Naked (On Drugs) // Live Review

Sebright Arms – March 3rd

naked on drugs

‘We got the cans in on the bus down. They reckon they’re better pissed, I’m not sure.’ Ben of Sways Records talks up the first capital show of Naked (On Drugs). In the depths of the Sebright Arms, it’s quickly clear that this band are in form, and tight as Tory’s arsehole. In big sailor’s bell-bottoms, Naked’s frontman Sebastien Perrin holds all the focus. His stare out into the crowd is steady and sharp, his moves elegant and angular, his voice deep and virile.

On record, the band offer short pop-ish tunes but live Naked are an intense assault, with all the edge of punk and the energy of a sweaty jazz collective. There’s boys blowing and blowing like they’ve just got to get the air out, lest the atmosphere go without the sound of blazing reeds. The deep, incessant nightmare of Death Dance is so wildly enjoyable I’m shaking my head like a twat at a jazz night. Constant ticking guitar, snaking soprano sax, that sticky kitchen floor, all blasting.

These are musicians holding nothing back. The rhythm section is tight and throbbing, and the man on alto sax, David McLean, is blowing like a hurricane wind. Luke Scott’s guitar is played with creativity and fervour, covering all bases with accuracy and swagger. There’s absolutely no fucking about and the whole thing is quite joyous. Of course, this is a London gig and here they don’t dance here even if the band is familiar. Naked should have the room squirming but not this time, not here.

Perrin crouches and sucks down beer at every opportunity, but his intensity remains throughout, despite not being entirely sure of the running order of tracks. When he talks his accent wanders, all the way from Lyon to Manchester, taking a little lick at all kinds of kinks of British regionality. There’s not a noise all night that doesn’t have some kind of interest, the final blast down the mic being from reed only, as Sebastien blows his sax’s key component alone; a final squeal to haunt the ears on a night of hypnotic musicianship and performance.