The Old Blue Last pub, just off Old Street is a descent venue, a 120 capacity pub and live music venue owned by VICE Magazine, having recently undergone a refurb. Sure the stage area is small and the dressing rooms a little neglected, but the atmosphere is warm, the toilets work and there’s something about the place that reminds me just why live music is so great.
The main reason I’m here is to see Little Fish, an Oxford based duo who have recently confirmed they’re a three piece with the permanent addition of their Hammond player, Ben Walker. Before they hit the stage, support act AWOLNATION threw an unexpected blistering thirty minute set. Hailing from America to promote their debut EP Back from Earth, and in good spirits, the band got a relatively meek crowd’s heads bopping and hips shaking. Opening with their fan pleaser Guilty Filthy Soul, their set merged dance beats, killer hooks and catchy rhythms, it’s clear this band have got energy, bags of charisma, and a hot lead singer. Off to a good start then, and one to keep an eye on.
On to Little Fish, who took to the stage after a swift set change, bringing out the bigger drums and bigger guns it would seem. Opening with the title track to their debut album Baffled and Beat, it didn’t take long for the room to fully get into the swing of the night. A couple of tracks in, and the floor was literally jumping with the crowd lapping up every ounce of sweat pouring from the stage. Lead singer and guitarist Julia ‘Juju’ Sophie never once showed sings of waning. Her vocals spilling over with raw emotion, it’s clear she absolutely loves what she does. The drums, courtesy of Nez Greenaway, thunder throughout the set, only letting up during the momentary softer close to a few tracks. Hammond in tow surges from back of stage through Little Fish’s explosive ferocity, bringing extra solidity to their sound, and allows them to sit comfortably above many other garage bands out there today.
Stand out tracks of the night include the vastly popular Darling Dear, Whiplash, and the sonically awesome Die Young, which confirms how far the trio have come, whilst retaining their classic stripped roots that scream a passion for conviction, since their debut EP Darling Dear last year. It’s tough not to compare Juju’s vocal ability and physical prowess to other women in rock, like Juliette Lewis and Courtney Love, both of which Little Fish have toured with, and why not? There aren’t enough women out there packing a rock and roll punch these days, and Little Fish aren’t scared to get their fisty cuffs out. If you like your rock hitting the garage mark hard, then head on down to their next gig and bring your dancing shoes. Brilliant.
Check out my interview with lead singer/guitarist Juju here:
Their debut album Baffled and Beat is out now and released on Custard Records/Island.
Copyright Willemÿn Barker-Benfield