Lightning likes them, and now you can discover Oh! Gunquit too

Anyone who caught Oh! Gunquit's last and only visit to Southsea to date, supporting Emptifish a year ago, will find it hard to forget the five-piece's intensely energetic blend of new-wave, vicious psych-surf, garage-punk, exotica and rock'n'roll.

Saturday, 2nd June 2018, 2:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 2:26 pm
Oh! Gunquit

Led by charismatic whirling dervish frontwoman Tina Swasey, not only does Swasey hula-hoop while singing, she also plays the trumpet. Eat your heart out Grace Jones.

How on Earth did she discover this talent?

'It's the same way I discovered I didn't have the talent for rollerskating and playing tennis at the same time. You just have to try these things out and see if there's a way to get them into your life.

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'I used to play tuba in marching band and I wanted to get back on the horn, and do it for the sake of rock'n'roll. I like jump-roping, but that was never going to work with a trumpet was it? So hula-hooping it was.'

The band got together when they were working together at the same pub in London, The Constitution.

'There was this gal who was Polish/English and she was playing drums, then (guitarist) Simon and myself had talked about wanting to play music in a band, I knew Simon had played in a band, so we decided to start playing together.'

Adding to the international melting pot, Tina is originally from north Colorado and bassist VV is Columbian. The line-up is rounded up Chuchi Malpersona on saxophone and Alex De Renzi on drums.

Realising they had found musical kindred spirits, they spent the next few months creating a set and created a sound that has been dubbed 'rumble-bop'. Where did that, admittedly catchy name come from? 

I dunno, it's just kind of,' she growls the title, '˜rumble-bop, it sounded like what we do. People sometimes call me Tina Bopper, and there's that Link Wray song Rumble.

'When we were starting we didn't really know about any promoters and scenes, but you come into these promoters and scenes and things like that, and you come into these things and they're blossoming in their own ways.

'There are folks out there doing things like Weirdsville, Some Weird Sin or What's Cookin', and you start to realise that there are people who like things that aren't necessarily tenable, if you know what I mean.'

They released their debut album, Eat Yuppies and Dance in 2015, and followed it up in September last year with Lightning Likes Me. When a band becomes so well-known for their live shows, do they find it hard to pin that down for their recordings?

'It's just an experiment really. You try to work with people who can give you honest feedback and can push you and you also have a enough time to experiment with the ideas you want to develop. And you try to capture it in demos before you go in - demo, demo demo, you know!'

For this album they worked with Detroit legend Jim Diamond, who has worked with such luminaries as The Sonics, Dirtbombs, Detroit Cobras, and White Stripes. 

'Jim's an interesting fella. He bases himself out of France a bit, he's kind of downsizing out of Detroit, and is keen to just be on the orad recording with people, so we decided to have him come up here from France and he even stayed here right here with us in our flat.'

They also worked Alex McGowan at London's Space Eko studio. While it has a somewhat denser and more experimental feel than their debut it's still packed with killer songs with the same wild rock'n'roll music they've become known for.

Given those crazy live shows, have things ever got out of hand?

Tina laughs: 'To be fair we have broken a stage before, in Belgium, but it was mainly the Belgian people who did it.

'It's just lovely to see what happens when you get people onstage and you can goof around, it will probably be something that hasn't happened before.'

The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Saturday, January 20