Teeth & Tongue
I only first heard Teeth & Tongue while sunning myself at last year's Applecore festival and my ears pricked up at Jess Cornelius' fiery delivery and powerful voice. Cornelius has played several gigs at the Toff and its intimate confines are a great match for her and her two accomplices. It's heaving in here tonight, but a bit of sweat and stuffiness seems appropriate for the band's upfront, visceral sound.
Surrounded by chunky white pom-pom flower things, the band kick off with Walls and shuffle their way through their superb sophomore album Tambourine. Tonight proves to be a great showcase for Cornelius' commanding vocal delivery, but also her considerable songwriting chops. There's a tantalising Chrissie Hynde-feel to Unfamiliar Skirts, while some thunderous climaxes round out Rot On The Vine and the menacing Vaseline On The Lens. Sad Sun is a radiant closer to the set, while There Is A Lightness To My Bones from first album Monobasic makes for a soothing encore.
Cornelius champions the drum machine as an integral part of Tambourine's sound and sticks to having bandmates on bass and guitar against a drum machine backing. I felt that a live drummer could well have heightened this live experience, or at least given an alternative dimension to what they've already got recorded. When the live drums were tackled, they were practically mimed in time to the drum machine as if they were just a prop.
The drums were out in full force, however, for support band New War, who combined pounding skins with menacing basslines, stabs of synth and choppy vocals. A dollop of dub mixed in well with their sinister sound and made for a performance that was every bit as satisfying as the main act.
Liked: A consistently good night of music
Hated: Writing a review with a hangover
Drank: White wine