The Black Tricks

Matt Churchill 18/10/2007

After hot footing it from the Water Rats, via King's Cross, to Kilburn's Good Ship, Hertford based quartet The Black Tricks lay in wait. A group who instil the grittiest of rock and roll in their music, are not for the faint hearted. An odd layout, with a tiny standing area in front of the stage that is surrounded by stairs and what is essentially a balcony, the Good Ship has a reputation for booking the best un-heard bands and putting them on a bill which, for 4, is a hell of a bargain.

Looking like a 70' New York rock band in skinny black jeans, tight t-shirts with fucking cool hair cuts, the foursome blend the Ramones, Oasis, The Clash and David Bowie into one sizeable bite. With tightly bound black leather jackets each, the band looked like they may kick off and cause riotous damage to more than the odd ear drum. Thankfully, their onstage personas are extremely different to their offstage personas; preferring a quiet chat over a pint to seeking some sort of Towers Of London-like excess.

There are many bands that attempt to create rock and roll in its purest form, The Ruby Shoes or The Skies for example, who have the attitude but lack the songs to ever 'make it'. The Black Tricks are quite different. As well as having a professional attitude to actually playing the gig, such as turning up, plugging in and 'having it', the songs are, although initially aesthetically shambolic, brilliantly crafted and full of hooks that a part-time purveyor of rock music might miss.

The band crashed onto the stage with one of the loudest opening songs known to man. A brutal removal of anything before them, lead singer Joel Hodge jolted fearlessly around the stage acknowledged by a small but perfectly loud enraptured audience. Leather jacketed fans watched on as the band tore through the serene surroundings of the Good Ship, stamping their feet in time to the raucous beat, frenetically pounded by drummer Ash Hodge. John Bisset's clever guitar-play was understated by any stretch of the imagination - this is NOT Spinal Tap - but effective without being indulgent. Strong basslines from Jeff Lucas added a steel to the songs that few other bands in this genre execute so well.

The set highlight was 'Hangin' On', a raunchy angst-filled three minutes of fast paced Glitterati-esque full on rock AND roll which starts with a single repeated chord before the rest of the band come in and bulldoze their way in and make it sound big enough for Wembley.

The Black Tricks are then, for all intents and purposes, more than your average garage band. There's something about them that indicates a much larger force is at work and that they should be playing to venues that are larger and busier. They will not be for everyone, but if you like bollock-tingling music that will make you feel positive, get sweaty and want to bang hard on the walls and cry 'more, more!' look no further than The Black Tricks.