The Servant Jazz Quarters has been the scene of many a wonky night out for some years now.
It started off as a beastly squat, then became an underground garden centre and eventually coughed into its current life as a progressive speakeasy-style bar and venue for the post-hip, slightly older denizens of Dalston, east London.
Tonight sees pop auteurs Lone Taxidermist and performance noisers Wrangler sprawling a glorious mess of sonics and Dadaism across this collapsing basement.
First up are Lone Taxidermist, fronted by singer Natalie Sharp (pictured), who delivers wry and “slutty” songs about staggering pissed across London and ketamine landscapes viewed through a kaleidoscope of funk, electro and glitch.
A mutating Chocolate Factory of deep bass and occasional Kate Bush vocals, Lone Taxidermist could be described as mash-up of 21st-century CAN and Jefferson Airplane, with an infectious and witty verve which sets them apart.
The deep, moody tunes seem at odds with Taxidermist’s personal affability — they don’t take themselves seriously but it’s clear that their music is everything to them.
Heading up the night are Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder’s new project Wrangler. Mallinder’s vocals are mangled through space by Phil Winter of electro folk pioneers Tunng and the ambient Benge, last seen quite inexplicably supporting the blistering Venetian Snares some years ago.
As one might expect from a coupling of such button-pushers as Winter and Mallinder, the set is provocative, occasionally deliberately artless and oppressively loud — the hallmarks of “true” punk.
While Phil Winter’s live vocal treatments for Lone Taxidermist are carefully held back to accommodate the over-arching tone, they go well and truly bat-shit by the time Wrangler get involved — this may not be everyone’s idea of a winter night in.
First published in the Morning Star