published: 9 /
At the Lexington in London, Dastardly watches rising indie stars Desperate Journalist come of age at a launch gig to promote their eponymous debut album
"I like gigs where there’s just one solitary punter dancing down the front..." So began my last Desperate Journalist live review, back in October 2013. Tonight our lone enthusiast might not have even got in as the Lexington is heaving. "Sold out," says the band’s manager. Just to clarify he’s talking about the venue, not the band. And he’s right. Their rise has been earned step by step. "Organic," says their label boss. Just to clarify he’s talking about the band not the excellent beer on sale downstairs.
‘Control’ opens the set and within a matter of seconds the first monumental hook has breathed out of singer Jo Bevan’s mouth, “It’s like a hole in my head,” she sings as momentarily the band are drowned out by the deafening sound of the audience collectively thinking, "Savages with songs".
Former single ‘Happening’ showcases one of the Journos trademark red herring intros. For those old enough to remember putting a record on - I’m sorry HI KIDS!- it’s a bit like playing a 45 just after an album when you’ve forgotten to change the speed knob. Bluu blah blurg.. VuuurrrP! That’s better. What impresses most though is the way they handle the slower ones. ‘Wait’ is built round an epic bass line from bassman Simon. It’s so mauve, Uncle Monty might say and somehow like you’ve always known it. How does that happen, eh ? You genuinely can’t imagine not having heard that riff before. Surely. Something similar yes but not this exact one. This one is their one. Hmm, intriguing.
Guitarist Rob Hardy - I’m mentioning his surname so you can get used to trying it out next to Marr, Levine, Greenwood - hammers out crowd favourite ‘Cristina’, and sets up the final coup de grace perfectly as last song ‘Organ’ gallops in like a Sunday afternoon episode of 'Black Beauty' on methedrine. It’s their first bona fide classic and at the end drummer Caz looks like she’s recoiling from the drum salvos. There’s a feeling of triumph in the air, as well as a cartwheeling punter’s legs.
Desperate Journalist have got here tonight not on anyone’s terms other than their own. It’s true there’s a far bigger crowd in a bright ice blue 'X-Factor' TV studio somewhere making a far bigger noise but there’s nothing quite like the sound of an audience recognising a band is coming of age in front of their eyes.
Desperate Journalist, you are through to the next round.
Have a Listen:-