Mandrake Handshake ‘shake the hand that feeds you’

Posted On 31 Jan 2022 at 7:08 pm

Mandrake Handshake live at the Sebright Arms, London 28.1.22 (pic Mark Kelly) (click pic to enlarge)

MANDRAKE HANDSHAKE + HONEYGLAZE – SEBRIGHT ARMS, BETHNAL GREEN, LONDON 28.1.22

We at Brighton & Hove News decided to check out Mandrake Handshake ahead of their anticipated performance at the Green Door Store in Brighton on Sunday 27th March 2022 – Grab your tickets for that gig HERE or HERE.

Mandrake Handshake live at the Sebright Arms, London 28.1.22 (pic Mark Kelly) (click pic to enlarge)

When I discovered that Mandrake Handshake were playing at the Sebright Arms, which is located at 31-35 Coate Street, London, E2 9AG, and is considered one of London’s finest small venues, I most certainly had to go just to ensure that they are as brilliant as I remember.

Honeyglaze live at the Sebright Arms, London 28.1.22 (pic Mark Kelly) (click pic to enlarge)

Support comes from Honeyglaze who consists of vocalist and guitarist Anouska Sokolow, bassist Tim Curtis and drummer Yuri Shibuichi. I was fortunate to witness this up-and-coming trio just over a week ago, when they played at the Lexington, and I was mightily impressed – Read my review of that night HERE. Honeyglaze were late replacements for Krush Puppies who were unable to attend this evening.

Honeyglaze certainly don’t disappoint tonight. Again their musicianship stands out a mile. The bassist continues with his bizarre utterances, but his melodic basslines in ‘Female Lead’ are more than sufficient to warrant forgiveness. The drummer is also very impressive, especially during ‘Burglar’. Indeed, in many ways Honeyglaze are a classic three-piece, in that there is plenty of space in the music for each musician to do interesting things – and they all do.

Honeyglaze live at the Sebright Arms, London 28.1.22 (pic Mark Kelly) (click pic to enlarge)

Even in the week or so since I last saw them, their set has changed. Tonight vocalist / guitarist Anouska Sokolow plays synthesiser on one song. Also, ‘Childish Things’ is played with more ferocity than at the Lexington. It’s the last song and they receive a well-deserved roar of an ovation. The band look somewhat taken aback, and the bassist says: “this never happens”. Well sunshine, it might be a good idea to get used to it, because I can see it happening pretty frequently in the not too distant future.

Honeyglaze have announced that they will be dropping by Resident records in Brighton on Saturday 30th April at 6:30pm, where they will be performing a live set instore in support of their eleven song self titled debut album which drops the day before. Purchase your ticket for that event and the album HERE.

Honeyglaze live at the Sebright Arms, London 28.1.22 (pic Mark Kelly) (click pic to enlarge)

Honeyglaze will also be performing in Brighton this coming May as part of the Great Escape new music festival – Details HERE.

Find out more about Honeyglaze by visiting their ‘linktree’ HERE.

Mandrake Handshake live at the Sebright Arms, London 28.1.22 (pic Mark Kelly) (click pic to enlarge)

Mandrake Handshake were formed in Oxford where they lived, hung out and rehearsed together on campus. The eclectic group were christened after a song by The Brian Jonestown Massacre, incorporating their influences of krautrock, funk, Japanese animation and Latin pastoral poetry to create a unique brand of ‘Flowerkraut’ that vividly defines their sound.

Mandrake Handshake live at the Sebright Arms, London 28.1.22 (pic Mark Kelly) (click pic to enlarge)

Tonight at the Sebright Arms, they take to the stage with the guitarist wearing a ‘Fire Warden’ armband. It’s comforting to know that someone is looking after health and safety. With eight musicians onstage things are a bit snug, but they all know where their respective stations are. Vocalist Trinity Oksana and percussionist Elvis Thirlwell are effectively joint frontpeople. Elvis is no Bez however. He is clearly a proper musician, despite his somewhat ‘out there’ onstage persona, and a closer comparison would be Ray Cooper, Elton John’s percussionist, and indeed, percussionist to the stars. A proper musician!

Mandrake Handshake live at the Sebright Arms, London 28.1.22 (pic Mark Kelly) (click pic to enlarge)

It becomes clear that Mandrake Handshake are greater than the some of their influences. There’s a bit of Jefferson Airplane here, a bit of Sly And The Family Stone there. It’s easy to overlook the band’s jazz influences though. A number of their songs feature bars in 5/4. One song has no lyrics, but features Trinity indulging in some scat singing. The musicianship throughout is superb. One gets the impression that these people could do pretty much anything musically. At one point the guitarist, bassist and drummer appear to be jamming like Crazy Horse, whereas the rest of the band just carry on. It looks chaotic, but at no point is the music’s cohesion lost.

Mandrake Handshake live at the Sebright Arms, London 28.1.22 (pic Mark Kelly) (click pic to enlarge)

This band is absolutely fascinating, and I wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone who likes music outside of the mainstream. I don’t know where the band are going next, but one thing is clear – they could really do with a bigger stage. If they carry on the way they are, I don’t think it will be too long before they get one.

Mandrake Handshake live at the Sebright Arms, London 28.1.22 (pic Mark Kelly) (click pic to enlarge)

The Mandrake Handshake ‘Shake the Hand That Feeds You’ EP can be streamed HERE or you can purchase the physical 12” vinyl edition (out 15th March) HERE.

For more information on Mandrake Handshake visit their ‘linktree’ HERE.

Gig flyer

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