LIVE: Ringo Deathstarr / Fever Dream / Violetic @ Electrowerkz, London

By Glen Bushell

There is often a lot of talk about shoegaze being a negative term. For the most part, it’s easy to see why, and really has nothing to do with the style of music. However, there’s no denying the impact it has; helping identify a scene of bands and their playing style. No longer is it “The scene that celebrates itself” as it was branded in the 90’s. It has seen a huge revival in recent years, with countless pioneers reuniting, and more bands worshipping at the altar of Kevin Shields than ever before. While they do very little in the way of staring at their feet (and as storm Barney prepares to batter London town) we are treated to a fine evening of beautiful noise from Texan trio, Ringo Deathstarr.

First up are Bournemouth’s Violetic, who unfortunately suffer from technical difficulties for the duration of their set. It visibly takes its toll on the band, but they power through. When they hit their stride and the sound is right – their moody, Cure-esque ambience shows a great a deal of promise. Following them are hometown heroes Fever Dream, who clearly have a few fans in the audience that remain transfixed on the stage. Once again, they have a few technical battles, but as their sound flirts with cascading walls of noise and pop melodies, it fills every inch of the room.

While tonight’s headliners are setting up their equipment, it would appear that sound is generally an issue for everyone tonight. Ringo Deathstarr appear frustrated as they try to get the levels right, but once they get going that doesn’t appear to stop them. Launching straight into ‘Frisbee’, they play at an ear-splitting volume for the duration of their set; however, this is not noise for the sake of it. New songs from their latest album ‘Pure Mood’ carry just as many dreamy hooks of beloved tracks ‘Two Girls’ and ‘Chloe’.

The set is filled with some of Ringo Deathstarr’s best work, and while they eschew some of their “hits” so to speak, the huge guitar riffs and bassline’s of ‘Girls We Know’ and ‘Never’ crash into one another in mesmerising fashion. The dual vocal of Alex Gehring and Elliot Frazier shimmer over the cacophony of drummer Daniel Coburns wailing. They start to wind down with the psychedelic fuzz of their latest single ‘Guilt’, that has a mind-bending guitar solo in the vein of The Smashing Pumpkins, before ending their aural assault with a blistering take on ‘Tambourine Girl’.

While the influence pioneering bands My Bloody Valentine and Ride is redolent in Ringo Deathstarr’s sound, they stand out more than their contemporaries tonight. By drawing from other areas of alternative music, and at times sounding like Fugazi covering The Velvet Underground on acid – they show they are much more than a shoegaze revival band.