Gay Army come out firing with Ray And The Guns – The Vault – 14/08/15

Gay Army
Gay Army

Three years since their last outing there was a general air of anticipation at The Vault as Gay Army returned to the stage in support of Ray & The Guns.

While known in the past for their synth-laden indie, their last gig, at Spoonfest in 2012, saw Gay Army stripped back to a four-piece guitar driven post-punk/indie rock format and that is the line up that took to the newly enlarged stage here.

As soon as the music hit frontman Rolls Reilly was an intense and energetic presence. Spending as much time off stage as on he was literally getting into the faces of the crowd and doing his best to get them engaged. As the set went on a few did get moving, but otherwise every song was greeted with warm cheers and applause.

Rolls of Gay Army
Rolls of Gay Army

The four-piece format of the band gave things a harder edged indie rock vibe that combined elements of the noisier, feedback driven, end of the genre with a sense of the 80s bands that pioneered the sounds.

This was particularly noticeable in Jo Reeve’s guitar, while Jay Allen’s dance-infused beats kept an upbeat side going underpinned by Ian Allsopp’s genuinely powerful bass work.

The set ended with a wall of feedback and applause as many hailed it something of a landmark outing for the band and certainly everyone seemed to be of the opinion that they hope it’s not three years before we see them again.

Following the indie rock roar of Gay Army, Ray & The Guns responded by adding further power to their classic rock ‘n’ roll which made for the best performance I’ve ever seen them give.

Ray and the Guns
Ray and the Guns

Throughout the set Nick Dodd’s (dubbed Guernsey’s ‘professor of rock ‘n’ roll’ by one gig-goer) Telecaster cut through the sound much more clearly than in the past and he seemed to be pushing the overdrive on it just a little more than usual as well.

Alongside this Rachael Cumberland-Dodd and Rosie Allsopp both seemed to be adding a bit more attitude and bite to their vocal delivery which brought more of that sense of rock ‘n’ roll danger to the band than I have seen in the past.

This new energy translated through to the crowd, many of who got dancing, quickly filling what passes for a dancefloor here and, as they rounded off their set, many were calling for more.

Rosie and Rachael of Ray and the Guns
Rosie and Rachael of Ray and the Guns

This performance showed Ray & The Guns adding themselves to growing list of bands delivering powerful, uncomplicated, rock ‘n’ roll in and around the islands and the Channel, alongside the likes of Thee Jenerators, The Cryptics and The Electric Shakes.

You can see more of my photos from the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page.

The review was published (along with an interview by Colin Leach) in The Guernsey Press on 29th August 2015:

Gay Army and Ray and The Guns grab - 29:08:15

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