Live Music Review: Scarlet at Rough Trade

Words: Gav Squires
Photos: Gav Squires
Saturday 24 February 2018
reading time: min, words

Local duo You Want Fox organised a free gig at Rough Trade featuring Queen Mantis and Scarlet. We headed down to check it out...


Queen Mantis open the show, playing their first ever gig. You wouldn’t be able to tell it though, the four-piece arrive fully formed sounding like Iggy & The Stooges circa Raw Power. Where that album had a couple of slower songs, Queen Mantis never take their foot off the throat. There are also elements of early The Hives, The Distillers and they cover Hot Kiss by Juliette & The Licks. They close with another cover, Search And Destroy, the opening track from Raw Power. It’s an accomplished and confident first gig, marking out Queen Mantis as ones to keep yer tabs open for.


It’s been a busy day for Nottingham two-piece You Want Fox - they’ve been filming their new music video, ready for their album coming out in April and they’ve been photographed for an exhibition on female creatives in Nottingham for International Women’s Day. It's clearly been tiring as singer/bassist Natalie she's had to sing "128 liars in that song" of Liar and also threatening to take her shoes off because she feels "like a baby giraffe." New song Begin The Beginning contains a couple of mistakes and you can see both Natalie and drummer Colette smiling to themselves about them. It's followed by Shades Of Grey, which they know much better. With her usual, loveable candour, Natalie announces, "you have no idea how much I wanted to burp during that song” after the latter. It’s two of the older songs that get the best reception, Bad Girls and set-closer, My Ex-Boyfriend. Despite having seen You Want Fox a couple of times now, I’m still amazed by how much noise two people can make. Yet again, they sound brilliant and that album can't come quickly enough.


Headliners Scarlet are from the North West and Natalie from You Want Fox advised the audience to stick around for them because they’re “peng”. Not being 15, I’m not sure what that word means but from context, I assumed it was good. Unfortunately not everyone heeds their advice and they miss a pretty good show. Scarlet are light heavy rock - they’d get covered in Kerrang! but they’re on the more easily accessible end of that scale. Clearly their bassist was having similar shoe issues to Natalie as he's playing without any. They have a really good song about Theresa May that contains the lyrics, "strong and stable/you're not able" but my favourite of their songs is the penultimate one, which has a kind of Pixies loudQUIETloud feel. Before their final song Bones, they give a shout out to their fan Dean, a guy who looks a little like actor Jackie Earle Haley, who has been following them round to every gig on the tour. Now that's a proper fan.

Scarlet, You Want Fox and Queen Mantis were at Rough Trade Nottingham on Saturday 17 February 2018.

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