Killer Heelsby Roger Young, images by Luke Daniel / 11.01.2011
Evol is indie as fuck and sweating balls. It’s like a being trapped inside a goth’s pencil case with a hundred glorious haircuts. On stage a figure hooded in a plastic polka dot raincoat stands on a lawn chair; there is a slight confusion in the crowd. I’m at the back and I try get around a pole to get closer and by the time I do Nikhil Singh is onstage in a blond wig, killer heels and a pretty dress. Len Cockraft and Gareth Dawson are the humans to his alien; they take their positions in the rhythm section and the Amyl Nitrate synth rock kicks in.
It’s three songs in when I realise that I’m not paying that much critical attention to the music because I’m enslaved and made rabid by the throbbing beat. There is a mesmerizing faux vapidity to Singh’s performance that is underpinned by the skillful driving of Cockraft and Dawson; they melt rolling toms into semi handclap drum pad strikes under his spookily commanding sneer of a voice. Without them Singh might come off as a little bit street person insane but instead there is a tension between his Merciless Ming megalomaniacal glow and the deep head banging groove. It’s a little like Poesie Noire collaborated with Seventeen Seconds era The Cure and made Tolhurst listen to a lot of Rockabilly.
Singh is more than just a visual freak, his lyrics at time can seem tauntingly witchy; sketching out a Le Veyian fantasy world of crumbling morals and strobe lights. Dawson occasionally swaps from bass to drum pad; he and Cockcraft making rhythm elastic while Singh sends out wave after lush wave of synth heaven.
Everyone is watching few are dancing, it’s too hot, a lethargic twitch suffices for most except those down front who slavishly groove. Cockraft and Dawon synch up on the dual drum pads and it gets all Coldwave Riverdance, Singh shouts “Ich Liebe Dich” reapeatedly. In the crowd The Magic of Pegasus boys stand mesmerized by the Neubauten Soft Cell hedonism. During the course of the gig the large strange man Bingo makes three stage appearances; firstly as some kind of power tool gimp, then as a VHS carny Slut and finally as a pink gauze nightgown mirror obsessive. Each time he takes the gap at center stage filled only by the empty lawn chair. The Wild Eyes are so focused on what they’re doing they hardly notice when he is there; even when he is shooting sparks off his metal heart into the shying crowd.
When he does, Singh plays the guitar as an afterthought, but it makes convincing noise anyway. His performance is at once brutal and removed like an asexual voyeur in a Wilmot’s cave. Dawson bends his bass notes by leaning close to his amp. Cockcraft is like a mechanical voodoo priest. I mean to take notes on lyrics but all I remember is Nazi-like shouts of “Sex Slave”. Singh is so I don’t give a fuck out there and all the wigs and glitter do is obscure that fact. They actually make him seem more harmless than he is. When he sings “Chainsaw In The Hands Of My Lover”, I don’t for one second think he’s being metaphorical.
This new Wild Eyes material is so at once familiar and strange. It’s like nothing I think I’ve heard but it sounds likes it been made before. It drags you in and then makes you forget it’s there. I don’t quite understand it yet I am deathly attracted to it.
All images © Luke Daniel.