HH Vox Empire 02

Vox Empire, © Jon Buck

 Mikey Jonns’ This Feeling nights have fast established a legendary status for the place to be. His promotion of up-and-coming bands has showcased more winners than the Godolphin stable, with deserving plaudits from such luminaries as Noel Gallagher and Serge from Kasabian.

Saturday Night at The Queen of Hoxton was one from the top drawer – four bands from the corners of the country with quality written all the way through like the lettering on Blackpool rock. First up was a two-piece crew from Hammersmith, Cassels. Brothers Jim and Loz taking the stage with “I’m a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm.” Iggy is in the building, and for a minute we’re back in the boonies of South Vietnam toting an M16, graced with a great cover of ‘Search and Destroy’. The two brothers work their socks off, a necessity when the stage members are less than the norm, and pound out a sound that bears a decent resemblance to other 2-piece successes that the late John Peel would approve of. After the opening cover they run through a fine set of their own material including musical masterpieces including ‘Avarice’; ‘Aphids’ and ‘We Wander’, before finishing with their current single ‘Seasick’. Smart duo, check them out.

HH Cassels 02

Cassels, © Jon Buck

Brief beer break over, then The Turning take the stage. Warmed up by the sounds of Toots, The Specials and sharp as a seersucker jacket cut slim and checked, the quartet from Chiswick launch into opening numbers of ‘Running Out of Time’ and ‘Bad Boy’. Luke Mclaughin’s leading vocals (and guitar), swim harmoniously amongst the cutting ker-chang of the power chords and tunes emanating from an eclectic set of musical Kinks/Beatles/Small Faces influences. His partner Dave Bardon on lead guitar strutting stage front like a youthful Wilko Johnson with Ruben Kenton-Harris on drums and Louis Gilbert on bass powering up the wall of sound. There’s a message for you from every one of those musical moments mixed up into a raw energy and the sound of the now as they turn headlong into ‘Kansas City’ and a fine cover of Otis’s ‘Shake’. ‘Too Much Monkey Business’ and another great cover of the Undertones’ ‘Get Over You’ give McLaughlin a vehicle to showcase his Celtic crooning and likeable lyrical lilt as the band hit their straps with 110mph great rock and roll, a tonic for Saturday night that finishes with a veritable triple-vodka, belting finale with a rocking version of The Kingsmen’s  ‘Louie, Louie’. As the dog says..“oh yes”.

HH The Turning 02

The Turning, © Jon Buck

From London lads to thoroughbred Northern mongrels, The Swiines are one of those bands that instantly prick up your ears and make it an unmissable in-your-face musical experience. Hailing from Nottingham and Derby, Scott Bugg, Adi Young, Rory Black and Daniel Taylor have built a hard core following of support that faithfully trekked down the M1 and filled the front of house in eager anticipation. Scott tears into the opening ‘Matter of Time’ and the zone takes a vertical leap to a new level as his snarling menace of tuneful exhortations build brilliantly around Young’s searing riffs and Taylor’s thumping drum cadence. Black’s bass an omnipresent strand to the beat as the numbers keep coming with the unapologetic lean towards skiffle, and the excellent current single ‘Love is Blind’. Further Squire-esque solos change tempo, and hit the packed house like musical shards, with Bugg’s barely controlled venom belting out through ‘Bent City Roller’ and ‘Scary Mary’, singing and snarling as a man possessed, like Vinny Jones on speed. The softer, subtle rhythms of ‘Back of Your Mind’ bring the set towards an end, culminating with the brilliance of the modern day classic ‘Stonefaced’, proving that Scott and the The Swiines (“with two ‘i’s”) have long been writing great tunes whilst younger cousin Jake was still learning to strum. A mighty set that has the place buzzing, including that lad from Clifton in the audience.

HH The Swiines 04

The Swines, © Jon Buck

Headlining and bringing down the curtain are Vox Empire. Hailing from Southend on Sea the exemplary standard of the night’s billing in pure indie rock and roll is maintained by this energetic 4-piece with Matt Linnen on lead vocals. ‘Brains and Brawn’ belts out defining their tight musical ship, Matt leading, ably supported by the guitar/bass duo of Jonny Davies and Jordan Wiltshire. ‘Streets are Cold’ follows with a lead-in to the mighty fine mid-set offering ‘Lovers Fall’.  Do yourself a favour and catch a listen, the Southend throng do just that and party hard, the decibel highlights resonating sweetly and loudly in the rafters of the Queen of Hoxton basement. Shake your bones music that’s made for a Saturday night finale. Powering on behind Sam Harris 4/4 beat Vox Empire conclude with ‘Sold Your Soul’ and ‘Close Your Eyes’ before an aptly titled closure ‘Home’. A belter and a blistering night in the zone. Get on down to This Feeling and catch some now zone time now.

HH Vox Empire 07

Vox Empire, © Jon Buck

Want music to soundtrack your time on this website? Listen to Hooting And Howling Radio.

 View a gallery of photos by Jon Buck below:

About The Author

Jon Buck

Bucko - Yorkshire Yob, guttersnipe and champion of the underdog. Former miner, masquerades as a management consultant by day and music/sports fanatic with a camera when the moon is out.