Gallon Drunk at Rough Trade East
From their birth in the 1980s, Gallon Drunk have inspired a wide array of different artists, ranging from PJ Harvey’s early work to The Horrors. Front man James Johnston has been part of a collection of bands, most notably Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Faust, but Gallon Drunk is the one that he has stuck with. Their latest record, The Road Gets Darker from Here is the first release from the band as a trio since the unfortunate death of bassist Simon Wring and their experiences and emotions are clearly displayed through the seven songs on the album.
Live, Gallon Drunk is a living, breathing monster. Johnston’s energy is infectious and courses through the room like a ball of electricity. As he moves around the stage, entangling himself in the microphone cables and waving his instruments in the audiences’ faces, it is impossible to break away and you find yourself completely immersed in the songs and the figures performing.
There is something different about Gallon Drunk’s music compared to any other bands’. It could be the intense drum beats pounding in the background of every song, the saxophone interjected throughout the songs that adds a slight bluesy feel to the gig, or it could be Johnston’s brooding vocals that spread through the room like treacle, taking over the audience’s senses and transporting them to the sinister world where Gallon Drunk live.
The set, whilst being somewhat short, was mainly comprised of material from their newest album The Road Gets Darker from Here. The songs are filled with raw emotion, which can be seen in both the recorded and the live versions of the songs. On the album, the lyrics illustrate the deep, dark sentiments that inspired the album and live, it seems more like a cathartic experience than a simple show.
Photos: Victoria Erdelevskaya
Listen to Hanging On here: