Memories of a distant past…
One of the chief causes that electro punk anarchists Leg Puppy have spoken about in recent years is the changing face of London’s live music scene. More recently, they’ve revisited this theme while also revisiting one of their most classic songs.
Their 2017 mini documentary ‘She’s Lost Her Soul’ drew attention to the changing music scene with a 5-day one-man silent disco protest conducted by Leg Puppy frontman Darren Laurence. The documentary ran on a very pointed statement: “Corporations are killing our towns and turning them into identical Lego lands, it’s vitally important we keep culture alive.”
In its original incarnation, ‘She’s Lost Her Soul’ had a disconcerting dreamlike quality, which perhaps belied the song’s intent. While elements of that are still present in its 2019 incarnation, there’s a much more aggressive approach here. It’s a fairly direct statement on music venue culture and the threats that are coming against it (“Chains, they’re scattered around town”).
It’s a song that also acts as a rallying call to saving live music. Along the way, the lyrics list legendary venues such as Dublin Castle, Marrs Bar, Brixton’s Windmill and Sunflower Lounge.
Of course, Leg Puppy are not the only outfit who beat the drum for the changing face of live music. Newcastle’s Twist Helix have practically made a career out of it. Their 2018 album Ouseburn (see TEC’s review) is almost like a documentary in itself, charting the troubles affecting the music community in the Ouseburn area of Newcastle. “Losing venues hurts our city, its artists and everyone invested in its scene” commented Twist Helix’s James Walker in an interview with The Electricity Club at the time.
It’s a philosophy that resonates with outfits such as Leg Puppy and other grassroots acts. With the increasing gentrification of London’s artistic spaces, music venues are simply being priced out of existence.
Meanwhile, Jovana Majic’s video for ‘She’s Lost Her Soul’ captures sobering footage of a solitary figure trudging through London. Sporting Leg Puppy’s iconic clown mask, the dark figure hoists a placard emphasising the song’s call to arms: ‘Support Live Music’.
Tunes such as ‘She’s Lost Her Soul’ were part of a broad range of compositions that dabbled in social commentary on Leg Puppy’s album You Should Be Paranoid.
While the songs have a power on record, they’re radically transformed in a live setting. The video for the song features the moment that Leg Puppy’s Darren decided to dart outside a performance at New Cross Inn. Dodging between vehicles in the traffic outside of the venue was certainly a surprising (although not unusual) occurrence for Leg Puppy. Although it also highlighted the fact that without music venues, these kinds of impulsive, electric performances would vanish forever.
Leg Puppy sum up this devastating loss of culture succinctly: “Over the last few years, we have lost far too many iconic music venues. Let’s not lose anymore.”
‘She’s Lost Her Soul’ is out now.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Leg Puppy
Leg Puppy are performing at The Finsbury on 16th March and at the Choose Love event at Hope & Anchor on 29th March. See the TEC Events Calendar for more details.