The Spirit of the 60s in Our Time

Gig Review: Violet Fields at the Old Blue Last, London

“I play blues. These guys play rock and roll. See if we can work it out.” These words were spoken by the guitarist of the opening band on the bill, power trio the Noonday Parade. I’m not at all sure that they did work it out as although they showed that they could play well in a variety of styles, including some reggae touches, it struck me that they were demonstrating what they were capable of rather than playing coherent songs. The sound wasn’t well-balanced and the bass guitar was pretty much lost in the mix but they still went down well enough with the audience.

Flare Voyant were next on the bill and it took them two or three songs to really get into their joyous polyphonic stride. They had an extra member for a couple of numbers in their nine-song set, and the scantily-dressed young woman concerned could well have been described as a go-go dancer back in the 60s. It was noticeable that they got the most applause for the song when she first appeared. Wisely she didn’t stay for the remainder of their set as a very good band might have ended up looking like a backing group for an exotic dancer. Still, the Beatles did that in Hamburg and it didn’t do them any harm. Their set was mainly composed of originals with covers of the Yardbirds’ ‘Stroll On’ and Sam and Dave’s ‘Hold On I’m Coming’, and they also got a decent audience reaction.

Violet Fields have been together since 2014 and were formerly based in Berlin but have recently relocated to London. They comprise Coco on bass, very Doorsy organ and vocals, Joe on guitar and vocals and Federico on very concise and laid-back drums. Their 60s-influenced original songs were sung in English and I really enjoyed the atmosphere they created, but unfortunately due to the sound mix I could barely hear a word of their lyrics.

Violet Fields at the Blue Last 5.5.18 (2)

Coco’s bass was nice and loud and was the lead instrument much of the time, which blended and contrasted well with Joe’s choppy, spooky guitar sound. Their look certainly has more than a flavour of the late 60s, with Coco’s green velvet jacket and Joe’s very long hair and hippy hat. They were onstage for around 45 minutes and played six songs. As they were last on the bill, the audience had thinned out and for a couple of numbers there was virtually no applause, which was a shame as they deserved more and are definitely worth seeing.

Violet Fields at the Blue Last 5.5.18 (3)

This gig was the launch of their new single ‘Memories’, which was the final song in their set, and is one of the tracks on their debut EP ‘Blooms’, which is coming soon.

They have no gigs planned in London at present, but you can keep up to date with them on their Facebook page.

Ian Mole is a teacher of English to overseas students and a walking tour guide in London, specializing in music-related tours.


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