Last night hopped down to trendy Hoxton to check out She Makes War at the Underbelly, a venue I have never visited. Wow! Art Deco meets punk seems about right for Hoxton Square.
I had arranged to interview Laura (aka SMW) before the gig, so sat through soundcheck taking some sound snippets for the podcast and then we had an insightful chat in the aromatic surrounds of the ladies loo, as she made herself up. I find gig preparation fascinating, and was impressed by her multi-tasking in applying quite large under-eye sequins while discussing her songwriting.
Then it was time for the gig, by which time I found myself under-powered, so sat in one of the plush chairs rather than standing at the front, which is my preferred position. The sound had improved markedly from soundcheck, though the buzz of crowd chatter still cut through, to my annoyance.
She Makes War is the epitome of DIY and came armed with electric guitar, acoustic guitar, ukulele and multiple pedals, all well deployed. Vocally, she was in fine form. I pondered whom her voice recalls, and it finally hit me: Grog, when she was in Flinch, all those years ago (not her present goth pomp incarnation). It has the same forceful, slightly mannered quality of a voice that demands to be heard.
Her looping technique is quite marvellous, building up layers of sound, both vocal and instrumental, and then breaking it down again. I found myself writing down snippets of lyrics, as well. She was joined for new single "In This Boat", by Mish from headliners BirdEatsBaby, the latter's keyboard adding little flourishes to SMW's guitar and vocals. Bodes well for the second album, due in April.