You’ve got to love the random controlled chaos of the regular Antifolk nights that are a mainstay of the 12 Bar’s musical staple diet these days.
Last time I went to one there was an acoustic punk band with a Bez-like character jogging on the spot, naked. It’s not advisable to stand within spitting distance of a man with a wildly oscillating member. However, if bouncing, full-frontal nudity isn’t your thing, this evening was toned down in comparison. Skiffle-punk-rockers MILK KAN were headlining a bill that comprised the weird, wonderful, and downright bloody pissed off.
Onlookers were initially confronted with a punk/folk band, SERGENT BUZFUZ. Well, confronted with their legs and feet to be precise [for those who have never been to the 12 Bar – the room is split by an oversized balcony, effectively cutting the view of the stage laterally in half].
This band employed a dulcimer and cello player, to a devastatingly hypnotic effect. The gravelly vocals, edgy melodies, sharp drumming, and ethereal dulcimer fitted together like peanut butter and jam on toast. Even in the tiny cramped venue, the dulcimer created eons of space – shut your eyes and you could have been in the centre of a cathedral. Seriously, go see this band if you get the chance, they are brilliant.
Singer/songwriter KEVIN 2 SHEDS gave an entertaining, sardonic and angry performance. He is quoted as "Once having snorted Ajax in a DHSS only bedsit with David Bowie and Jilted John" [Antifolk.co.uk], so you get the picture. Great stuff.
Eventually, on came MILK KAN, in all their flat-capped unironed-trousered scruffy-T-shirted glory. The cramped stage should have been claustrophobic, but the noise they created just blew the roof off, they were dynamite. Four sweaty, loud geezers, Milk-Kannin the crowd for all it was worth. It was a joy seeing the silhouettes of heads, feet and legs of the big ball of gleeful mosh pit rolling around at their feet.
They pelted their punk/skiffle/hip-hop/folk/Chas and Dave noise at us full force, the tangled mess of legs and arms spilling onto the stage, nearly swallowing Simon’s (Vox, guitar) microphone stand… actually, nearly swallowing Simon come to think off it.
Good, old fashioned, gratuitous moshing; reminding me of the glory hay-days of T-shirt indie pop (CSM, the Neds, etc), where everyone wore stripey tights and Doc Martens, spending hours leaping around with wild abandon, looking a bit silly but having a blast. Which, by and large, is pretty much Milk Kan’s ethos.
And, it’s catching. Milk Kan are going to be supporting Jim Bob from CMS, not to mention the Violent Femmes at the Shephards Bush Empire, in the very near future, thus proving my point. These geezers can lift the ceiling from any given venue – but I’d urge you to check them out at venues such as the 12Bar before these guys go intergalactic, which if they carry on at this rate is an inevitability…
[Info on all the bands in this review can be found at www.antifolk.co.uk]