Rachel Stamp
The Underworld, Camden, London, 13th April 2017

Rachel Stamp were everything that I ever wanted in a Rock and Roll band.

Seventeen years since I first saw them at the Princess Charlotte in Leicester, Rachel Stamp are back for one night only at The Underworld in Camden and it would appear the intervening years have just made them that little bit more, well… sexy.

Rachel Stamp always should have been huge. Go and listen to their debut album Hymns For Strange Children and tell me that not one of those songs shouldn’t have leapt up the UK top 40 in the late nineties and early noughties. Likely the band were their own instruments of destruction. They were probably a little bit too much for your typical TV or radio at the time. Always being two steps ahead of your Brian Molkos but just a tad shy of Marilyn Manson. Still, they did amass an incredibly dedicated cult following in their time, and it is likely these same guys and girls who are here tonight. Aren’t we just the best?

First things first. Nobody on this planet plays the drums with such enthusiasm as Robin Guy. You could just watch him throughout the gig and be thoroughly entertained. When he hits them drums, man, he hits hard. Will Crewdson, erstwhile guitarist and member of about fifty bands at any one given time, has not aged in the slightest. David Ryder-Prangley is all cheekbones and catsuits and hasn’t lost one bit of his rock superstar prima donna persona. And obviously Shaneena Dax is there, looking amazing and mostly just kind of surveying the audience like some naughty headmistress. At one point, she even breaks character and cracks a smile. Blimey.

The set is made up largely of tracks from Hymns for Strange Children with only Ladies + Gents and, almost unforgivably, Didn’t I Break My Heart Over You being absent. A few other early singles and B-sides are included too as well as a clutch of racks from their criminally under-rated second album Oceans Of Venus. Those Hymns For Strange Children tracks such as Dirty Bone, Spank and Take A Hold Of Yourself, still drip with the same sweat and sleaze that they did back at the turn of the millennium. Whilst the Oceans Of Venus era saw a slightly more grown up take on matters, songs like Superstars Of Heartache, Victory and, in particular the greatest hit that no band ever had, Black Cherry, still just rock like a bunch of utter, utter bastards.

What is perhaps most amazing about this show though is the crowd. These guys are all incredible. To see such dedication to a band that haven’t released an album in 15 years, and all but disappeared is great to see. I was expecting to feel old at this gig, but it was the youngest I have felt for ages. During Black Tambourine, David leaves the stage and walks to the back of The Underworld to let the crowd join him in the vocals whilst the band remain holding fort on stage. To still have that strong a connection having been away for so long is great. This wasn’t just a celebration for the band, but for us too.


Even though this was probably the longest show Rachel Stamp have ever played, it all came to an end too soon. I don’t know if they will be spurred on to do a few more shows or whatever although that would likely prove difficult as each of the band are always busy doing their own things. However, if they did it would be great to get those tracks for the uncompleted third album Ravenous out somehow. If anyone is unfamiliar with Rachel Stamp, go check them out on YouTube or however you do things, and see if you come to the same conclusion as me:

Rachel Stamp are still everything that I want in a Rock and Roll band.

Words: Richard Bull
Pictures: Graham Bates


Monsters Of The New Wave
I Got The Worm
I Wanna Be Your Doll
Superstars Of Heartache
Dead Girl
Take A Hold Of Yourself 
Brand New Toy 
Starburst In The Triffid Nebula 
Pink Skab
True Love
Dirty Bone
Black Tambourine
Stealing Clothes From Shelley Barrett
My Sweet Rose
Hey, Hey Michael You’re Really Fantastic
Jet Black Supersonic
Black Cherry
Calling All Destroyers