‘Actually’, going straight into the springy synth keys of ‘Heart’ and gothic-synth anthem, ‘It’s A Sin’. After another coat change Tennant and the rest of the band returned for an encore of their debut single ‘West End Girls’.

24/06/22: Pet Shop Boys @ Electric Ballroom, London.

Photo © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


Guesting at this year’s festival at the invitation of curator Grace Jones, Blancmange played a short set on support for headliner John Grant. Founding member Neil Arthur (vocals) performed alongside Liam Hutton (electronic drums) and Finlay Shakespeare (electronics), the band having originally opened as a support act for Jones over 40 years ago.

They began on ‘Commercial Break’ from their last studio album of the same name, then playing from 1984 album ‘Mange Tout’ with ‘Game Above My Head’ and its stammering disco-funk drumbeats, Arthur adding some improvisational vocal mixing at the end. He also performed the quizzical spoken word track, ‘What’s The Time?’, provocatively pointing at the audience while repeatedly asking, “What’s the best dog you’ve ever had?”.

Blancmange included their new single, ‘Some Times These’ – played for the first time live – from their forthcoming studio album, ‘Private View’, due for release in September; glistening keys and white noise sweeps, the live version differed slightly from the recorded with soaring synth heights.

The band then returned to their earlier work with 1982 debut studio album, ‘Happy Families’, doing two of its singles: the chart topping ‘Living On The Ceiling’ and ‘Feel Me’ with its clattering industrial beats. They finished their set on ‘Blind Vision’ featuring added electronic effects.

17/06/22: Meltdown Festival – Blancmange @ Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.

Photo © Burak Cingi.

© Ayisha Khan.


William Bennett brought his post-Whitehouse project back to London after several years as part of Grace Jones’ festival following the release of his latest album, ‘Sixteen Ways Out’, last year. In the background he had visual projections of lyrics from tracks such as ‘Inka’ and ‘Mamba Muntu’ with tribal artwork from his earlier catalogue.

His set was formed of tracks from the last album as introductionary spoken word pieces for material taken from his volumed catalogue ‘Afro Noise’ and it’s compilation version, ‘Festival Of The Dead’, which he merged together as one stream. He started on ‘Witness The Spread Of A Dream’ and then played the last and first tracks on ‘Festival Of The Dead’ – ‘Fire Ends The Day’ and ‘The Claw’ – combining Haitian voodoo inspired traditional percussion, heavy industrial drumbeats with whirring background electronics.


Bennett then moved onto ‘Witness The Birth Of A Dream’ with ambient piece ‘Seal Water’ introducing ‘Vaudou Takes Me High’ and ‘Madwoman’, the latter with chainsaw power electronics arriving at a bludgeoning end. Occasionally Bennett would embody the music writhing around to the frenzied rhythms.

11/06/22: Meltdown Festival – Cut Hands @ Purcell Room, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


Tom Robinson celebrated his 70th birthday with a live performance featuring several guest musicians on the bill including the legendary TV Smith who played a short acoustic support set. The evening was compered by his friend BBC 6Music radio DJ Steve Lamacq and Robinson (bass) was accompanied by his band of Jim Simmons (keyboard), Lee Forsyth Griffith (acoustic guitar), Andy Treacey (drums) and Adam Phillips (electric guitar).

The band began their set on 1979 single ‘Bully For You’; Robinson commented afterwards that the lyric, “We don’t need no aggravation” in the song may have been the inspiration for Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ lyric, “We don’t need no education’. They followed this with ‘Atmospheric: Listen To The Radio’.

Robinson dedicated ‘Too Good To Be True’ to the band’s original guitarist, Danny Kustow, which was his favourite song to play, with its bluesy feel and electric guitar solos. As a human rights activist, Robinson included ‘The Mighty Word Of Justice’ and his famous anthem ‘(Sing If You’re) Glad To Be Gay’, the latter of which he wrote in response to the media’s negative attitude to his sexuality, showing the audience a tabloid article written about his love life at the time.

Robinson ended his main set on debut  single ‘2-4-6-8 Motorway’. Lamacq returned to get the audience to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Robinson, and a cake was brought onstage which he shared with them. The band were then rejoined by Robinson’s guests and together did an encore of ‘Power In The Darkness’, with updated lyrics to reflect the Tory government situation with Robinson donning a blonde wig and impersonating Boris Johnson in the mid-song.

