29th March | Crofters Rights
Photos: Andrzej Zajac
After nearly a year away, The St Pierre Snake Invasion finally returned to the stage on 29th March, for a show that was supposed to mark Britain’s departure from the European Union. Of course, said departure didn’t quite happen, but this show was long overdue anyway. Ten months away from the stage is way too much for a band of such talent.
Of course, there are a few similarities between the story of Brexit and that of The St Pierre Snake Invasion’s second album. Both have involved years of pressure and wrangling. Both, according to singer Damien Sayell’s onstage assertion tonight, have had spells when they have looked like they might never happen. It does now look, though, that the hallowed second Snake Invasion album, Caprice Enchanté, will finally come out in June; there is, after all, a (brilliant) album cover photo and a verbal LP pre-sale doing the rounds. It’s no guarantee, of course, but it’s a hell of a lot more than what Brexit has got at this point.
After an excellent set from The John E Vistic Rock ‘n’ Roll Soundsystem, which was basically the aural equivalent of whatever the opposite of an exorcism is, on came the Snake Invasion, and they were clearly fired up and ready to open the next chapter in their story. This was exemplified when Damien took to the mic to call out his own wife for excessive talking in the audience during their set. Clearly, stopping the mindless jibber-jabbering during live shows is always an entirely laudable exercise, but daaaaaamn, your own wife? That shit will get you KILLED, boy.
This, though, really showed the determination of the band to make an impression on their first show back. This was very much a forward-looking set, with only three songs on display from their brilliant 2015 debut A Hundred Years A Day. On this evidence, the new album is going to be a significant step up on the heaviness factor, introducing more in the way of post-punk and even math-rock elements, less in the way of singalong choruses.
Probably the pick of the new songs were recent single ‘Remystery’, a jittery, jerky assault of a song, and the album’s title track, which veers from punk riffs in the verse to a booming metal chorus. The new record may not be as immediate as its predecessor, but it is going to be a terrific listen.
The band themselves were as tight as ever, with new bassist Sanjay Patel fitting in perfectly in his debut performance with the band, bringing energy and flair. Damien, of course, remains one of the most brilliantly obnoxious frontmen around, bemoaning the supposed gentrification of tonight’s venue (“tonight was the first time I have been to Crofters Rights and not had to specify that I want the lager that doesn’t taste of soap”) amongst many other targets. His brash boasting is tongue-in-cheek, of course, but one gets the sense that he is deadly serious about his art and wanting success for the band. With this new record, he may just get his wish.
Either way, it will be more fun than another six months of Brexit debates. We’re going to need all the brilliant music we can muster to get us through this lot.
See the video for ‘Remystery’ here: