SHE MAKES WAR / ANDY RUDDY Tuesday 25th November 2014 at the Old Queens Head, Islington
My record collection seems to be narrowing as I get older. Pretty all much all I’m buying these days is punk and certainly all the gigs I go to are in that category. So what am I doing in the Old Queens Head in Islington on a Tuesday night listening to She Makes War playing a Uke? Simple really, I love her work and have done so for a good while now. I think it started when I saw her video for Slow Puncture which has a street art theme (not to mention polar bears and Star Wars Stormtroopers). It’s a beautiful song and got me intrigued so I invested in a CD album and was struck by the DIY ethic she has and the way she connects with her fans. Anyway, to cut a long story short, having ‘attended’ a few online gigs I finally had the opportunity to see her live shortly after she had finished a long tour with The Levellers. First up, however, was Andy Ruddy, a singer songwriter from Bradford. Having overcome a few problems with a lack of sound from the accompanying keyboards he quickly had the audience on side and received a warm welcome. There was a great atmosphere all night and his gentle songs and good humour seemed a big hit with the crowd.
She Makes War (aka Laura Kidd) describes her music as gloom-pop, certainly there is much talk of issues with ex boyfriends but it’s never depressing. It’s just fascinating to see how she fills the room with sound, recording loops live and setting them running, building up layers and then even leaving them playing on stage while she walks around the room singing though a megaphone on ‘Delete’. Personal favourites such as the aforementioned Slow Puncture and Scared To Capsize are perfectly formed songs and are spellbinding to hear live. The Old Queens Head feels like a front room tonight. I don’t know anyone here, I’ve gone to this on my own but it doesn’t matter a jot as we’re all sitting or standing quietly captivated by what’s going on. Laura explains how she likes to work as an independent artist using social media and crowd funded projects to work collaboratively with those who appreciate her music. In fact her new album Direction Of Travel is being created in exactly this way. There are no barriers in the way between the artist and her audience and a real self reliance to what she does. That’s a pretty punk attitude – maybe I’m at a punk gig yet again after all. I loved it and I know I’ll be back again.
She Makes War at the Old Queens Head, Islington