review archive

The Warlocks – The Monarch, 3rd February 2003

Monday night and it’s bleedin’ freezin’ out. Still, Kitten pulls on her sparkly woolly hat and heads off dahn The Monarch (or the Barfly as it keeps inexplicably calling itself these days) to join the throng eager for some freaked out Californian nastiness. Either that or they’re all here for headliner Har Mar Superstar, but who wants to watch a bloke in his pants doing karaoke? Especially when you can see that for free at home.

Be-denimed guitar demon

The Warlocks have got all the right moves, it’s an oft-travelled path, but this band have obviously mugged up on drugged up, blissed out, skanky, skaggy satanic majesty at the University of Rockology. You know, where everyone wears a flowing, thread-trailing scarf Keef-style and never quite got over their teenage Velvets fixation (naming your band after an early incarnation of Lou Reed’s happy band can be a bit of a give-away here).

As the seven of them set up, cute keyboard girl Laura climbs offstage and in a bizarre and embarrassing rock incident gets her foot stuck in a plastic milk-crate. Be-denimed guitar demon Corey asks us for a light, which we are happy to provide courtesy of the handfuls of free XFM lighters that have been liberally scattered about the place. Sadly, he doesn’t appear to be able to smoke and play guitar at the same time. How rock and roll is this? Not very. But no matter ‘cos once The Warlocks get going the sounds are where it’s at.

pouty lipgloss and big eyes
Ahh, the sounds of 1988. This is very Spacemen 3, slowburn dronerock - floating in a sticky, sickly world of deeply bass-y warmth as sparks of joy detonate in your veins. Two drummers drumming add to the mesmeric quality and create a heaviosity that at times scrapes the lower reaches of Loop’s stratosphere. Two drumkits and three guitars, ooh you are spoiling us (plus eyelinered up boys, oh goody). The band creates a cool spectacle, making their music, shaking their thing.
Cro-Magnon Neil Young
It’s the same old story where the chick ends up with the keyboards and tambourine option (see also Dandy Warhols, Vue) whilst the blokes get to have all the guitar fun. Look, a Vox wah-wah like on the front of ‘Fucked Up Inside’ by Spiritualized. Still, Laura is pulling her best Jennifer Herrema schtick all pouty lipgloss and big eyes ‘neath a heavy fringe. Singer Bobby looks like a frighteningly Cro-Magnon Neil Young, brow-ridge protruding from curtain-hair, but without the interesting voice to match. In fact the vocals kind of go by the wayside round these parts, they’re not particularly noticeable, sometimes they’re not there.
psychedelic whirl

The Warlocks have sprung from the same seam of wigged out US trippy drugrock as The Dandy Warhols and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. In fact it’s all a big psychedelic whirl with The Brian Jonestown Massacre at its evil epicentre. The crucial point is, that The Warlocks sound fantastic with their big fuzz bass, primitive garage grind and deep, churny grooves, whereas The DWs are well, boring (one of the only bands I’ve ever walked out on) and BRMC, so far, just don’t cut it.

We get a gorgeous deepdown muggy mantra glittering with stabs of trebly guitar and of course the obligatory lovesick, dopesick lullaby, sounding like JAMC’s ‘On The Wall’. The Warlocks weave a cosy web of dark fancies. It’s lovely. I want more. Now.

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