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Rachel Stamp - Agincourt Rock Club, Camberley, 2/4/2004

  by Philip Vincent

published: 17 / 4 / 2004

Rachel Stamp - Agincourt Rock Club, Camberley, 2/4/2004


Goth influenced rockers Rachel Stamp flirted briefly with major label Warners in the late 90's, but now seem destined to playing small key gigs. Phil Vincent watches them play an empassioned set at Camberley's Agincourt Rock Club

You see I don’t really care what I look like. I happily tread the middle ground of fashion always being in but never up to date with it. This I find allows me to fit most crowds very well, apart from tonight’s. I think the words “Goth” and “Fest” just about do it with the headliner’s Glam/Goth influence showing heavily and bringing out some of the older inhabitants of the local scene, which I personally think is great! First up were Strobe 45 playing for one of the last times with their bass player Nicky before he leaves for fame and fortune playing for oddly enough Peter Andre. I can’t write how excited this band makes me. They are one of only a few bands that I fight my way to the front of any venue to see up close and they fill me with a sense of pleasure that leads me to funk my pretty little thing all the way to the PA desk and back. I don’t know what it is that makes these guys any better than anyone else. In their separate components they are no better than any other band but together they have a soul. You really feel that these guys are living what they are playing and this can’t help but rub off onto the audience. I suppose you could compare them to Rage Against the Machine but this severely lacks the description of how this band sound. If you get the opportunity get a copy of their EP or even better go and see the band live and indulge in a bit of musical vandalism. Following Strobe 45 would be a hard task for anyone but the sheer cockiness and testosterone/oestrogen power emitted allow Death Sex Symbol to carry this off. I like women, I like women a lot but I feel they very rarely are involved in good rock music. I think this is something to do with the mismatch of trying to look sexy in a genre where sweat is a key element to success. Tonight though if I hadn’t known better I would have thought that the lady up front had the biggest pair of Cohonas out of any of the bands tonight! She strutted, she spat, she smoked and she swore her way through the set but somehow there was a definite sense of “meaning it” instead of the already over-used pissed off female for fashion technique. On the downside this band were definitely image over material with their songs becoming quite similiar after a while, but then a band like this isn’t out to break new musical ground is it? The one thing that pushed this band up another level was the addition of a keyboard/synth player adding some very cool effects and random noises over the standard guitar, bass and drum setup. They finished by fulfilling my fantasy ending for a band like this by trashing the stage. This, however, was abated slightly by the verbal on stage bollocking they got from the sound engineer when they re-emerged to load out their gear. Last but by no means least were Rachel Stamp. This band lays claim to initiating my love with the alternative music scene after I saw them at a local gig some 5 years ago. The first ten minutes of their set I spent trying to stop myself being physically attracted to the lead singer/bass player whom I had seen earlier in the night and mistakenly took for being a woman and a mighty fine one at that! Once that was dealt with and I could once again concentrate with the job in hand I began to remember why I liked this band so much. They are good in every sense of the word, good songs, good voice and a good look even if it’s not to the current rock and roll taste. It's a shame then that after their brief flirtation with a major label deal with Warner in the late 90’s, they have slowly been condemned to the toilet venue tour circuit. Becoming a kind of sick cover band of themselves playing to please their hardcore fans or is it to appease the lead singer's undying sense of self-belief? Whatever it is the crowd loved it, visibly growing as the set went on and I’m happy to say bringing everyone from the Goths to the Emo kids together, having a good time trying to break the venue’s no moshing policy. (And if you have ever seen a doorman trying to stop 300 teenagers from doing this you will understand what I mean!) As was the same with Death Sex Symbol no new musical boundaries were being pushed but I think that Rachel Stamp's appearance at tonight’s show exposed a whole new generation to a style of rock that isn’t about wearing black, wearing your guitar slung high and screaming into a cradled microphone about how you hate your (insert hated subject matter here) which to me can only be a good thing.

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Rachel Stamp - Agincourt Rock Club, Camberley, 2/4/2004

Rachel Stamp - Agincourt Rock Club, Camberley, 2/4/2004

Rachel Stamp - Agincourt Rock Club, Camberley, 2/4/2004

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