Modern English w/special guest Essential Logic

Saturday 27th April 2024

, 19:30


Modern English isa paragon of consistency. Formed in Colchester, Essex, England, the band have maintained their same core lineup since 1977: vocalist Robbie Grey, guitarist Gary McDowell, bassist Mick Conroy, and keyboardist Stephen Walker. In recent years, Modern English have become widely respected as post-punk innovators, thanks to younger generations discovering their catalogue and new artists citing the band as an influence. This increased popularity has translated to sold-out tours performing their early albums and a main stage appearance at the 2023 Cruel World Festival in front of more than 25,000 people.

Support comes from Essential Logic.

Lora Logic was 15 years old and had been playing saxophone for a little more than six months when she joined her friend Marion Elliot (aka Poly Styrene) and formed X-Ray Spex. Logic stayed in the band long enough to record and release the seminal feminist punk single “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!” and arrange sax parts for an album’s worth of songs, but left X-Ray Spex abruptly, forming Essential Logic instead with guitarist/vocalist Phil Legg, bassist Mark Turner, drummer Rich Tea, and future Whitehouse affiliate William Bennett on second guitar.

Eschewing fast and loud playing for off-kilter rhythms, abstract sax figures, and forays into dissonance and atonality, Essential Logic created some of the most liberating, exciting music of the early post-punk era. Along with her primitive, exhilarating sax playing, Logic displayed an imaginative vocal style that conflated the subtle eroticism of Patti Smith with the boundlessness of Yoko Ono. Essential Logic released several singles prior to 1979’s “Beat Rhythm News (Waddle Ya Play)” debut album on Rough Trade Records before breaking up during the recording of their second album. Logic completed that album, “Pedigree Charm”, and released it under her own name in 1982. She also contributed to work from the Stranglers, Raincoats, Swell Maps, the Red Krayola, and more before leaving music behind for a time to join a London-based Hare Krishna community with old friend Poly Styrene for some of the ‘80s.

By the mid-’90s, Logic had returned to writing and recording music on her own, and played, again just briefly, with a re-formed X-Ray Spex in 1995, resulting in the recording of the second and final X-Ray Spex studio album “Conscious Consumer”, though the album would remain largely unreleased until 2023. By the early 2000s, post-punk groups like Essential Logic had inspired new generations of restless music makers, and the band re-formed for the 2001 release of a self-titled, four-song EP.  A second EP of new music followed the next year, and Kill Rock Stars celebrated Logic’s work in 2003 with the release of “Fanfare in the Garden”, a two-disc CD anthology that included all of the Essential Logic and solo output, as well as many previously unreleased recordings from throughout the ’90s.

It would be almost 20 years before the next Essential Logic album, 2022’s “Land of Kali”, the first new studio album from the group in the 43 years, which was co-produced by Youth Martin (Killing Joke), alongside a five LP career-spanning boxset entitled “Logically Yours”, both of which were released on Lora’s own label Hiss And Shake Records. Lora has recently been in the spotlight again thanks to the re-release of the aforementioned X-Ray Spex’s lost second album “Conscious Consumer” which features her trademark saxophone lines alongside typically acerbic lyricism from the dear departed Poly Styrene. The first pressing reached the Official Record Store Chart No.1 position over Christmas 2023 and quickly sold out, thanks in part to favourable reviews including Uncut, Mojo and Record Collector alongside a Vive le Rock cover feature, which helped reignite public awareness as well as radio features on Woman’s Hour and Craig Charles’ 6 Music show.

2024 promises to see Lora continue her recent trajectory with even more vigor as she prepares for the release of the “Land Of Kali” remix album, “John Peel Session” EP, 45th Anniversary Edition of “Beat Rhythm News (Waddle Ya Play?), as well as new material and a long overdue return to touring.