Taking a band as gloriously feral as The Orwells and letting them loose in a venue as small as The Wardrobe is just asking for fireworks. With support from London animals Dead Pretties and a new barrier freshly installed to manage the crowd, the night was destined to be a mad one.
Dead Pretties sauntered onto the stage, plunging straight into heavy basslines and sultry guitar riffs that were stickier than The Wardrobes floor. Frontman Jacob Slater flew about the stage with uninhabited ease, whilst Ben Firth’s pulsing cymbals and Oscar Browne’s buzzing bass pulsated through the room. Mic stands fell, drum sticks snapped and excitement bubbled as Dead Pretties effortlessly warmed up the atmosphere.
Despite it being two years since their latest album, Disgraceland, the hype for The Orwells has definitely not died. Pits swirled into a frenzy as the Chicago garage rockers kicked off their set with brand new single ‘They Put A Body In The Bayou’. Using the barrier as his stage, frontman Mario Coumo, cherubic with his knotty blonde hair, magnetised the crowd. As the wailing opening riffs of ‘Dirty Sheets’ blistered across the room, the whole crowd fell into complete unbridled carnage.
Even through the new songs, no one stopped to breathe. Cuomo teased the swarming crowd as he reached for fondling hands, emulating a sweaty Creation of Adam. The blistering set saw broken microphones, pit fights and lost shoes, with the security guards getting more irritable each second. Sleazy 2014 favourite ‘Let It Burn’ saw the first of many crowd surfers, and later Cuomo himself lurched into the sea of sweaty youths for set closer ‘Southern Comfort’.
Cuomo left the stage, leaving the band to close the set with their loose garage rock. Given the savagery of the night, this was a bit of an anti-climactic end, with the crowd pleading for more with chants of Stooges lyrics “I wanna be your dog”. Yet, the main room lights were switched on and, just like that, the night was over.
[image: No Shades Photography]