LIVE: The Coathangers / Night Shades @ Moth Club, London

By Glen Bushell

One of the best things to happen in 2016, is that after being a band for nearly 10 years, The Coathangers are getting a lot more attention. Maybe they just weren’t on our radar, but now, we can’t get enough of this raucous trio from Atlanta, GA. After hearing their staggering fifth album, ‘Nosebleed Weekend’, released earlier this year, there’s no way we were going to miss their whirlwind stop in London at the glittering Hackney venue, Moth Club.

With this being the only UK date on their European tour promoting ‘Nosebleed Weekend’, Moth Club is already quite full from the moment the doors open. This means that tonight’s opening band, London town’s very own Night Shades, get to peddle their wares to a decent sized audience. They are somewhat of an unknown quantity, with very little material under their belt, but they certainly make their presence felt. Their garage punk howl is attention grabbing, and they know how to make a noise. If they keep things going this way, we will be hearing a lot more from Night Shades in the future.

Of course tonight’s show really is all about The Coathangers, and rightfully so. Decked out in their trademark matching clothes and jet black hair, The Coathangers are a gang. For the hour they are on stage, they tear through twenty songs at a lightening quick pace, making it feel like they only play for 15-minutes. Their career spanning set makes you want to shake your hips just as much as it makes you want to start a bar fight. One moment they make you want to smile and laugh, the next you feel like sticking your middle finger up to the world.

The more rounded, concise songs from ‘Nosebleed Weekend’ are brought to life in the live setting. ‘Make It Right’, ‘Watch Your Back’, and ‘Perfume’ sound razor-sharp, cutting through the heat that is gradually rising in Moth Club. The combination of Rusty’s frantic drum beats, and Meredith’s slick bass rhythms keep their controlled chaos tight. While there is no leader to in The Coathangers gang, guitarist/primary vocalist, Julia, shines as if she was born to be a rock star. She is utterly charming whether she is reaching piercing high notes and shrieks, or snarling her way through ‘Follow Me’, and ‘Springfield Cannonball’.

While some of their songs have a dark nature, probably how The Shangri-La’s would sound if they were covered by the Ramones, The Coathangers also know how to have a whole lot of fun with their music. They switch up instruments from time to time, with Meredith taking the lead on deep cut, ‘Nestle In My Boobies’, and Julia trades her guitar for what looks and sounds like a dog toy for the irritatingly infectious ‘Squeeki Tiki’.

Tonight, The Coathangers absolutely owned London, and had the crowd in Moth Club in the palm of their hands. They aren’t the most technically proficient, or probably even the most original sounding band on the planet, but this is punk rock and they don’t need to be. The conviction these ladies play with, and the fact they look like they having the best time with their music, make The Coathangers one of the most exciting bands around today.