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Mini Mansions, Black Honey & Asylums - The Lexington, London 19/01/15

21 January 2015, 14:28 | Written by Sarah Joy

Queens of the Stone Age’s bassist Michael Shuman is doing the opposite of what Drake told the world to do - he made it to the top and is now back at the bottom with indie trio side project Mini Mansions. Well, maybe not in creative terms; Mini Mansions are good, and have had one sort-of-successful album back in 2010, but in venue size, the un-sold out Lexington must be a surprising step back into grungy stages and initiate affairs for the seasoned pro.

Despite the capacity, Mini Mansions know how to play it big. Names spelt out in lights, floral suits to out do your grandma’s curtains and perhaps most notably the thirty second cameo of modern Teddy Boy and old tour mate Alex Turner. It was enough to whip the new venue of resurrected indie orgy White Heat up into a head bobbing frenzy. It’s was’t all just impressive cameo and productions frills though; the music itself is big too. Keys replace guitars, drums are struck standing up by the bass abandoning Shuman and actual bass lines themselves are gristly just as you would expect. It all feels part one part The Thrills and two parts the aforementioned Arctics Monkeys with plenty of Americana vibes transferred in from their LA roots.

New single "Vertigo" was where Turner swooped in to share some limelight and hit some headlines, but around that there were songs in the repertoire that could of held their own. "Creeps" contained an epic breakdown and seductive bass solo, which made you forget about the lack guitars in the outfit. The band also deftly covered a dangerous Blondie classic "Heart of Glass" and made it sound completely their own, which is no mean feat for an untouchable classic. A neat new outfit, Mini Mansions will no doubt be topping indie bills and bigger venues before long, putting Shuman back in the zone he’s accustom too.

As well as cameos, the band also have an impeccable choice in support bands. Starter for the night were emerging Essex four piece Asylums, opening with their sucker punch energy and uniform obscure haircuts. They are a DIY band, but not as you know it. Somewhere between a forceful wave of 90’s pop punk and Britpop, they're entirely eccentric and entertaining, bounding around on stage with both faces and hair all over the place. New single "Wet Dream Fanzine" felt like being strapped to the back of wild teenage night out and not knowing how you woke up with pen all over your face. It was fast paced belter that was full on and unrelenting, but all in the best way possible. "Death To Television", another fairly new number, followed a similar flailing but faultless vein.

The main support, Black Honey, added some rockier sentiments to the night with their fierce female front woman and dramatic dose of teenage angst. "Give us your email address if you want to join our suicide pact” was their invitation to interact and gives you some idea of their darker bad kid at school attitude. If it is left unclear, their closing song called "Bloodlust" will seal the deal.

For a Monday night in a mid-sized venue, everyone here definitely got more than their money’s worth.

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