Casual Nun + Deafkids @ The Shackwell Arms

Date: 27 June 2018
Review by Bob Davidson
Photography by loki



I’ve never been a fan of football. Something about it seems antithetic to the alternative scene to me (I’m aware this makes absolutely no sense, it’s just how I feel). This made having to sit through the Iceland/Nigeria game somewhat irksome before the music started (pretty sure there wasn’t a whole lot of Icelanders nor Nigerians around, either).

I digress.

The Shackwell Arms, whilst being the wrong side of town for me to frequent, has evidently had its own impressive legacy of bands playing over the years. The gig/performing area was situated at the back of the venue with murals of musicians on the walls with a red velvet curtain backdrop, giving the place something of a 70’s feel.

This gig seemed to have a ‘geeks only’ entrance policy (I am utterly included in that demographic), with a couple of punks who managed to sneak in under the radar. It was a toasty evening, but the air-con managed to make it bearable, even at a pretty full capacity.

Casual Nun opened. Boldly.

For those unaware, they constitute an unusual outfit, with pumping guitars and some very cool use of synths and loops. It’s cerebral stuff, undoubtedly, which I think explained the audience.

Visually, the lead vocalist is an animated chap with an awful lot of hair.

He is joined by a motley collection, including a chap in a very loud Hawaiian shirt.

I’ll be honest, after the first tune, I couldn’t help but feel they are a bit of a one-trick pony. That was until the final two, where they had a dynamic change in tempo, and reminded me slightly of ATR.

Around a half hour later Deafkids started.

This was the first time these guys have played in the UK and they certainly gave it their all. I recommend bringing ear-plugs to their gigs, as these guys are loud. It was an avalanche of sound; a proper, full-fontal assault.

Vocally, the two bands on had a lot in common, wailing with loads of reverb – not dissimilar to some of the louder TG tracks. Whilst there was a very limited amount of stage to bounce around on, both bands were as animated as they could be, particularly Deafkids. ‘Templo do Caos’ had a banging riff, and most of the crowd were nodding along enthusiastically.

Deafkids is an interesting group, and one worthy of attention, but it’s the drummer who I think is the real stand-out.

Looking like the love-child of Animal and Sideshow Bob, I think the Brazilian flavour really comes through in his playing. He uses some complicated rhythms, with loads of focus on the toms, which gives it a carnival lick.

I had to leave before the very end to catch a train home (it was gone 10.30pm on a Tuesday), so couldn’t see the finale, but I can imagine it would have been similar. It was both fun and interesting as a gig, but I think there could be an argument that ‘less is more’. The sound was really loud, making it tinny all night, and Deafkids in particular have more variation on their recordings than live. If you walk away thinking that you preferred something on CD, it’s never a great sign.

Deafkids set list:

Configuração do Lamento
As Mesmas Ferramentas, Os Mesmos Rituais
In My Flesh
Templo do Caos
You’re Mine
Espiral da Loucura
Pés Atados
Lâmina Cortante


Casual Nun set list:

New song (untitled at the moment)
Xiphoid Revolution
Easy Now, Cowboy
Crane In The Water
Sleet / Knife
The Sweet Hereafter