@ The Faversham, Leeds
In a final push for exposure, The Gossip have worked up a UK Tour and a Jonathon Ross TV appearance where Beth Ditto’s attitude requires editing. You go girl! Despite appearances, The Gossip have been around a while - they’re on their third album – but UK success has eluded them. Single ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’ went a long way to crack the reserve of us Brits with its cunning political rallying point and stompy disco rhythms. The Faversham, a student music bar in Leeds, is packed tonight and anyone catching a glimpse of the band is lucky. Me, I prefer to have a little wiggle instead, you know, it’s just three people on stage but a mighty beat.
The club is all 70’s wood effect, strangely future retro, and despite being ‘Club NME’, isn’t a ‘club’, just three bands and a disco after. The venue crowd is a bit different, more glam than rock and there isn’t that beer, fags and sick smell of a ‘real’ venue…. The Gossip are a three-piece and work it to advantage, stripping the sound down. They start out with a rolling thrash and Beth turns up the heat. She’s a round woman, poured into a green dress that accentuates the shimmy. She pumps up the beat with her arms and exudes a magnetic confidence and sex appeal. The bass is round and rubbery, the drums heavy on hi hat and cowbell alongside a triggered disco sequencer. Then the bass is swapped for guitar and Beth starts some chat, gently mocking the room for being like a talent show. Her voice is a soul voice – tight and punchy with a healthy overdrive. I’m reminded of the power of Lisa Kekaula’s voice (Bell Rays, Basement Jaxx) as her body shakes to the drums. She seems to be channelling the beat; she doesn’t lead the band – I can see her frame being shaken by the drums then fighting to impose the lyrics on top, a fight she wins.
The crowd is packed tight and largely immobile, staring at the top of the band’s heads. A wander in the crowd deconstructs the face front situation and Beth disappears into the mob before leading a chant ala George Clinton:
“Who don’t give a f…,
We don’t give a f…”
Onstage, Bruce Paine on guitar waves his axe up and down like a cleaver, adding colour to the drums and declaiming. A mere 40 minutes later, leaving me wanting more, The Gossip are off and I am shaken and stirred.