The Shadow Project/Rats As Big As Dogs/Electric Youth Revolt/Rusty Keys,
Washing Machine @ The LP, Bury St Edmunds, Thursday 19th January 2012

This was my third Washing Machine and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my prior attendance, it’s that, whatever your musical leanings, there will be something that interests and excites you. It’s like a musical bowl of pick’n’mix with all the shit ones taken out, like the Blackjacks and the fake Mini Eggs that taste of plasticy sugar. Particular highlights from last month’s soiree include Kate Jackson of Long Blondes fame’s fabulous new project, aptly named The Kate Jackson Group, and my new favourite act ever ever ever, Cathedrals and Cars.

Therefore it is with deepest regret that I confess I missed the first band of the night, BurySound 2011 runners-up Rusty Keys, but before you judge me, it was for a really good reason: I went to Tesco to buy a copy of NME and a My Little Pony. When I arrived tardy, I felt I had let down not only myself but also the good readers of B-Side; however, co-organiser Seymour excused me by admitting that starting times are flexible and I have it on very good authority (from Mrs Seymour) that they were “energetic young boys”.

Next up were Electric Youth Revolt, who have made a name as one of the most hard-working acts in the region, with a gig list to prove it. The effort is evident in their Brit-rocky performance, which is a marked improvement on the last time I saw them live in Southend. Although front man Neil has a natural confidence, his pleas with the crowd to edge closer to the stage went largely unheeded, leading to him finally begging, “We might be sweaty, but we don’t bite!” Despite Neil’s showmanship and a proficiently-polished performance of instantly hooky dad-lad-rock, I felt that the set needed a bit more danger and spontaneity to really capture the hearts of the assembled crowd.

Rats As Big As Dogs are something of a Bury-based supergroup, with members of Glory Glory, Volunteers/Chevette and The Vitamins. They are gritty, grimy, scuzzy, sweaty, sharky, snotty, chugging, buzzing, snarling, discordant joy, coated in multilayered monotone shouting. The “singer” (Volunteers/Hardcore Hobbies mainman Jay Mills) breaks the trade descriptions act. Of the lyrics I can decipher, I hear “This is something for everyone” – again, incorrect. But they are, however, dripping with charisma and fabulously good fun.

The night was brought to its fantastic pinnacle by the gorgeous The Shadow Project. Just to clarify, I repeated the “The” because the band often get confused for a defunct 90s goth band of the same name minus the prefix, and a 90s goth band The Shadow Project are not. For an instrumental act that spend the duration of their set gazing diligently at their shoes, they are surprisingly compelling on account of their impressive textures and mesmerising percussion. In their own words, they pedal “ambient, experimental electronica” which soothes the assembled audience after their Rat-induced heart palpitations.

So that’s it for this Washing Machine. Next time: The Kabeedies. Bring it.

Words: Anna Dobbie
Photo: Rats As Big As Dogs by Dale Batchelor



Review reprinted with permission from
B-Side Magazine