30/05/22: Tom Robinson Band @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.



Touring his nineteenth studio album release, ‘Intruder’, Gary Numan played to a packed out arena to perform his new material amongst classics from his large back catalogue with a backdrop of apocalyptic visuals accompanying the themes of planetary destruction that his recent work has been crafted on.

He began on the flagship track from the new album with ‘Intruder’, before he transported to his earliest albums playing first from his second solo album ‘Telekon’ with ‘Remind Me To Smile’ and then from his debut solo album ‘The Pleasure Principle’ with ‘Metal’ and ‘Films’. He was joined by his two twin avatar guitarists, Steve Harris (guitar) and Tim Slade (bass) as well as Dave Brooks (synthesisers) and Richard Beasley (drums).

Numan introduced his first guest of the night, Gazelle Twin, who provided backing vocals on the new album, performing with him ‘The Gift’. He later introduced his daughters Persia and Raven on backing vocals who remained onstage over the course of four consecutive songs, performing with their dad from his last two albums with ‘Is This World Not Enough’, ‘A Black Sun’ and ‘My Name Is Ruin’; the former conjured up an immersive futurism that typifies Numan’s current songwriting abilities and was befitting of the accompanying apocalyptic visuals. They also jointly performed Tubeway Army ‘Replicas’ song, ‘Everyday I Die’.

Following a performance of ‘Cars’, Numan introduced his next guest, his long serving ex-bassist Tim Muddiman who contributed guitar to Tubeway Army song ‘Me! I Disconnect From You’ and then two further guests, former Tubeway Army band members Chris Payne (viola) and Russell Bell (guitar) arrived onstage for the song, ‘M.E.’. The band finished the show on Tubeway Army classic ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’.

07/05/22: Gary Numan @ OVO Wembley Arena, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


The band’s first show in 32 years, Tackhead headlined On-U Sound’s 40th anniversary show. Founding members Keith LeBlanc (drums), Doug Wimbish (vocals, bass) and Skip McDonald (guitar) shared a stage with lead vocalist Bernard Fowler to celebrate 40 years of the label they started out on.

They began with a drum solo by LeBlanc during ‘Heaven On Earth’ taken from his 1986 ‘Major Malfuction’ album on which the other band members contributed. Tackhead soon moved onto one of their best known singles from ‘Friendly As A Hand Grenade’, ‘Ticking Time Bomb’ – Wimbish’s cranky slap bass enhanced with explosive pyrotechnical overdubbing provided by Adrian Sherwood at the controls.

The band also performed another of their well known singles, ‘Mind At The End Of The Tether’ from their 1986 debut album, Sherwood’s dubbing now sounding like rocket launchers off Wimbish’s bass. Former Tackhead member and Rolling Stones backing vocalist Bernard Fowler then arrived onstage to perform Reverend TACK’s ‘Stealing’, also wishing Adrian Sherwood’s label a happy birthday.

They performed another set as Mark Stewart & The Maffia, playing some of the tracks they had recorded with him back then, including ‘Hysteria’ from 1990’s ‘Metatron’ with its building crescendo of ominous wavering bass and guitar and ‘As The Veneer of Democracy Starts To Fade’ from the album of the same name, which Stewart remarked, “seemed to come true a long time ago,” featuring McDonald’s demented guitar solo. They ended their set on reggae track ‘Liberty City’ from Stewart’s debut album ‘Learning To Cope With Cowardice’.

30/04/22: Tack>>Head + Mark Stewart & The Maffia @ O2 Forum Kentish Town, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Doing a rare performance with all Nitzer Ebb original founding members, Vaughan “Bon” Harris (vocals, drums), Douglas McCarthy (vocals, drums) and David Gooday (programming), the EBM pioneers and hard-edged electronic dance act returned to tour to play a similar set to their last London show a few years ago.

With frontman Douglas pacing around the stage to every beat, the band began their set on tracks from their 1989 second studio album ‘Belief’ with ‘Blood Money’, ‘Captivate’ and ‘Hearts And Minds’; the latter contained morse quote squeaks and rhythm builds to the next studio album ‘Showtime’, of which they performed ‘Getting Closer’ with electrifying pulses.

