Clan of Xymox @ O2 Islington Academy

Review & Photos by Howard Gardner

The long-running one day indoor festival returns to London, at the O2 Islington Academy once again.There was a more traddy-goth sort of line up by comparison to last year’s festival, and this time the Academy’s mezanine level had been turned into a scaled-down version of the Alternative Bring & Buy Sale (more usually spotted at the Dome in Tufnel Park) which was a nice touch and gave us something to explore between the bands.

I’m sorry to say I missed the first four acts. What I can however say is that:

Rhombus
I’d not seen this Manchester-based band before, but they sounded as one would have expected from their appearance; solid, no-nonsense gothic rock. The audience were still relatively sparse when they first took to the stage, but the auditorium slowly but steadily filled through their set. Regular vocalist Mya was absent, but was temporarily replaced by ‘Red Fraggle Rhombus’ who seemed to do a great job in her place.

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Lahannya
The tone became a lot more metally with the next act; Lahannya, fronted by their eye-poppingly rubber-clad vocalist.

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Again,it was possible to tell pretty much exactly what you were about to get when this Anglo-German four-piece got up on the stage, with hair rockers flanking and a solid wall of guitar and Lacuna Coil-style vocal power abounding, with a hint of industrial bleepiness for texture. I really enjoyed this act and will look out for them more in future!

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The Eden House
The first time I saw this band play, last year, they were in the dauntingly huge (ten thousand-ish capacity) Agra Messehall in Leipzig, Germany, and that was only their second gig! This was due, in no small part, to the band being formed of seasoned former members from Fields and other esteemed bands on the goth circuit; their reputation preceded them right from conception.

However, I think they were understandably a bit nervous. There was no sign of nerves this time, as they’d clearly found their feet in the intervening months and they delivered arguably the best set of the night. Solid guitar riffs clashed against violin and ethereal female vocals, which were delivered alternately and together by Valenteen and Amandine Ferrari. Fantastic stuff!

They’d obviously brought a lot of devoted supporters with them, as the audience was going completely mental during this performance, which either added to the enjoyment or made it a little bit scary, depending on how close you might have been standing in relation to the moshing area; I was right at the front and picked up a few collateral bruises, but it was all worthwhile.

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Clan of Xymox
I’ve been a fan of this band’s music for as long as I can remember, but have never regarded their live act as a must-see. While tonight’s performance was anything but disappointing (all the faves from their catalogue get played, except for ‘A Day’) the band is characteristically static on the stage and apart from a few English/Dutch addresses to the audience from Ronny Moorings there was little to distinguish tonight from other times when I’ve watched them play. The still looked and sounded great, although I wouln’t say they entirely lived u pto my hopes tonight.

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In all, a good evening anyway, and one which I’m sure I’ll be coming back to next year! One of the great things about seeing gigs at the O2 is its close proximity to Slimelight, where a lot of us headed to once the fun was over…

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