With support from Queen Kwong, Blood Red Shoes stopped off at Rescue Rooms to deliver an intimate and captivating performance.
When Queen Kwong walks onstage, she is alone. She sings softly, beckoning everyone in the room closer, slowly building, and when her band take their place behind her, and Prehistoric Blues reaches its crescendo, she knocks them all back. Waves of noise and distortion wash around the stage, creating an energy so chaotic that, if it wasn’t for her reaction, you wouldn’t believe that the intense feedback from her amp, lasting long after the song has ended, was because of technical difficulties and not just for effect.
The performance isn’t exactly polished, but it is something much better: entertaining. Collapsing on her back, slamming the life out of the whammy bar, straddling the speakers as she wails over static. It’s no surprise that she had to stop and ask the audience if anyone had any water she could have. As set closer Purrfiction approaches its long, drawn-out conclusion, the bassist and drummer leave the stage, leaving her hunched over, vibrating along with the music, singing in that same soft tone that she entered with, and it’s like the cycle is complete.
Blood Red Shoes are almost tame by comparison. Almost. The duo is here, with the help of a backing band, promoting their latest release Get Tragic. Despite coming out in January, which feels like years ago, the new songs are still fresh and exciting – the lingering Elijah opens the set, as they bathe in a cinematic green glow. Though singer and guitarist Laura-Mary Carter seems a little quiet, it only makes you want to pay even more attention.
“We’re gonna play some songs the old way” says drummer and vocalist Steve Ansell partway through the set, as the backing band take their leave, and the two of them rip into a barrage of violent older tracks like An Animal and Je Me Perds, with Laura’s scuzzy, gritty guitar and Steve’s thundering drums and yells. There’s even a couple of attempts at starting a pit, which, given the average age of the audience, is impressive.
The pacing is thrown off slightly by having to wait a while for the backing musicians Lins Wilson and James Allix to make their way back to the stage, but Steve manages to stall for a bit by talking about getting drunk on mulled wine that they brought back from Germany. He mentions it again after a longer than usual break before the encore, laughing that it took a long time to heat up. I Wish I Was Someone Better closes the show, and it’s worth the wait. It’s slightly disappointing that certain songs, like It’s Getting Boring By The Sea, didn’t make the cut (it also would have been the perfect opportunity to perform their collaboration with Queen Kwong Kid Don’t Be So Shy) but all of their newer material sounds just as good, so it’s hard to be mad about it. What Blood Red Shoes and Queen Kwong both proved is that a good show is not necessarily one that is accurate technically, but one that excites and captivates you, and that’s what they both did.
Words by Jacob Chamberlain
Photo by Jacob Chamberlain