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Review: 'Wasted Youth and West Wickhams'
'Live At The Water Rats, Kings Cross'   

-  Genre: 'Punk/New Wave' -  Release Date: '17.3.23.'

Our Rating:
The Wasted Youth second adolescence re-emergence continues apace, they have become one of the real joys of the last couple of years live, so I was extremely happy to be able to see them playing at a venue as legendary as The Water Rats, as they deserve to be on a stage that once featured among others Laurel & Hardy and Sir Laurence Oliver as well as one of the first meetings between Lenin and Stalin, although I would never compare Ken Scott and Rocco Barker to either of those double acts. We went into the gig room just behind original Wasted Youth Keyboard maestro Nick Nicole that gave me a little hope that he might join the current line-up for some of the set.

First on were the West Wickhams who are the first band I've reviewed who come from Tresco in the Scilly isles, they are now based in Richmond, they are a duo of Jon Othello and Elle Flores who were promoting the bands Magenta ep.

They opened with Kick The Habit about trying to get off Smack and Methadone as Jon sang about how messed up he was, his birds nest hair was shaking around like it had its own shakes, as Elle added some very minimal keyboards, it sounded like Jon was just playing his lead guitar lines, leaving the rest of the band to the audiences imagination, so you could fill in the drums, bass and other guitar in your head.

Nothings kept this pattern up as Elle seemed to be striking foreboding poses more than playing, but the loops and washes that were added to Jon's guitar helped flesh things out a bit. He's Acquired A New Face should have had the stage covered in dry ice and heaps upon heaps of reverb, echo and effects to really go mind meldingly psychedelic, as was hinted at through the guitar lines Jon played.

Consider Her Way added some drum machine and more forceful keyboards to the guitar as Jon did some jumps like he was in the middle of a huge arena, the passion was clear. Turning Into Someone Else could easily be about the high as a kite and straight versions of this bands character, it also had a very cool guitar solo.

The Sentinels had a darkly robotic feel to it, as the guarded lyrics told another tale of life on the edge. They closed with Masculin Feminine Hot Jump that allowed Jon to Jump a few more times as he hit power chords, this also felt like the catchiest song of the set.

After the break it was time for Wasted Youth to play a full set rather than the festival set we saw at Portobello live a whole 10 days earlier. They opened with Maybe Well Die With Them sounding deliciously dark with Rocco Barker and Josef Rozam's guitars intertwining in perfect harmony.

Ken Scott welcomed us all and told us we would now be taking a trip to Paris France with them as they stormed through this classic that got everyone going, wanting to hang out with those dirty French boys once more. Games told its story of fun and frolics with someone who didn't even tell you their name set against the dark brooding death rock backing.

The classics kept coming as Housewife had some great twitchy energy as Ken delivered the lines as if he meant every last word, as the line You're Such A Housewife sounded like a devastating put down.

My Friends Are Dead didn't get to me quite the way it did at Portobello Live, it did still get me thinking of some of my lost friends, this time with Kings Cross associations, by this point in the set it was clear that Ken was right, that they weren't firing on all cylinders at Portobello live, as they'd switched up a few gears to make this totally monumentally brilliant.

If Tomorrow kept the intensity up, I think this was the first song that Ken swung his cane up so he could prop it on the ceiling. Jealousy is what anyone who hasn't seen the re-formed Wasted Youth should feel for those of us lucky enough to see a band this great in such brilliant form as this.

Man Found Dead could have been for any number of people found in the Kings cross area over the years it was dark, dangerous and thankfully Ken's synth was working perfectly to add to the doomed feelings.

Ken then told us they were playing the next song live for the first time, after just one rehearsal session at the weekend, as they launched into Here I Go that stuck to the Wasted Youth formula of dark gothic romanticism crossed with hints of tragedy just around the corner.

Then Josef started to play the riff from David Bowie's Stay as the band went into Rebecca's Room as Rocco and Josef shared the lead lines built over the imperious bassline.

I Wish I Was A Girl was a brilliant sing along that got everyone going as it should do. Ken then tried to get Nick Nicole up onstage, but apparently he had gone off to continue his Wild And Wandering lifestyle, so was missing in action once more, as they closed the set with a monster version of (Charlie & Harry) Survivors Part 2 to leave us all wanting more.

They came back on and opened the encore with a brilliant cover of the Wet Leg classic Chaise Longue, which is not a song I'd expected them to cover like they used to cover The Velvet Underground, it was a really good fun reworking that got lots of us smiling, before as usual they finished with a rumbling version of Do The Caveman to make sure that any of us that had also been at the Portobello Live show knew just how great Wasted Youth still are live. See them if you get a chance.
  author: simonovitch

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