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Fans of the former Libertines drummer Gary Powell will know that he has not been idle since the demise of Dirty Pretty Things in late 2008. The Invasion Of... ( and yes, the three dots count!) was formed by Gary in early 2009 with Robin Coombes, also known for his alter ego Farma G of acclaimed hip hop outfit Task Force on vocals, brothers Andre Bayuni on bass, Julian Bayuni on keyboard, guitar and backing vocals and Neil Montier on lead guitar and backing vocals. “Starting The Invasion Of… was a real leap of faith not only in myself, but the soon to be members of the band.  It would have been easier for me to set it up with other musicians from other bands and follow their lead, but instead I decided to get things going with friends, regardless of their musical background. It has worked out better than I could have ever imagined as the musicians I play and work with have surpassed my wildest expectations”. The band are set to release a debut mini album comprised of six tracks on October 4th through 25 Hour Convenience Records titled ‘373’. Described as being ‘full of high energy charge and fearless experimentation’ along with ‘blending punk rock rage with the power of soul’ I leapt at the chance of experiencing The Invasion Of… first hand!

I am quite embarrassed to admit that despite living ten minutes walk away this was to be my first visit to Camden’s Proud. From the perspective of some-one whose Jewish great grandfather owned a greengrocer shop in the now Inverness Street and whose father lived above stables in Hawley Mews when it was a mews, I harbor a deep resentment at the grotesque giant blacksmith offering an ominous welcome at the market gates along with the rest of the kitsch, ridiculous equine overkill. However, once inside the venue I was pleasantly surprised to find it light and airy and tastefully decorated. To quote The Riddler “I simply love what you’ve done to this place”! Once I, along with my allotted companion for the night, my son, were inside it was hit the bar for a couple of much appreciated beers. We had a little trouble at the door when he was asked for ID despite approaching 21. Maybe a T-Shirt emblazoned with the DM ‘DanderMouse’ logo and a PacMan cap doesn’t make you look too mature despite being cool…apparently! I think I suffered a little snow blindness due to the multiple flashing assault on my mince pies when The Invasion Of… took the stage for a soundcheck. “I like them already” said my son! Soon time for another Tiger beer as the venue began to fill to an upbeat backdrop of some good old Rock ‘n’ Roll.

As we waited, I began to ponder on the actual feel I had about the band so far. The name, the font style…..all very Sci-fi and V for alien lizards, or maybe the beers were kicking in. Once they took to the stage with an intro suddenly changing direction completely you knew this band were going to be anything but predictable. From the first second the band knew how to create tension as you wondered what was coming next. You got the feeling they were playing with that tension as after only two songs the music had managed to take you on a musical roller-coaster, pulling you up then dropping you to catch you again in a kaleidoscope of styles. And this band does bring together an array of styles. At times, the keys were reminiscent of Hammer Horror as Robin Coombes’ verbal delivery washes over you like a soulful Hendrix. Meanwhile Gary’s powerful arms kept that foundation intact.

I had been particularly looking forward to them performing ‘Venice’, which didn’t disappoint in the least. The set was over way too quickly for me, it was as if just as you ‘got it’, it was over. The twists and turns were as infectious as Gary’s laugh. The band certainly aren’t afraid to experiment and I felt that this is an evolving project already able to hit spots reserved for some of the greatest artists out there. With lyrics suggesting contempt for the music industry The Invasion Of… look set to invade our minds THEIR way. Let the invasion begin!!!

Review/photos by Lorraine 03/08/10