Scarlet Soho - Live

The Wedge - January 2006

Images by Mark Holloway

Words by Tommy L

A quick question to begin with: Who would you pick to support Razorlight? There must be countless generic indie bands across the South who'd comfortably warm up a crowd gagging for Johnny Borrell’s new material, right? So it’s more than a little surprising when only keyboards are brought on stage and three beings from a quasi-futuristic past (commonly known as the 1980s) enter the arena. Teutonic detachment abounds as they shuffle asymmetrically until a gargantuan guitar riff threatens to blow the roof off the Wedge. Instantly a communal ear takes notice and as though in some kind of mass indoctrination we’re instinctively dancing and singing along. We know little about what’s happening, and less about what’s coming up, yet that doesn’t seem to matter as chant-along choruses flow effortlessly between the band and the crowd. Through dirty bass-lines, electronic beats and squealing synths this is music with a neon glare, countered by an overtly seedy underbelly. Shifting a nonchalant gaze from the audience to one another and back again, over a looped beat, it’s clear self-assurance is no issue within the group. And when you do happen to catch their glance, such is their paralysing cool it may as well have been from Medusa. As the band drop their instruments and depart, leaving a drum-loop still running, an uncertainty as to when to applaud broke out. But when silence finally came it was instantly shattered by rapturous cheering. So, with the band’s melodies still swimming in my head, I waited for the main event with a warm glow and the peculiar realisation that a booking agent knew more about what I wanted to hear than I did. Still, fact is sometimes stranger than fiction, particularly in the world of Scarlet Soho.