It wasn't immediately obvious to The Ex but, apparently, they had played a very different Oslo back in the '80s - and to a very different crowd, as people in the audience were happier sniffing glue back then, according to the band's drummer joking on the mic, rather than dancing, like today. The space on 1 Amhurst Road in Hackney is in 2015 a different story altogether, but The Ex remain very much the same band in the best of ways: Alert, both musically and politically, authentic, agile. Covering the range from blazing punk rock to traveling jazz (though the newest version of the band has dismissed the sax), the Dutch foursome has been challenging norms continuously since the tail-end of the '70s. Without a doubt, and once again, they're refreshing to listen to, and a joy to watch.
All the better if they have a band like Housewives opening for them, South London experimentalists bringing '80s no wave to today's hipster Hackney. Between New York's schizophrenic DNA and San Francisco's more recent punk rockers Erase Errata, the band have killer guitars stopping and starting on a whim, while their double-drum stunts take noise on a new level, floating between synchronicity and disarray.
Don't fight it - just take a dive in.