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I've been following the progress of alternative choir Gaggle for sometime now - I loved their single 'I Hear Flies' and on the basis of that I went to see them perform in Hackney - but it was only a few weeks ago that they finally got round to releasing their début album From the Mouth of the Cave. I was lucky enough to be one of the people who received a copy before it's official release and I was gob-smacked, this album is unlike anything you've heard before - it's original, fresh, and challenges the idea of how a choir should be.


With this in mind, I was very excited to have the opportunity to attend the album launch and witness how the album translated to a live performance. For those of you that have yet to experience Gaggle in any form or shape, I urge you now to go and seek them out and see what they're all about. I promise it will be worth it.


The launch took place at The Village Underground in London, a hidden away venue down a side street with no clear indication of the venue's name anywhere to be seen. Inside, there's a bar where you can't actually see what drinks they have without looking at a menu and a cloakroom area, then down a few steps is the main performance area, a tiny room which on this occasion was completely packed out, and as a result extremely hot!


The first act to perform was AE/EA, a performance artist that sang/spoke over a nightmare sound-scape while creepy projections reflected behind him. It was an interesting concept but I got the distinct impression that most of the audience didn't really get “it” (including myself).


Up next, the new project of Ash's Charlotte Hatherley - Sylver Tongue. Sylver Tongue are a four piece band consisting of three women and a male drummer. Charlotte is the front-woman and she does it well - there was a certain intriguing aura about them. The music was dreamy electronica mixed with rock, quite a similar feel to Ladytron. Despite the aura, I felt like there was something missing from their music; the dynamic just didn't quite seem right. It felt like they could have been better than they were.


By now, the anticipation was high for Gaggle to take to the stage. Creator and composer/leader of the gang Deborah Coughlin was the first to take her place, trying to shuffle in amongst the packed room and create a space to work in. Shortly after, all the girls of Gaggle started filling up the stage. They had new colourful outfits, whilst still sticking with the robe and head-dress combo that they always take in order to not place importance what their bodies look like, and all with blue lipstick applied to their lips, more in a tribal fashion rather than conforming to the typical expectations of what a woman is meant to look like, especially on stage - just one of many things that make Gaggle so unique and interesting.


The set consisted mostly of the more upbeat and accessible tracks off the album including 'Happy is the Country' and 'Power of Money' appropriately dedicated to a certain Mr. Bob Diamond. The music was played from a laptop and the only instrument on stage was the drum kit - “woman”ed by drumming Gaggle Sara.


The whole set felt vibrant and fresh, Gaggle have a powerful presence that simply bewitched the audience. With each song the energy just seemed to get stronger and stronger - I especially enjoyed their take on Black Sabbath's ‘War Pigs’ and album track 'Gaslight'.


Gaggle left devastatingly catchy single 'Army of Birds' until near the end- getting the biggest cheer from the audience, before finishing off with slower but appropriate 'Leave This City'. Unlike the previous time I saw them, there was an encore of their 'big show tune' 'Hello Spider' - by now the girls lipstick was smeared all over their faces, and their joy at performing was radiating off them as they fired confetti cannons into the audience. The joyfulness was contagious, I wanted to be part of their gang!


Everything about the gig was fantastic and a great way to celebrate their amazing début album - Gaggle surely are set to take over the world, as they employ more and more women (and men) into their 'Army Of Birds'.


Review by Hayley Foster Da Silva


www.gaggle.tv / sylvertongue.com / www.aaeaeaa.com

Live Review
Gaggle
w/ Sylver Tongue + AE/EA
@ Village Underground, London