A Wednesday night is sometimes a tall order when invited to visit a peripheral venue to observe a group that frankly is completely unknown to you. The group in question is Hot Sauce Pony, and on discovering that said act had recently journeyed across the pond to record under the watch of the legendary US noise mechanic Steve Albini one’s reticence is immediately overturned. Shoes on then..
Brixton based Hot Sauce Pony are a peculiar assortment of individuals and on closer assessment, peering through the expectant air of a busy Aces & Eights basement room, the assorted members are no spring chickens either. This only adds to the mystique and your correspondent (no spring chicken either, Ed!) is soon enamoured amidst a swirl of guitar layers, and live loops, steadied by the hand of back facing guitarist Ross Davies. And as you can imagine, a band guided in some way by the aforementioned Albini, the sonic onslaught is immediate and arresting.
Songs entitled ‘Fog’ and ‘Crusher’ makes for a merciless opening salvo. Hot Sauce Pony is coming up alongside fellow south London ‘scenesters’ such as Goat Girl, Black Midi, and Phobophobes. Fantastic company and a weird and wonderful ramshackle of heads, that will for sure further endorse the South London scene in time. Hot Sauce however, possesses an extra curricular weirdness that gives way to an old school polytechnic, underdog chic. It could be a band made up from a Mike Leigh ensemble cast, enhanced wonderfully by a strong and emotive set of songs.
The frame-work of space and abrasion is skilfully aided and abetted by a rhythm section compromised of motor drummer Anna Dodridge, and Lemmy-esqe fuzz and growl operator Stephen ‘Stuffy’ Gilchrist right down to a slick Rickenbacker. Gilchrist is barn door of a man, his gigantic frame which includes a rampant MC5 hair do. It is a presence that dwarves and scales the fabled Rickenbacker down to the size a banjo-ukulele. Tonight he exceeds his role of sideman and very nearly steals the show when bare chested he takes on duel lead vocals on stand out number ‘What You Don’t Know.’ (Check that out, below!)
This is not to take anything away from front woman Caroline Gilchrist, whose vocals are fired straight from her heart and carries a shape shifting, mood enhancing intensity that is required at this level to keep the ever busy room pinned down and keyed in. Caroline is a disciplined musician who controls the room with a measured performance throughout. If this show is anything to go by then The Zine UK is excited for the release of debut long player.
Debut album ‘Hot Sauce Pony’ is released via Brixton Hillbilly on May 3rd.
More HOT SAUCE PONY?