Last Thursday I went to the student union to see Zola Jesus with two of the friends I went to see Throwing Muses with earlier this month. Part of me was thinking ‘Oh God I hope it’s not Club Academy again, Zola Jesus is only about 4” 9” if it’s a big crowd I won’t be able to see a damn thing…” we were all expecting a lot from Nika Roza Danilova and her band, and she certainly didn’t disappoint: Soul searingly powerful vocals and equally powerful pounding, pulsating, hammering drums.
There were aspects of NIN and Siouxsie, but not in a conscious, deliberate way. Danilova has an extremely powerful, as one of my friends said, pitch perfect voice which is just staggering. Because of the otherwordly character of the music, and lyrical themes, coupled with the frenetic lighting flashes, it was very easy to feel as though you were being transported to another world.
The bands image is interesting as well, because they are older looking blokes with leather jackets and other industrial type staples, but Danilova appears to have made a conscious decision to transcend the inevitable goth tag by bleaching her hair peroxide blonde and wearing pale colours. Her videos for the singles from her new album, ‘Conatus’, feature her in white a lot, and on Thursday she had on a pale green satiny vintage dress with a furry gillet in pale brown. She shares with Siouxsie a commanding stage presence and expressive arm movements, plus occasional flailing, dropping towards the floor, and letting her long hair fly amok whilst hunched over intoning darkly. She has beautifully expressive large dark eyes, something we sighed over collectively as we were leaving…
EMA, aka Erika M. Anderson, who was on prior to Zola Jesus was also good. We concluded she had probably heard a lot of Sonic Youth and taken a lot from Kim Gordon, but that this was no bad thing. Not derivative, but cool.
Prior to the gig, we had tea at 8th Day then drinks at the union bar. There had been a cock up with my two friends tickets so we had to queue with the long line of Hanson fans to get to the Reception desk in the union to pick up replacements, which was a tad humiliating.
Then we stood outside a while with the smokers, talking about the strike. Lots of peoples HR departments have sent out emails trying to put pressure on people to tell their line managers before the strike if they intend to strike, or to guilt trip people into not striking at all. I don’t think the letters will have had that much effect though because they neglect a crucial point, namely that the average public sector worker is royally pissed off most days, most of the time at the moment. The day at work I’d had before the gig was absolutely atrocious, and yesterday was even worse. Neither left me with much desire to do anyone any favours… I felt a bit guilty today though because things weren’t as mad, but still ultimately unrepentent.