Nitzer Ebb continued to their following record, the ‘As Is’ EP, ‘Come Alive’, featuring gothic keys against a thudding monotonous beat. They then went to their 1987 debut album ‘That Total Age’ with classic favourite ‘Join The Chant’ and relentless beats of ‘Let Your Body Learn’, finishing their set on ‘Murderous’. Then continuing from the same release, Bon returned to perform ‘Violent Playground’, sang as a poignant solo piece. David also performed an angrier solo of ‘Alarm’ before Douglas returned for a final song.

26/04/22: Nitzer Ebb @ LaFayette, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Postponed for a year, Sparks’ rescheduled European tour finally arrived in London. It comes after last year’s studio album release ‘A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip’ and their recent film soundtrack ‘Annette’; they appropriately began the show on latter’s opening track ‘So May We Start’.

They played from their early material with 1982’s ‘Angst In My Pants’ from their album of the same name and from 1975’s ‘Indiscreet’ with ‘Get In The Swing’, vocalist frontman Russell Mael relating the band’s recognition difficulties in the early days when they were called Halfnelson, and also following the band name change thereafter. They then performed the first track of their first-ever album, ‘Wonder Girl’.

Sparks also played from their later material, with their last album featuring in the way of ‘Stravinsky’s Only Hit’, Ron Mael’s biographical songwriting about Igor Stravinsky. They also performed ‘Johnny Delusional’, the first single from their 2015 supergroup collaboration with Frank Ferdinand, FFS.

Sparks continued with their latest releases doing ‘We Love Each Other So Much’ and ‘Lawnmower’ from their last two releases. They ended their main set on ‘The Rhythm Thief’ and a selection of singles ‘When Do I Get To Sing ‘My Way?’’, ‘The Number One Song In Heaven’ (featuring Ron’s comical erratic dancing) and ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us’, with Ron speaking to the audience directly before they headed off stage.

For the encore the band performed again from ‘A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip’ with ‘All That’, which they felt poignantly reminded them of everything they and the world had endured for the last couple of years with the pandemic, mentioning their almost finished new studio album and forthcoming soundtrack as they left the stage.

17/04/22: Sparks @ Roundhouse, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Performing a two-year delayed rescheduled set and on support instead of playing a headline show which was cancelled due to lineup issues, Pauline Murray returned following her 2020 solo album release, ‘Elemental’, with her incarnation of John Cooper Clarke’s backing band The Invisible Girls.

Formed of other members of her punk band Penetration including partner Rob Blamire (bass) and Paul Harvey (guitar) as well as her son and daughter, they performed most of the tracks from the band’s only album released under the name ‘Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls’. The original band contained producer and keyboardist Martin Hannett and drummer John Maher (Buzzcocks) with album contributions from Wayne Hussey (The Mission, Sisters Of Mercy) and Bernard Sumner (Joy Division, New Order).

The band opened their 40-minute support set on the pastel pop-tones of ‘Sympathy’ and ‘Dream Sequence’ before the gothic organ synth of ‘Shoot You Down’, with Murray then moving onto her new solo material with ‘Secrets’ – echoing her vocals in Penetration – and ‘Shadow In My Mind’ with its whirling keyboard solo.

The band then returned to Invisible Girls material with ‘Time Slipping’, its distinctive warm jangle synth throughout, and the hazard monotone of ‘Thundertunes’.

12/04/22: Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls @ Cambridge Junction, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


Dead Can Dance were on their Europa tour following the release of their last studio album ‘Dionysus’ in 2018, playing two consecutive nights in London. Founding members Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry were joined by their backing band four years after their last London shows.

The show began with Lisa onstage performing ‘Yulanga (Spirit Dance)’ and then playing the yangqin when alternating vocals with Brendan, who sang ‘Amnesia’ from their 2012 studio album ‘Anastasis’. He also played contrasting chiming and suspenseful guitar ‘In Power We Trust The Love Advocated’ and sang the single ‘The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove’ from their 1993 studio album ‘Into The Labyrinth’.

Lisa sang sirenic, operatic idioglossia in ‘Sanvean’ and then turned to frenzied wailing in ‘Dance Of The Bacchantes’. She then performed an encore of ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’ alongside the Irish whistle before Brendan finished the show on ‘Severance’.

