Windmill Brixton in London was never meant to be a live music venue; as the owner said, “(…) it kinda evolved; late night sessions at the bar revealed that the regulars carried a wealth of experience in musicianship, sound engineering and promoting, and since we drank there anyway we decided that we should get a good band down now and again to listen to.” It has been like this for years, and even though the stage is a little “backstreet place”, it seems like bands enjoy the fact that it is more of an informal music venue with an extremely chilled atmosphere. On top of that, Time Out London named Windmill Brixton as a glowing “Ace Place” for small gigs with NME music magazine reviewing several shows as well. What’s more important is that Kerrang!, along with The Independent newspaper, named the Windmill Brixton one of “the top venues in the UK”.
To me, Windmill Brixton is a charming place – in its own way – where you can escape reality while listening to various musicians from all over the world. When I heard that Dead Buttons would play in Brixton again, I was over the moon- they previously showcased their music in the same venue in 2015. Without a doubt, there has always been a lot of excitement surrounding the band, simply because JiHyun and Daniel’s performance never disappointed before. This year we also welcomed the rock duo 57, consisting of Seol Kim (drums & vocals) and Jun-hong Yoon (guitar & vocals) who came to play a few gigs on their first UK tour; the band was formed in 2014 as a trio and under the name of Rainbow Stage; however, due to unforeseen circumstances, they changed into a duo called 57. In 2015, they won the first place at the KT&G Band Discovery event, as well as the Special Jury Prize of Hello Rookies.
57 were the first to perform at the Windmill Brixton; even though it was just a twenty-minute set, I must admit that it was an utterly superb one. They started off with Get Away, a song which introduced the band’s sound, visibly influenced by Biffy Clyro, a Scottish rock band. Get Away was followed by the slightly heavier song entitled June; here, Kim clearly showcased her talents with her smashing drumming; she is such a petite lady, but the strength that she has is beyond my comprehension. Pray For The Dead was another rocky-sounding song; I really liked Jun’s rasty singing voice, he knew how to execute notes and was in tune throughout his performance. Kim’s singing voice was impressive as well; seeing a female drummer with delicate and singable vocals was a pleasant experience. 57 played two more songs, Cold Face and U&I, which were as good as the previous tracks; I like the fact that they mixed English-written songs with Korean ones. Their energy on stage was captivating and made the audience head-bang and swing from one side to the other. I truly enjoyed their show and I have not doubts that will be seeing the band again soon. After 57’s performance, there was time for Ghost Car, a British band; sadly, I found them boring. I managed to watch them for 5 minutes only as the lead vocalist’s singing voice was too much for me. It felt like I was stuck in a cage with a bunch of noisy parrots; I decided to skip it and wait for the Dead Buttons’ late night gig and after 10 pm, it was time for the guys to hit the stage.
Jun (57) & Dead Buttons
They started their 40-minute set with one of my favourite songs, Baby Please Be Yourself, with JiHyun’s fine vocals and Daniel’s tremendous drumming giving the audience a charge to clap insanely and to prepare themselves for a mad performance; JiHyun’s versatility and ease of playing – whether riffing or not – was staggering. Their performance set balanced cuts from their upcoming new album with a selection of tracks from their previous EPs Let Me Down, Strangers, the powerful Witch, and the audience favourite – Want It. Along with Daniel, JiHyun received a huge ovation after each song. It is easy to notice that Dead Buttons forge ahead with very strong new material; they are both lovable musicians with immense talent and it seems like they are turning into regular visitors of the UK, including London. Want It was followed by 16-22, with the lead singer’s impressive vocal melody and tone; the song built a great mood among the audience. The Tired of You, Hangover and Desire tracks were performed very well and showed a real edge that the Dead Buttons have. The highlight of the set was the last song entitled I Need A Million; impeccable vocals again with very loud drumming; Daniel is one who likes to engage with the audience, so there was no surprise that – when he stopped playing the drums – we were all left at the venue with heavy hearts.
It was definitely a superb evening with great Korean rock bands; we are looking forward to seeing more talented musicians from South Korea to play in the UK in the near future.
Written by Maggie Gogler
Edited by Sanja Struna
Dead Buttons photo © View of the Arts
57 photos © Neil Anderson