Review: Maid Of Ace, Think Tank? Underground, Newcastle

Maid Of Ace performing at Think Tank? Underground. All Pics: Gary Welford.
Maid Of Ace performing at Think Tank? Underground. All Pics: Gary Welford.

As unique selling points go, being an all-girl band is a pretty good start. When you're all sisters too, that's hard to beat.

That's exactly what Maid Of Ace, an old school-style punk band who are very much of the moment too, have going for them.

The Elliott girls come from Hastings, near Brighton, and have been blasting out their noise since forming at school in 2005.

But it's only over the last two or three years that Alison (vocals and guitar), Anna (guitar and vocals), Abby (drums) and Amy (bass and vocals) have started getting the recognition they deserve.

As well as touring with the likes of The Exploited and Bishops Green, they've appeared on the BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury, and have become regulars at the Rebellion punk festival in Blackpool.

The Distillers - an early 2000s Australian-American band fronted by Brody Dalle - are an obvious influence, and it's fair to say their music is not for the faint-hearted.

Maid Of Ace vocalist Alison Elliott.

Maid Of Ace vocalist Alison Elliott.

Yes, it's fast, loud and has a real edge, as good punk should be, but a lot of musicianship goes into making that noise.

Maid Of Ace have released two albums so far, 2014's self-titled debut, which, like their live shows, was raw and aggressive, and last year's more polished follow-up Maid In England.

Better produced, with better songs, the latter record shows a band very much on the rise, and it's only fitting they they've embarked on their biggest UK tour yet to support it.

Consisting of nine gigs in 11 days, it would be a hard slog for any band, and it's a shame there weren't more people there to see them on what I believe was their first visit to Newcastle.

Maid Of Ace guitarist Anna Elliott.

Maid Of Ace guitarist Anna Elliott.

It was their rotten luck to be playing in the city on the night Newcastle United were busy clinching promotion in front of 52,000 people at St James's Park, less than a mile away.

You'd be lucky if there were 20 people at this gig, which is a pity, as the lasses put on a cracking performance, as did local melodic metalcore outfit Molasses, who were only drafted in as support on the afternoon of the gig.

Blasting through a 15-song set spread evenly between material from their two albums, Maid Of Ace quickly convinced any doubters that they are the real deal.

Songs like Spittin' Blood and Bone Deth (whose video has 272,000 YouTube views and counting) from the first album and newer songs like Minimum Wage and Stay Away (their own song, not a Nirvana cover) showed they can play, and then some.

Maid Of Ace bassist Amy Elliott.

Maid Of Ace bassist Amy Elliott.

I look forward to seeing them at Rebellion in August, when they'll play to a crowd of several hundreds rather than dozens, and I hope they're not put off from returning to Newcastle by the turn-out here.

Maid Of Ace drummer Abby Elliott.

Maid Of Ace drummer Abby Elliott.

Maid Of Ace in action at Think Tank? Underground.

Maid Of Ace in action at Think Tank? Underground.