10/04/22: Dead Can Dance @ Eventim Apollo, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Following the recent release of their new EP, ‘Lord of Chaos’, Killing Joke delivered their rescheduled ‘Honour The Fire’ tour with their last date taking place in London, a year after it was originally supposed to happen.

They opened on favourite track ‘Love Like Blood’; unfortunately Jaz having lost his voice over the tour meant his vocals were quieter than the rest of the set and the sound quality was not perfect. The band moved onto ‘Wardance’ and quite appropriately ‘I Am The Virus’ followed, from Killing Joke’s last 2015 studio album ‘Pylon’.

The set provided a taste of the last 40 years of the band’s history, featuring their eponymous debut album and less commonly performed tracks such as ‘We Have Joy’ from third studio album ‘Revelations’. Killing Joke then played from 2010’s ‘Absolute Dissent’ album with Geordie Walker’s wrenching guitar chords in ‘This World Hell’; also the album from which the name of the tour was taken.

They performed rarer songs such as ‘Primitive’ from their debut album and then played from last year’s live album, ‘Total Invasion Live In The USA’, with ‘Total Invasion’ and ‘Loose Cannon’. The band didn’t play from their new EP, but Jaz was keen to remind everyone that this was just the beginning of more to come.

09/04/22: Killing Joke @ Eventim Apollo, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


To mark the 40th anniversary of their 1982 debut album, ‘Epic Garden Music’, the band reformed with original members Garce (vocals), Nigel Pollard (drums), Cliff Silver (acoustic guitar), Tristan Garel-Funk (bass) alongside Tony McGuinness (guitar) to play the tracklist in its entirety for the first time ever before another set from their wider back catalogue.

After the band performed the instrumental track ‘ART (By Me)’, Garce arrived onstage to start side A of the debut album with ‘Echoplay’; shortly after original bass player Cliff Silver arrived onstage to play acoustic guitar for ‘Clint’. Garce then introduced Jack who stepped into the shoes of original member David Wood for the saxophone parts in ‘Lope’.

The band then moved onto side B, with ‘Cloud 9’ and ‘Alice (Isn’t Playing)’. SLAG then left the stage for a short interval before returning to perform a longer set of back catalogue tracks from their history.

They began the second set with songs from ‘Feeding The Flame’ and ‘Headland’ with ‘In Flux’, ‘Alaska’ and ‘Vendetta’. They also played from their newer material with 2008’s ‘Mission Creep’ playing ‘Biblical Crows’ and a single recorded in 2020 during lockdown ‘Asylum Town’. They then returned to older material with ‘Sleep (Is For Everyone)’ and 1987 ‘The Mirror Test’ with ‘Seven Kinds Of Sun’.

The band returned for an encore of ‘50:50’, ‘Imagination’ and ‘Colourless Dream’, the latter of which was featured in a recent Andy Warhol documentary.

03/04/22: Sad Lovers & Giants @ The Lexington, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.



Playing the last date of their 28-date European tour, Gong arrived in London for a two-hour show promoting the release of their new live album release ‘Pulsing Signals’. The band lineup is formed of co-founding member Daevid Allen’s reincarnation of the band with 2009’s Dave Sturt (bass), 2012’s Ian East (saxophone) and Fabio Golfetti (guitar) and 2014’s Kavus Torabi (vocals, guitar) and Cheb Nettles (drums).

Gong began their show on 2019’s ‘The Universe Also Collapses’ with Forever Occurring’, spinning a tapestry of jazz with ebbing and flowing guitar and cymbal crashes. They then did ‘Kaptial’ from their 2016 album ‘Rejoice I’m Dead!’ – a dark noise rock track that contained Golfetti’s distorted slide guitar effects played with a metal rod.

They next moved to more stripped down, funky bass and drum driven tracks, doing ‘My Sawtooth Wake’ with its altering states of soothing consciousness and chaotic jumbles.

The band went off for an encore, leaving an audio-visual intermission continuing in their absence to maintain the built energy in the room: the “temple of sound” and “self-transforming liquid architecture” that Torabi said they and the audience had created together. They then returned onstage and performed sonic hymn ‘Rejoice!’.

Gong ended their set on the continuous rocky riff mantra of ‘Master Builder’ from the ‘You’ album from their best works, the ‘Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy’, ending the show on ‘Tropical Fish/Selene’, from their second studio album ‘Camembert Électrique’. Although not earlier members of the band, the current lineup were able to whip up a psychedelic, trippy spiritual high through their playing (not even produced by many established bands) that matches the expectations of the music they’ve inherited that it seems appropriate that, and with Daevid Allen’s blessing, they continue under the Gong name.

