LIVE: Plague Vendor / Bleach Blood @ New Slang, Kingston-Upon-Thames

By Ben Tipple

If you’re a long-time reader of PT, you’ll be aware that we’re quite fond of Kingston-Upon-Thames and its vibrant live music scene, engendered by record shop Banquet Records. This leafy London suburb has no right to have a scene as strong as it has, but it’s thanks to Banquet’s tireless work that this corner of Surrey has played host to a whole host of bands in its gigs and clubnights; chief among the latter being weekly indie club New Slang. Tonight sees New Slang celebrate its eighth birthday, replete with party paraphernalia such as a ball pit, musical chairs, pass the parcel, and for some reason, Slipknot playing in the annex room of New Slang’s venue, Kingston club McCluskey’s. However, before all that, some bands played; London’s Bleach Blood and LA’s Plague Vendor. Not bad for 8p in, eh?

Bleach Blood take to the stage first to a disappointingly sparse crowd; perhaps the young people of Kingston don’t like saving their pennies. The quintet, fronted by ex-The King Blues guitarist Jamie Jazz and containing Friends Of Punktastic Tom Aylott and Luke Godwin amongst their number, play a bright and riffy take on dance-inflected punk, slightly mismatched to Jazz’s lyrical matter of heartache and being unlucky in love. The material is a little workaday, but there are glimmers of the sunny vibes of Jazz’s former charges; the festival vibes are strong with these ones, reflected in its members appearing to have a whale of a time.

Plague Vendor, however, are a different proposition altogether. Whilst this is still punk rock, this is down-low and dirty, the Epitaph Records-signed quartet ripping through cuts from their début “Live To Eat”. While the vocalist’s studied “cool dude rockstar” moves (think the confrontation of a less naked GG Allin meets the nervous jerks of Ian Curtis) are offputting, the music certainly is not; whether your tastes lie in modern-day or old-school punk rock, there’s something for all and sundry here – think of a blend between Hot Snakes and Single Mothers with elements of Liars and Plague Vendor would be the result. The rest of the night is a blur of “People = Shit” and WWF moves in the ballpit, but the bands certainly provide a present for the ears on this joyous occasion. Here’s to many more years of nights like these, Kingston.