My mate Mark Jeffries is a connoisseur of music and if he says something is good you know its going to be pretty darn good! Mark is south London based and tells me the music scene is thriving there and churning out some pretty hot bands. So on his recommendation I found myself at The Social not knowing what to expect.
On arrival we were greeted by a mop of blonde hair and a big smile, “Hi, I’m Sasha”. (Well what can one say when as soon as you arrive you are made to feel so welcome – goes miles and miles in my book). “Well hello, Sasha I’m Celine” and without further ado I sneaked him out the back to meet him properly.
Sasha Adamczewski is the brains behind this night hence his rushing around. Sasha’s band Sasha and the Shades have had an ongoing relationship with the venue for quite a while. They did a support gig for a band called Red Rum Club last year and that was through Johnnie Mac who Sasha describes as their guardian/manager. Johnnie knows Heavenly quite well and this is how they managed to get a residency at The Social.
Sasha loves the venue because – “It’s quite intimate and great for bands that are newer to the game.” He explains: “When you’re starting out it’s quite intimidating especially when you’re trying to get numbers to a gig. This venue is great and as a full room can be anything from 30-50 people.”
He describes that tonight they are essentially a convergence, there are many things that change from song to song which for him is the freedom of not being signed yet. “If you were to pigeon hole us it’s a convergence of blue collar rock. This category comes under bands like Bruce Springsteen’s East Street Band, just kinda good time rock and roll. There’s also a straight classic punk aspect like The Ramones and also as it’s expanded a slightly poppier punk kind of like Blondie and sort of Meat Loaf with a touch of blues Doctor Feelgood which creates a melting pot of sounds and influences.”
The night opened with a top DJ set from Margo Broom who they consequently know from doing some sessions with her in the producer’s chair at her studio filmed by John Clay called ‘Clark Kent’s Rock and Roll Revue’, which is available to view on YouTube.
The talent seems to run in the family with the Adamczewskis as our new-age, feminist poet and MC Vida (who was very quick to point out she could be the Mistress of Ceremonies) elegantly entered the stage. Adorning a beret and long golden plaits you could feel she naturally exudes an old head on young shoulders. Trust me, what she really exudes is a strong feisty soul. Her delivery was hypnotic and so beautifully written. A mad woman in the attic who opened with an apt poem ‘Artists’. We were fed an assortment of her undoubtedly excellent poetry. MC? Nah, personally I would crown her the Mistress of Words!
This did not prepare me for the opening band ‘No Friendz’. They rolled onto the stage like a big ball of fire. Imagine if T-Rex met The Stooges. With a click of the fingers they had me just like that. I was totally mesmerised. Splurting guitars and tribal drums they could have fallen out of the big punk circus tent. They certainly know how to spark and energise a room. Fast, insane, revving banging beats. Their front man Angus ‘Steakhouse’ Knight is the Master of Frenziness as he tumbles in polka dots and running mascara. ‘No Friendz’ are a band you must check out!
I noticed that the room was now heaving and everyone was getting extremely excited for the band of the the night Sasha and The Shades. The crowd were dancing within seconds and all eyes were transfixed. All of their songs jumped out at you but my favourites were Jet Black Jelly Jed, The Sun, Shut The Back Door and their new single Down Below.
Smoky, gravelly, outstanding lead vocals, thick lashing bass from Sam Rutland, flawlessly tight guitars from Sasha and Tom Julian-Jones and strong ripping drums from Jason Ribeiro and beautifully fluid backing vocals from Eli- Rose J Sanford.
The show closed with a cover of ‘Gin Song’ which was brilliant and brought a surprise guest appearance from Saul Adamczewski of Fat White Family fame to come and join his brother for the encore on backing vocals.
So who’s the man holding the reigns behind this golden stampeding chariot? Why of course, master of talent and top showman Sasha Adamczewski!
Words Celine Hispiche
Editor Mark Jeffries
Photography Jeff Moh
Sasha and the Shades next gigs are
12th March New Cross Inn
23rd March Headlining at the Birds Nest, Deptford
30th March Le Truskel Paris