28/03/22: Gong @ The Garage, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Tangerine Dream resumed their recheduled tour over three years since they had last played live in London, with them also promoting their recent studio album release, ‘Raum’, the band under the direction of Thorsten Quaeshning with violinist Hoshiki Yamane and Paul Frick. They played a two and a half hour set in total.

Amongst stunning strobe light effects and visuals, the band began their set on ‘Stratosphere’ from their 1976 eponymous seventh studio album and the choppy ‘Dolphin Dance’ from their sixteenth studio album, ‘Underwater Sunlight’, released 10 years later. They then performed from the new release, ‘Raum’, with the track of the same name; its glassy echoes building to tribal drumbeats. The menacing wavering synth of ‘Betrayal’ from the 1977 ‘Sorcerer’ film score followed.

Tangerine Dream performed the upbeat ‘It Is Time To Leave When Everyone is Dancing’ from ‘Quantum Gate’, the first album released following the death of band founder Edgar Froese in 2015. They played further tracks from their most recent work with ‘You’re Always On Time’ and their ‘Probe 6-8’ EP with ‘Continuum’, ending their main set on early track, ‘Phaedra’, shortened from the longer studio version.

Steve Rothery of neo-progressive rock band Marillion arrived on stage for the final part of the set, playing guitar with the rest of the band on ‘Kiew Mission’ and ‘Cloudburst Flight’, with all of them finishing the show on an encore featuring a long 40-minute improvisation piece and guitar solos from Rothery.

18/03/22: Tangerine Dream @ Roundhouse, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Back playing live again after a rather long time, Hugh Cornwell supported The Undertones with a short early set supported by his band, playing from his recent solo albums as well as a large amount of material from The Stranglers catalogue ahead of an upcoming new album release.

He started on his 1979 collaboration album ‘Nosferatu’ with what he termed a creepy song, ‘Big Bug’, and then performed a Stranglers’ favourite, ‘Duchess’. Playing from his last album ‘Monster’, Cornwell dedicated ‘Mr Leather’ to an aborted meeting with the late singer Lou Reed after they both contracted flu after a blizzard in New York and thereafter never managed to reschedule.

Ahead of some more Stranglers material Cornwell played another track from his album of the same name with the single ‘Monster’, returning to past band material with ‘Strange Little Girl’ and ‘Always The Sun’ – both showcased his unique softer melodic voice tones that still outdo the current band’s own performances of these to this day.

Cornwell closed his set on his Beach Boys inversion ‘Bad Vibrations’ from his album ‘Totem and Taboo’ and further Stranglers material with ‘London Lady’ and ‘Five Minutes’.

12/03/22: Hugh Cornwell @ Electric Ballroom, London.

Photo © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Touring to promote the release of their remix mashup album ‘Dig What You Need’, The Undertones played an extensive set of songs from more than 40 years of releases and almost half a century of the band’s history, being formed of all original members and Paul McLoone on vocals.

They exploded on stage with track one of the A-side of their eponymous debut album, ‘Family Entertainment’, following a three-year break from last playing the venue. Then taken from the new release they performed ‘I Need Your Love The Way It Used To Be’, showcasing original guitarist brothers Damian and John O’Neill’s relentless riffs that drive the band’s songs.

Before playing ‘Jump Boys’ the band comically read out slips of paper dedicating their songs to various people in between, then moved onto their album ‘The Sin Of Pride’ with ‘The Love Parade’. They featured from the new release again with two more tracks, ‘Thrill Me’ and ‘Enough’.

The Undertones dedicated their well-known anthem ‘Teenage Kicks’ to recently passed NME writer Gavin Martin who gave the band rave reviews back in the day. Then playing again from their new album with ‘Oh Please’, they soon moved onto another classic anthem, ‘Here Comes The Summer’. Punk song ‘Male Model’ and ‘Dig Yourself Deep’ followed before they finished their main set on ‘(She’s A) Runaround’ and The Ramones’ punk drumming style of ‘Get Over You’; their encore containing another song from the new album, ‘Here Comes The Rain’.

