The Shacklewell Arms is a tricky pub to find, but as tonight they play host to Du Blonde tonight, I made it my prerogative to find it! The venue is a tiny dance hall at the back of the pub, the stage backed by a painted mural with Caribbean music scenes and a duo of small archways in which the drum kit is nestled. The stage is some 6 metres wide and half that deep, so it’s a tight squeeze for Du Blonde and her bandmates.
After being suitably warmed up by Southend pop-punk quartet Asylums, the sub 100 strong audience are eagerly awaiting the headliner’s appearance. At 10PM she takes to the stage, donning a faux fur coat and kicks things off with “If you’re Legal”. By the end of “Mr Hyde” she’s done with the coat and comments on the heat in the room. As it’s almost 27 degrees C outside, so it’s understandably hot in the tiny dance hall.
They drop a couple of new numbers including the yet to be officially named “Baby Talk” and she stops to talk a little about the tracks to the audience as a barman brings up a tray of shot glasses for the band. Her softly spoken Geordie tones are barely discernible but her vocals however are soulful and incredibly powerful, cutting through the instrumental backing with ease. Their performance is animated and the 50 minute set is flawless (if a little short for my liking). Their superb rendition of “Black Flag” stands out as my favourite number of the night.
It was a worthwhile show to watch and for those of you interested in seeing Du Blonde live in London, she’s playing another two shows at The Shacklewell Arms in the next couple of weeks as a part of her residency; on the 28th July and 3rd of August - what’s more is they’re free to attend, so you have no excuse!