Gig review: Nash the Slash

About 15 years ago I happened to see a late film on Channel 4 called Roadkill. This was back in the days when Channel 4 was still a bit interesting and subversive, not like the corporate sell-out it has become today. Roadkill is a bizarre independent Canadian road movie, and there was a scene in that film that had a profound influence on me. The protagonist is in a club where live music is being provided by a scary-looking man in bandages who’s performing an amazing piece of industrial music. It’s filmed in stark black and white and I found the mixture of music and visuals incredibly intense.

It wasn’t until many years later that I found out this was a real musical artist called Nash the Slash who is now about 60 years old and still active on the music scene; so, when I saw that he was coming over from Canada to play in the UK, I took the opportunity to see him at the Purple Turtle in Camden. He came onstage in bandages, shades, a white tuxedo and white top hat, then proceeded to thrill the audience by performing a mix of bizarre but brilliant musical material. As well as singing live, he also played the electric mandolin and the electric violin. His electric violin was distorted and effected to the max and sounded absolutely amazing.

All the music was synchronised to visual projections which complemented and enhanced the music perfectly. Pleasingly, he played We Will Be The Leaders, which is the song he played in Roadkill. I hadn’t known exactly what to expect from a Nash the Slash gig, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The Purple Turtle is a decent live venue (although I didn’t think their PA was the best I’d ever heard) and the night was only slightly marred by a member of the bar staff trying to irritate people instead of doing his job. Nash the Slash has written a description of the event himself, much of which is a review of the audience, and you’ve got to approve of an artist who does something like that.

Some of the support was interesting. I wasn’t too bothered about the Gary Numan covers stuff that was happening, although it was very well done, but I did enjoy Global Citizen and his two stunning female synth-playing assistants. Their music was extremely dark and quite sinister, and this was enhanced by their impressive appearance and stage presence. Global Citizen gave the impression that the performance could almost have been part of a Satanic ritual or something equally evil. One of my favourite bits of the evening was when GC announced that the next song was called Caged, then went on to explain, in a manner that managed to be both businesslike and sinister, ‘yes… it gets darker.’