Words: Colin Franklin
Photography: Paul Inkersole
We venture out on a very warm Halloween evening to a familiar venue with a different name. Indigo (formerly Bar Hooga) plays host to a Shakster Records evening featuring two bands we have been looking forward to seeing for some time, Chelmsford based Ska-core punkpop band Up & Go and Colchester based Electrodirt band Killatrix.
It being Halloween Up & Go have certainly entered into the 'spirit' of the occasion by dressing up as the cast of Scooby Doo with Lead Vocalist Georgia Thompson as Velma, Guitarist Lee Storey as Shaggy, Bassist Jono Bundock as Scooby Doo, Drummer Adam Sanders as Fred, Trumpeter Sean Canning as Scrappy Doo, Trombonist Iain Peat as a skeletal Ghoul and Tenor Saxophonist Laura Sammons as Daphne.
Up & Go introduce their set with their own take on the Doctor Who theme, before launching in to the first of their own compositions Poison, Poison, Tasty Fish. In her introduction to 'Yes, It's a Real Genre'. Georgia describes the band as 'SkaCorePopPunk'. There is very little not to like in their sound, infectiously catchy punk pop tunes delivered for the most part at a frenetic pace.
Next song PSYCH! starts at a break neck pace and contains some nifty brass work that bring to mind 80's SkaPunk pioneers Fishbone. Next the band take time out to bring us their version of current chart topper All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor and a pretty good job they make of it too. This is followed by 'I'll Start With Me, Then It's You' which perhaps best showcases Georgia's powerful vocals, even if she does get slightly potty mouthed in the choruses.
After a brief merch alert, all too soon we come to last song 'There Is No Dana, Only Zuul' which suits the evenings spooky theme with it's Ghostbusters reference and is probably our favourite tune of the evening. We defy anyone to come away from an Up & Go gig without a smile on their face and heartily recommend to get along to see them at your earliest convenience.
Killatrix make their entrance to an audio montage sampled from iconic horror movies including Halloween,The Shining, & Poltergeist before launching in to their first song 'Dumb', a track we are very familiar with from their Soundcloud page. The band have had a pretty productive year so far with not one, but two performances at V Festival, along with some select club dates.
Essex bands have a long history of embracing technology, from Depeche Mode's pioneering use of MIDI and sampling to The Prodigy's computer aided fusion of Rave and Rock. Killatrix continue this tradition, supplementing their bass guitar and drum format with pre-recorded stems operated by drummer Paul Fuller. However these are mainly deployed for intros and outros playing a minor supporting role, there is no doubt the band could easily pull off a gig without them.
Staying on the subject of technology both guitarist Sam Scarlett and bassist Chris Frizbee employ fairly complex rigs, (gear geeks should head to the bands YouTube channel for some explanatory vlogs on the subject).
There are not many bands where the bassist has a pedal board to rival the guitarist and the fact that Chris is plugged in to a rig which is probably more powerful than tonights PA system means there is no shortage of bottom end at their disposal. In situations like this where the drums are not mic'd there is a danger of them being drowned out but thankfully the way Paul Fuller attacks his kit ensures this is not a problem.
The appropriately titled 'Bones' is next, which as well as a typically catchy chorus contains a very tasteful guitar solo executed by Sam with a Slash like fluidity that reflects the high level of musicianship displayed by the band.
'Bad Language' takes the tempo down a touch with a grinding bassline underpinning the chorus to great effect, this is followed by 'Overcome' which combines a Drum & Bass feel in the verses with an upliftingly rocky chorus.
There is a brief pause in procedings for a photo opportunity before the band play future single FRFGHT. This track sees Chris making effective use of an electric upright bass which contributes to the drum & bass feel of the song. A video for this track is in the works and as with their previous video for 'Supersonic' will be a shoe-in for Video Of The Week on the strength of the song alone.
'Falling Off' was an early video from the band and possesses a dub like feel as well as providing plenty of opportunity for front woman SinDii to stretch out with powerhouse vocals that belie her diminutive stature.
Penultimate track 'SufferKate' is a new one on us, but even on first listen seems to be up there with the rest of their material and subsequent play backs of our review recording proves this to be the case.
This brings us to final song of the evening 'Supersonic' which was our introduction to the band via Peter at Shutupfool Studios in Kelvedon who also produced the rather nifty accompanying video.
Killatrix are certainly one of the best bands we've seen recently and have a collection of songs strong enough to take on the world.