12/03/22: The Undertones @ Electric Ballroom, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Award winning record producer and musician Youth launched his first-ever solo studio album release, playing a live set featuring some of the songs in Earl’s Court where he grew up and first started his music career, with friend Portobello blues busker Marcia Mello on support with whom he recently released a compilation of earlier recordings.

The short set began on the album single, ‘Sha La Laa I Love You’; Youth playing acoustic guitar and singing alongside folk singer Merry McCloud on accordian. Although Youth is not used to being the focus of his collaborations, with an obviously weaker singing voice, the intimate set was from the heart. He moved onto the album’s eponymous title track, ‘Spinning Wheel’, which he recorded with The Verve’s Simon Tong, the original recorded version being a mix of ’70s guitar pop and folk-psychedelia.

Youth related tales of his old bedsit near the venue where he used to live when he was 17/18-years-old and which he shared with The Orb’s Alex Paterson, supplementing his income busking outside Earl’s Court tube station and attending multiple gigs a week in the height of 1977-78.

He then performed a few more tracks from his album with ‘Wooden Floor’ and ‘Charcoal Man’ – the latter related from his time spent living in Spain – and ended on a cover of Jonathan Richman’s ‘Roadrunner’.

08/03/22: Youth @ The Troubadour, London.

Photo © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Following the release of their latest live compilation album ‘Elevated Living’, The Chameleons completed their trilogy of album tours playing a set celebrating the anniversary of material from their 1985 second studio album, ‘What Does Anything Mean Basically?’, over 35 years since its release. Founding members Mark Burgess (vocals, bass) and Reg Smithies (guitar) were joined by the rest of the touring lineup.

The band opened on the first track of the album, instrumental piece ‘Silence, Sea and Sky’, against which Burgess read some poetic lyrics. They then proceeded to play the rest of the album in tracklist order, featuring ‘Perfume Garden’, ‘Return Of The Roughnecks’ and ‘Singing Rule Britannia (While The Walls Close In)’, with their combination of soft synthscapes, feathery guitar and uncomprimising rhythm section, the latter track of which also saw Burgess weave in lyrics from The Clash’s ‘White Riot’.

The Chameleons moved onto side B of the album, with ‘On The Beach’ and the suspenseful power-synth of ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’, ending the tracklist on final song ‘P.S. Goodbye’. They also added the two bonus tracks on the CD reissue, the A- and B-sides of their single release of the same time, ‘In Shreds’ and ‘Nostalgia’.

The band returned for a four-song encore featuring two tracks each from their other two studio albums, ‘Script Of The Bridge’ and ‘Strange Times’, including ‘Swamp Thing’ and ‘Second Skin’; the final song saw Burgess precariously come off the stage, over the photo pit and into the crowd, adding lyrics from Gerry & The Pacemakers song ‘I Like It’.

05/02/22: The Chameleons @ Islington Assembly Hall, London.

© Ayisha Khan.


Richard Jobson and father and son guitarists Bruce Watson and Jamie Watson of Big Country resumed their cancelled acoustic dates performing rare Skids songs and Jobson’s post-Skids work, bringing out the folk hymnic anthems of the band’s repertoire.

Jobson related several stories from his time in The Skids, joining the band when he was 16 and trying to record 27 songs in the studio in one hour, of which only one came out well – ‘Goodbye Civilian’ – which they started their set on. He also reminisced about being on Top Of The Pops and befriending Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols, before performing ‘Circus Games’ from ‘The Absolute Game’.

The Skids then played the song that first got them airplay by radio DJ John Peel, founding guitarist’s Stuart Adamson’s ‘Charles’ which featured on their 1979 EP of the same name released on No Bad records. They also touched on their less successful period following the departure of Adamson with a rare performance of ‘Fields’.

Jobson moved onto his music post-Skids with The Armory Show which saw him playing with Magazine and Siouxsie & The Banshees’ guitarist John McGeoch, whom he shared a personal insight into both on and off stage. He performed their debut 1984 single ‘Castles In Spain’. The band ended their set on some of their well known earlier singles, ‘The Saints Are Coming’, ‘Working For The Yankee Dollar’ and ‘Into The Valley’, coming back from an encore of David Essex’s ‘Rock On’.

19/01/22: The Skids (Unplugged) @ 229 The Venue, London.

© Ayisha Khan.