On Saturday night Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds graced London at The Moth Club. It has been a few years and a different city/country since I’ve witnessed their unique beat poetry, twisting with psychedelic garage driven rock. For this show, I found myself in the striking intimacy of one of London’s more interesting venues and home to The Memorable Order of Tin Hats (a brotherhood of former South African former front-line soldiers). The interior of The Moth Club is adorned with pictures and military medals, with one wall sporting an army helmet as a lamp – celebrating its clubs history. The place reminds me of being in a sort of moose lodge that is dark and intimate, making it perfect for a night of weirdo rock n’ roll. To add to all the excitement, the DJ booth was even protected by chicken wire. The show’s occupant of the DJ cage and curator of vintage sounds, was none other than Jay Burnside of The Flaming Sideburns.
Kicking off the night’s show was Das Clamps. They are a stripped down, back to the bare basics female duo doing Cramps covers and Cramps inspired tunes. Their vocalist (who is just too cool) lures her audience towards the stage by saying “Come closer, come closer. I know you like good shit.” Das Clamps cover classics like ‘Human Fly’ and ‘Goo Goo Muck.’ It’s an act riddled with nostalgia for any leather jacketed gutter rat to know and love. Truly primitive, much like their idols.
In contrast to Das Clamps progressively edgy vibe, The Cavemen waste no time in dropping a radioactive atom bomb of sound onto their audience. These guys boast an infamous style akin to inserting live electrical wires into ones veins and cranking the voltage to deadly high levels. The result is like ripping open new wounds in a decaying society with a radical tenacity to blow out your eardrums. Songs like ‘Lust For Evil’ and ‘Dead To Me’ are wild and untamed. During their performance they seem to gradually lose their clothes as if their mighty sound melts them away. The conclusion of their set leaves a ringing in the ears— or possibly an onset of tinnitus.
Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds bring back the room to a groovy level. They played a sold out show. The audience was shoulder to shoulder with some standing on seats lined against to the wall to get a view. It’s a wonder The Moth Club didn’t push past the safety level of folks allowed in a room, as it took several instances of doing an inverted yoga tree pose to get from one part of the room to the other.
These radical displays of flexibility however were not noticed as Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey birds wall of psychedelic sound enveloped the room. It’s a style that invoked a Cramps plus Gun Club garage rock sound. They’ve got a sinister intensity that burrows into the mind and lets loose a feelings of wonderful depravity. This being said, Congo always remains sweet and humble. During the set they blast out tracks like ‘I don’t Like,’ and Gun Club covers of ‘For The Love Of Ivy’ and ‘Sex Beat.’ During the set they are joined briefly by Romi Mori of The Gun Club.
Overall Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds are well received. Compared to the previous time I saw them, they came across as tighter with a more rocking style and dare I say more confident. As they finished, DJ Jay Burnside started off the dance party with Wanda Jackson ‘Funnel Of Love.’ Most folks slowly trickle out into the London streets for whereabouts unknown. However a small crowd hangs out to dance to the records being spun. The party isn’t quite over yet.