30 November 2019 (gig)
Westbourne Park isn't an area you'd immediately associate with sweaty rock 'n' roll but Laylow is a cracking gig venue. Having seen the impressive Hotel Lux there a couple of months back I was thoroughly looking forward to returning to check out Mice On Mars who'd caught my attention recently.
First up in the trendy basement bar are Surgeons. Very much still in the early stages of their career and with nothing yet online to whet the appetite, I had no idea what to expect. The young four piece kick off with a chaotic opener and then find their rhythm in the next few tracks that vary in styles from rock to shades of reggae with the deep vocals suiting the often dark contemplation of their music. It's early days for them but they've certainly got potential.
Mice on Mars take the stage next and immediately tear in to their crisp, stripped down post punk. The gritty, tinny guitar melodies and shouty, angst fuelled vocals are a theme throughout in a vibrant and high energy set. The vocals and lyrics could be viewed as dark but these are contrasted by the spirited delivery, the rhythmic spiky guitars and clever bass riffs which give off a harmonic and upbeat tongue in cheek feel.
Tunes like 'Phlegm' capture a vintage, sixties garage sound thrashed with post-punk rawness. My personal favourite on the night is 'Best Laid Plans'. It's entertaining and good fun and the set ends on a high with 'Paranoia' provoking an appreciative knees up at the front.
Well worth the journey to West London!