About the gig
Set to storm this years summer festivals, the last 100 Club gig saw The Rakes, The Young Knives and The Rifles play out one of the best Subculture gigs yet. All set to the genius DJ'ing of the legendary Terry Hall (The Specials, Fun Boy Three, Colourfield).
With a huge queue forming outside the 100 Club by 7.30pm – The Rifles kicked off the evening with a pounding and incendiary set as soon as the everyone had got into the 100. The music industry rumour mill has been buzzing about how good this band have got so quickly – they aren’t wrong.
Next up, The Young Knives with their deliciously quirky and infectious riffs, lyrics, hair, clothes – everything really! Art rock delivered with a sly grin and irreverent attitude. A series of cleverly crafted songs and the anthem of the summer festivals - 'Hot, hot Summer' - the crowd were well and truly warmed up for........
The Rakes, who bound on to the stage with the cocksure assuredness of a band who are now regularly selling out 3,000 capacity venues. Playing as tightly as ever, alongside with the mesmeric jerkings of Alan the lead singer – they caned their way through the set. Set to a back drop of chanting, stage diving and wry on-stage quips - they rocked it.
About the band
There's some confusion over how The Rakes actually came to being. Ask them and they'll talk of a show of solidarity outside a local Weatherspoons, or of fights in the library over who was going to borrow some novel or other. Whatever, it's unlikely that the story will ever become clear. What is becoming clear, however, is the fact that The Rakes are emerging as one of the most significant London bands to emerge in recent years.
The last twelve months have been a blur of incendiary live shows, excited appraisals and, most importantly of all, a couplet of truly classic singles. There was '22 Grand Job' - an infectious 90 seconds of handclap-assisted brilliance that, in its satirical rather than sneering tale of nine-to-five-dom, could conceivably be called the first 'post-Brent' record.
Next came 'Strasbourg', an altogether more serious, romantic tale of escapism, replete with a similarly unforgettable guitar riff that made the strength of the band's songwriting emphatically clear. There's no sign of things letting up either; the forthcoming 'Retreat' draws from a more sophisticated musical palette and is perhaps their most enduring release to date. A disparate mish-mash of strong personalities, yes, but while they may be endlessly entertaining as people, they could not be anymore serious as a musical proposition. Their chaotic performances continue to dazzle, while their forthcoming, Epworth-produced debut album will highlight the lyrical and musical eloquence of which most other hyped London bands are bereft, but which The Rakes unquestionably have. Truly, their story has only just begun.
The Leeds Music Scene Wednesday, November 04
NME single of the week, Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 single of the week, two sold out nights supporting Bloc Party at the Astoria, and a Paul Epworth produced debut album ready to soundtrack the summer festival circuit. It’d be fair to say that things are going swimmingly for The Rakes at the moment, and with a single as damn fine as Retreat it’s hard to begrudge them their current success.
In fact, 'Retreat' is easily one of 2005’s best tracks so far. Why? Well, it’s got a cracking intro, a thrillingly catchy chorus, handclaps (yes!) and a stop-on-a-dime finish. Lyrically, it’s another classic song about going out, getting sozzed, indulging in the occasional debaucherous act, traipsing home, sleeping it off, and then starting all over again. Three minutes of glorious rock’n’roll that warrants pressing the ‘repeat’ button on your stereo, once to make sure what you heard wasn’t a dream, and then twenty-five times more because it’s just so damn good.
drownedinsound.com April 05
Finally... The Rakes! My God, they were the most amusing band I have seen for a very long time! The lead singer is an absolute nutter! And not in a forced, drugged up manner but in a 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest just escaped from a mental hospital' manner. Quality! The Rakes launched into the set and immediately showed themselves to be having the time of the lives, which in a time where the average rock band are more concerned with their image, or their own hype, was completely refreshing and somewhat heart-warming. I wasn't the only one to appreciate this I'm sure; I looked around and every member of the crowd, though looking at each other in a slight state of disbelief, was beaming from ear to ear.
The sound is as quirky as the lead singer, suitably shambolic, packing lots into each song. Infectiously melodic, tunes such as recent single 'Strasbourg', despite being quite political with its focus on oppression, features furious strumming, uplifting chords and mesmerising drumbeats. Overall then, this was a fantastic gig and The Rakes deserve a big slap on the back for amusing me, not taking themselves too seriously and creating some damn fine music.
Rob Barker, Daily Info, Oxford July 05
The Rakes may belong to a time where the chav pub is king in 1000 towns, but they flood their songs with romance, intelligence and historical intrigue without breaking a sweat. With ‘Capture/Release', produced by Paul Epworth (Bloc Party, Futureheads, Babyshambles), due to be unleashed at the start of August, this summer could be theirs for the taking.