Dry Cleaning at the Roundhouse

I had decided Dry Cleaning were now too big. I don’t do Brixton Academy. I don’t like large audience gigs. You spend half you time being disturbed by some idiot in the audience and even at the front, you feel miles away from the stage. With Brixton closed, Dry Cleaning’s Brixton gig was moved to the Roundhouse. A much more appropriate venue for Florence’s subtle performance so I decided to grab a ticket.

Opening the evening was Thus Love. I knew nothing about this band. Reading about them afterwards, apparently they are a queer pop punk trio. Singer, Echo Marshall, also plays some enthusiastic guitar. Guitar wise was it was a good performance. Vocally, I found the voice too low in the mix and couldn’t hear any of the words. As an overall performance, it was enjoyable, but I would like to catch them in a small venue when I can hear them more clearly.

Chicago’s Dehd didn’t suffer from sound issues. Both guitarists provide vocals. Emily Kempf, has a great female rock voice. I really liked her voice. Jason Balla provides a counterpoint with grunge era vocals. Completing the trio is an emotionless Eric McGrady on standup drums. I was really impressed by the band. The two vocal styles really worked well together.

The Roundhouse had filled up nicely by the time Dry Cleaning came on stage. Florence taking up her usual disconnected demeanour. Staring off into the distance making subtle facial expressions as she talks ‘matter of fact’ about the mundane and weird world her persona lives in.

On Gary Ashby, Florence asked the audience if Gary Ashby was in. Apparently somebody with that name had cheekily and asked if they could be put on the guest list. Despite lots of shouts of yes, we were left with no idea if the person had made it.

I thought the Roundhouse as a venue, might have avoided the big crowd idiots from turning up. Unfortunately a small number were in attendance. Mainly youngsters, they spent the entire evening trying to mosh and crowdsurf, including to Dry Cleaning’s quiet songs. Many of them bawling out the lyrics, drowning out Florence’s subtlety. While it is great that Dry Cleaning has found a younger market, they deserve the success, they aren’t a moshing band and drunken shouting is not exactly what I wanted tonight. So the gig was slightly spoiled for me.

Despite the noise around me, Dry Cleaning owned the space. The set leaned heavily on their latest album, Stumpwork, which sounded great live. As always, Tom’s swirling guitars were underpinned by Lewis’s driving bass lines. Combined they provide the framework to allow Florence to tell her stories. They now have the sound honed to perfection and despite playing for 90 minutes, Dry Cleaning’s novelty, never wore off.

It has been a great ride from the Shacklewell to the Roundhouse but it is time I stepped away and let the kids own the band. These larger venues don’t work for me. Hopefully, I will catch the band playing smaller stages at festivals or future album in-stores. They are such a good band. I will be sad to let them go. But the Roundhouse proved that the audiences at future gigs are likely to restrict my enjoyment.

  • Kwenchy Kups
  • Gary Ashby
  • Viking Hair
  • Hot Penny Day
  • Her Hippo
  • Leafy
  • Stumpwork
  • No Decent Shoes for Rain
  • Goodnight
  • Don’t Press Me
  • Conservative Hell
  • Liberty Log
  • Driver’s Story
  • Strong Feelings
  • Unsmart Lady
  • Magic of Meghan
  • Scratchcard Lanyard
  • Anna Calls From the Arctic