Live Review: Warmduscher at Village Underground, Shoreditch

Warmduscher have seen many iterations since their inception, with band members hopping in and out. At a New Year’s Eve party in 2014, the group assembled for the first time as a makeshift live act – as if a group like this could form any other way. Their third LP Tainted Lunch is the grooviest they have ever been. It is undoubtedly filthy funk. You test the waters with your finger, then your hand, your arm, and before you know it you fully sink into the half-hour record. And then you take a shower.

It is no surprise to previous listeners of the band that its members adopt pseudonyms for themselves. Led by “Clams Baker Jr”, who introduced the others as “Lightnin’ Jack Everett”, “Quicksand”, “Mr Salt Fingers Lovecraft” and “the Witherer, aka Little Whiskers”. At this point it came to mind that these invented caricatures must ease the musicians into their more extroverted stage personas.

Their entrance on stage would have been perfectly ordinary if not for their extravagant outfits. The lead singer, Clams Baker Jr, was a man furnished in an all-white cowboy suit topped with a Stetson, Aviators and a washcloth draped around his neck, as if he had journeyed to London on his prize stallion. The others were a collection of sideburns, berets, boot-cut jeans and long leather jackets, certainly a rare image for a London-based group. Parallels can be drawn between the costumes they wear and the music they make. They have no reason to wear what they wear, in the same sense there is no valid reason why their music is so good, but they embrace their outfits and their best skills to write catchy, trashy funk unashamedly.

Few tracks off Tainted Lunch are longer than three and a half minutes. A half-hour record is certainly on the short side, matched by a set that also felt cut short: with three albums’ worth of tracks one might feel let down by their brief performance. But Warmduscher offer a high-energy experience. It would be safe to assume that for those in the mosh pit or the lucky few brought on-stage to dance along, a part of you would be secretly hoping for respite from Warmduscher’s sleaziness after a while.

 

Despite its brevity, Tainted Lunch is packed with instant underground hits. ‘Midnight Dipper’ stops you thinking straight. Its bass-line is as punchy as its percussion. Songs like ‘Grape Face’, ‘Blood Load’, and the title track ‘Tainted Lunch’ are written with grungy guitars that growl at you like an unwelcome guest. Amongst the rest of the track-list, ‘Precious Things’, ‘Tiny Letters’, and ‘Burner’ seem like unusual choices to include as they each branch into different genres but they at least show the scope of Warmduscher’s talent.

Warmduscher are evidently underground sensations and live are a fantastically great time, if only the music suits you. It seems unlikely that a band this nonsensical will ever reach mainstream ears, but they have developed a dedicated fan-base which will let them live their dream for years to come.

Review and photography by Byron Gamble
warmduscher.co.uk

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