Live: The Soap Girls, 50ft Woman, The Freakouts – Surya, London

There’s an anomaly in Surya that has to be pointed out.  The green room is the same size as the actual venue.  It’s a bit weird but at least it means the bands don’t play sardines trying to get changed.  The other notable thing about Surya is that the sound guy is called Simba and actually looks a bit like when they named him they knew exactly what he would grow up to look like.  What they can’t have foreseen is that he’d be a master at his craft.

The Freakouts on first seeing them look like they’ve just arrived via the local comprehensive.  Boyish good looks and a cheeky grin only get you so far though but this band have a lot more to offer.  For a start their songs have a lovely indie/punk edge that makes them perfect fodder for the universities of this fair land.  They have a vocalist who owns the stage and a bass player with real class.  It’s early days yet but The Freakouts rate an A+ for effort and a not too shoddy B for attainment.  Any band that can cover Song No2 and make it sound just a bit original must rate as winners.

When you watch an act as quirky as 50ft Woman you find yourself wondering how in the name of god they came up with the music they play.  It’s a bit like hearing new wave done with a vaudeville theme thrown in for good measure.  The real shocker is that it works so well.  While the band are granite like in their playing it’s frontwoman Minka who is the whacking great diamond in a solid gold ring.  The tightness of the band allow her to really show off her voice and moves at the mic which in turn means even newcomers to the band get drawn in by the show.  Edgy and unique 50ft Woman play music that will appeal to a wide range of people so expect much more from them in the future.

We all love a controversial act, something that shouts I dare you to come and see me.  The Soap Girls fall into this category courtesy of tales of on stage antics and a lack of apparel.  There was also an infamous incident where they were on the receiving end of a bucket of fake blood.  Something that those responsible should be ashamed of at least let alone prosecuted for.  The reality turns out to be two sisters who epitomise real punk ethic and real feminism by way of being honest and not caring a jot what others think.  Their music happens to be up there with the best too.  Sounding like grunge fell into a blender with many other genres the most notable thing when you hear The Soap Girls is that they play as one, the sibling connection is near psychic.  There’s a distinct lack of ego too with the drummer being deliberately brought into some of the stage moves.  Noemie’s touch on the guitar is wonderfully understated, a perfect foil to Camille’s rubber bodied performance on bass.  What is it with bass players having the ability to bend like this?  The four stringer proves to have an astonishingly good set of rock pipes too.  It’s that vocal and it’s clarity that is the cherry on the cake. This is a set of songs that show The Soap Girls aren’t controversial at all, they’re just very very good at what they do and maybe one or two people are frightened by that.  Before their set they had watched and supported the other acts (as the other acts also did) and after it they mixed with the audience for as long as people wanted them to.  If being controversial means being consummate professionals, playing great original songs to an appreciative audience and treating everyone with respect then The Soap Girls must be at the front of the pack.  Long may they continue to do things their way.