On Saturday, May 10, UK duo Blood Red Shoes brought their rock n’ roll sounds to Strange Matter, accompanied by Missouri punk band Radkey.
On Saturday, May 10, UK duo Blood Red Shoes brought their rock n’ roll sounds to Strange Matter, accompanied by Missouri punk band Radkey. This show was something that anybody, especially punk and rock lovers, could have called pleasantly intimate.
Taking the stage at about 10:50 pm, Radkey started out on a loud and distinctive note. This band, composed of three brothers from St. Joseph, Missouri, brought an intense punk sound for the crowd’s enjoyment. Being a three-piece, they had all they needed to channel their own rendition of punk rock, obviously influenced by bands like the Misfits, and augmented by a great stage presence. The bassist, Isaiah, accompanied his playing with eye-rolling and convulsing on the ground, which could make an onlooker believe he was possessed by his music. At one point he was so into it that he invoked a nosebleed; simply putting a tissue into his nose, he continued playing without the blink of an eye. This mid-set injury had no effect on the way he provided a strong bass line for the rest of the band.
With about twenty minutes between Radkey and Blood Red Shoes, there was plenty of time to check out the merchandise, which was on display near the bar. The guy running the merch table sported a Ramones t-shirt, which went along perfectly with the feel of the night. Coupled with the intimacy of the night, Mr. Ramones t-shirt turned out to be Steven Ansell, Blood Red Shoes’ drummer. For a band that I and other members of the audience were crazy about, this presented an opportunity to have a relaxed and casual conversation with him.
At about 11:45 Laura-Mary Carter, guitarist/bassist of Blood Red Shoes, walked out of a back room and through the audience, wearing a perfect outfit complete with gold ankle boots and an oversized t-shirt. After a brief sound check, Blood Red Shoes began their set with no frills. A perfect embodiment of a two-piece alternative rock band, they channeled almost no influence from their Brighton, England origin, other than their accents. Both members displayed little evidence of jetlag while on stage. This was especially true of Steven. With an excited, bouncing style while playing, along with some standing on his stool, he made each person in the crowd fall in love with him. Laura-Mary had a more mysterious presence on stage, letting her hair fall in her face while slamming out memorable riffs from one of the five guitars she had along with her.
To my surprise and that of at least one other audience member, they did not end with what is arguably their most famous song, “It’s Getting Boring by the Sea.” It is featured in both the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and an episode of the UK based television show Misfits. This, however, did not deter audience members from enjoying the show. “I’m thinking of going to see them in their Philly show tomorrow,” a fellow audience member said after we talked about how the small number of people in the audience surprised us. Again being very personable, both Steven and Laura-Mary came out to man the merchandise booth after a very abrupt end to the show. After playing the last of a song that they said was written after having a crazy night in which they lost each other in New York City, Steven started breaking down his drums down before both walked off, leaving the audience yearning for more.
Although, as Laura-Mary stated, “[it] was a weird show” because of the low turnout and the state of complete jetlag-confusion members of the bands were in, it’s pretty likely that both Blood Red Shoes and Radkey will return to Strange Matter in the future to put on another blissfully deafening show. If you missed this one, you definitely should make sure you catch them next time.