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Live Review: Opus Kink – 23rd May 2023 – Village Underground, London UK

3 min read
Live Review: Opus Kink - 23rd May 2023 - Village Underground, London UK

Describing Opus Kink is no easy feat. Comprised of Angus Rogers (guitar/vocals), Sam Abbo (bass), Fin Abbo (drums) Jed Morgans (saxophone), Jazz Pope (keys), and Jack Banjo Courtney (trumpet), some call the collective experimental. Others have settled on conventional labels such as jazz or post-punk. Many fans have even taken to a new term: ‘Goth Salsa’. Regardless of how you choose to identify their sound, it can be agreed that this is a band that exists beyond traditional confines. The Brighton six-piece kicked off their UK headline tour with a sold-out show at Village Underground, supported by Bishopskin and Saloon Dion.

My first brush with Opus Kink was at The Boileroom in early February of this year. While I was familiar with their first EP ‘Til The Stream Runs Dry, nothing could have prepared me for the raw, frantic energy that filled the room when the band took the stage. With a venue capacity of two hundred seventy-five, this was a particularly intimate cacophony of writhing vocals intertwined with thumping percussion, piercing horns, and mind-bending synth melodies – all poised against grooving bass.

Fans poured into Village Underground, packed from the stage barricade to the merchandise table situated near the entrance. The sextet took their places on the stage with an endearing introduction, leading them into their Western-inspired 2021 single Wild Bill. Their silhouettes maintained an air of mystery contrasting the vibrant, flashing lights. Angus held full command of the audience with I Love You, Baby and Dog Stay Down from ‘Til The Stream Runs Dry. The crowd jumped around in a lively jumble fuelled by Mariachi-style horns and flashy guitar riffs.

The band then launched into their newly released EP My Eyes, Brother! with opening track Chains, introduced by Fin and Sam on drum and bass. Gradual keys and guitar slunk around Angus’ gruff vocal calls, building into an explosion of brass that is customary for the group. Following the smooth ending of Chains, powerhouses Jack and Jed did not seem to tire as the room was illuminated by the clanging of a cowbell and shrieking horns in Dust. The audience was propelled into a frenzy with the roaring track, but this soon mellowed out as Malarkey crept in with staticky synth and a menacing bass line. In a swirl of hellish red lighting, distant echoes and paranoid murmurs, all hope was abandoned in the Opus Kink inferno. “Seven hundred people have made the worst mistake of their lives,” uttered Angus following the interlude, Piping Angels.

Closing the main set with title track ‘Til The Stream Runs Dry, the audience joined the band in crying out “…and I will be happy!” for what appeared to be a fiery end. As the group left the stage, there was an eruption of cheering and chanting for their return. After a brief moment they emerged once again for the encore. 1:18 opened with a brooding synth melody that was prolonged for Angus to step down into the crowd. The front-man became a mystifying conductor as audience members positioned themselves into a half-circle around him and were directed as something of an impassioned choir. The dark, fierce number came to a new climax with an extended outro. As Sam played a pulsing drum solo, Angus and Jazz surfed their way through the crowd.

After being guided back onto the stage, the show came to a heartfelt close with This Train. “Don’t lose yourself to anyone else,” was a repeated mantra throughout the final minutes of the song, for which the audience gently swayed along. This was a tender ending to a night of blazing instrumentals and powerful theatrics which left attendees both perplexed and enamoured. With a growing reputation for their spirited and gritty live performances, Opus Kink have created an experience that should not be missed.

Setlist:
Hell’s Glitch (Intro)
Wild Bill
I Love You, Baby
Dog Stay Down
Chains
Dust
Malarkey
The Unrepentant Soldier
Piping Angels (Interlude)
Mosquito
St. Paul of The Tarantulas
Children
‘Til The Stream Runs Dry
Encore:
1:18
This Train