Tess Parks & Anton Newcombe at Oslo Hackney
Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe’s set at the Oslo Hackney begins with the clear intention of establishing a new sound, built from their previous works. Newcombe, frontman of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, has been on the music scene since the 90s, working with bands such as The Dandy Warhols and the High Dials, but Parks is relatively new, and delivers fresh-sounding, sparse vocals to the classic band combination.
The lighting is simple, with the performers standing underneath its glow in a line at the front of the stage. Though not moving a tremendous deal from their original positions, the band retain intense concentration on the music that they perform, closely engaging with their audience.
The standout track is the slow, progressive anthem German Tangerine. Parks’ vocals send the audience into a trance, whilst the guitars superbly carry both rhythm and melody. The song comes to a close with an affected wobble of the final notes, underlined by whoops of genuine delight from the crowd.
It’s perhaps Cocaine Cat that summarises and represents the two artists’ collaboration at its best: a disturbing calm permeates the track conveying a sense of discomfort and latent violence.
In line with rock concert tradition, the band pays tribute to one of the acts that inspired their collaboration, playing a cover of The Doors’ classic psychedelic anthem Five to One.
The night, overall, is a success in both its writing and the performance of the music. The set list is confident, however songs lack identity from one another at times. This is not a problem: the sound created is good enough to hold its own, live and recorded.
Photos: Nick Bennett
Watch the video for Cocaine Cat here: