The Lexingon, London
Playing to an empty room is the character-building test that splits the wheat from the chaff in live performance. Those weak-willed or too self-conscious will crumble and fall by the wayside where those with enough attitude and self-belief will play just as well as they possibly can to compensate for lacking atmosphere and make it worthwhile for the few people who are there.
Friday night and an unexpectedly tiny crowd rattle around a room above a North London pub, looking between each other awkwardly and the stage, wondering if and when the room will fill out. It doesn’t. 11pm and Kasms finally take to the stage, greeted by a crowd consisting of the support acts, a huddle of their friends cheering supportively and a light scattering of bewildered looking punters.
Front-woman Rachel Mary Callaghan bounds onstage and lets out a shrill scream of blood-curdling proportions, her minute frame arching like a cat hissing in attack – a statement of intent. Kasms, it seems, have no intention of letting the absence of the crowd bother them.
With their influences obviously citing the dark and brooding sounds of 80’s gothic/post-punk acts as a reference, Kasms take the Siouxsie Sioux mold, paint it red and rip it to pieces. They’re more snarling and vicious, more abrasive and far more expressive and genuine than decades of forgettable acts attempting and failing to create such alluring darkness. As Rory Attwell (ex-Test Icicles and RAT:ATT:AGG) and Scott Walker do a tag-team relay between guitar and drums, bassist Gemma Fleet pouts and purrs into the microphone leaving the spotlight to the magnetic and tirelessly ferocious Rachel. She bends and flips and rolls around the stage effortlessly, flinging herself at the floor, writhing and wrapping herself in the microphone lead, all the while maintaining an innate air of control and grace.
Unleashing new never-played songs from the forthcoming album and peaking with the single ‘Taxidermy’ released earlier this year on Trouble Records (Crystal Castles, George Pringle) Kasms have got it all to come… and based on tonight’s performance, they’re not going to let anything phase them.