Posts Tagged ‘Guildford’

Another non-review – Who Saw The Light / Tuskar / Lowdown – Star Inn, 18th June 2017

May 21, 2017

I missed Lowdown.  Well, I caught a touch… they’re a young, mainstream rock act.  I think.  The singer can sing.  I love to see a musician looking like they’re having as much fun on stage as the bassist appeared to be… but ultimately not my thing at all.

I’ve met Tyler once before, and he cornered me after the gig tonight.  He plays drums in Tuskar.  He sings.  He wanted to know what I thought of his band.  Why?  My opinion is everything, I buy that, but kinda only to me.  One might argue my opinion is nothing.

I started talking.  He seemed to think I wasn’t overly impressed.  I’m not one to bullshit what people want to hear.  I could’ve just said “really great, man, loved it!” and I wouldn’t have been dishonest, but me and my big gob tried to be more honest… and it’s hard to get across exactly what you wanna say, especially briefly and when you’re knackered and you’ve just had a few drinks watching a couple of fuck off noisy metal / doom / sludge / whatever bands.

I was happy to be cornered.   I love talking music.  I enjoyed Tuskar a lot.  Sludgey, doomy shit, heavy-as guitar / drums two-piece.  Someone – someone who knows a load more than me technically – said three things.  Tyler is a fucking good drummer.  Tuskar have developed as a band to a point well ahead of their years.  They convince.

I buy these assertions 100%.  They are a ‘proper band’.  Some bands sound more like musicians playing together, especially when they’re young and starting out.  Tuskar are a proper fucking band.

I don’t see tons of ACM stuff, and what I do see is mainly the noisier end, so I’m probably missing loads of good bands over the last few years… but Tuskar are only the third name on my list of “proper bands” I’ve seen live coming out of ACM over the last few years.  Following Foxes, Who Saw The Light, Tuskar.  I have no doubt Blackwaters could be added to the list but I ain’t seen them live.

So, what could have made me go “fucking amazing” without a fraction of second’s hesitation when Tyler asked what I thought?

(1)  If I was more of a sludge / stoner / doom expert then I’d have a better idea of just how good they are in the context of the style of music they make.  But I’m not.  All I can really say is that it’s a style I really like, they do it well and I look forward to seeing them again.  But I have no real idea where they sit in the genre, who are most similar to them, how good they are in comparison to their closest rivals.

(2)  Here’s where things get tricky.  Songs.  There’s loads of bands locally who I really love going to see live.  Tuskar can be added to the list.  The main thing that they don’t tend to have – that the very best bands do – is fucking great songs.  Songs that get in your head damn quick and just stay there.  It might be kinda obvious, it might go without saying, but my advice (easier said than done) to just about every band I go see is “give everything you’ve got to writing the best songs you can.  I know you’re not pop, but catchy is generally good, and I’d advise you to take something from pop.”  As I say, easier said than done.  That said I really need to listen to the ep [Tuskar – Arianrhod] half a dozen times and see them live a few more times before I really judge the songs… but pretty much every band on the planet could do with a few better songs.

(3)  Innovation.  The greatest bands were innovators.  Black Flag and The Melvins are two bands I fucking love – they are both great, they both have great songs… but most impressively they have helped create genres and influence thousands of bands (probably tens of thousands of bands!)  There is nothing wrong with finding your niche and trying to play a certain style or combination of styles well, but set your sights at the stars, and try to find a way to take it – your music – no not just your music, music generally – to the next level.

When I go see live music in small venues I’m kinda judging every band against both ends of the spectrum.  On the one hand I can love a band simply because they put a smile on my face, get the foot tapping or rock hard.  On the other, to be great they need to do what the likes of Blacks Sabbath and Flag did.  Write numerous great songs that have not only been loved by fans across the world, but which have influenced the course of music history.  I don’t fuck around, I demand a lot.

TLDR – I really liked Tuskar, look forward to seeing them again and seeing them get better… but I wanna see them write their own Feel Good Hit of the Summer and change the course of metal history, and they ain’t getting 100% praise til they’ve done both those things.  Now fucking get to work.

I could say many similar things about Who Saw The Light, but there’s a couple things that have that do make them stand out.  There have a sense of anarchy, chaos and danger that is very difficult to pull off.  Their somewhat eclectic, all-over-the-fucking-place-style is much less easy to pigeonhole, and easier to picture developing into something that not only rocks but also influences others.

Two fine fine bands.

Check out Who Saw The Light again at the Star tonight.  Get there early – its an all dayer.  Check out Tuskar’s ep.

And fuck it, do one more thing –

 

 

Porch, Buzz Rodeo, Space Church, This Is Wreckage – Buffalo Club, Star Inn, Guildford – 14th May 2017

May 18, 2017

I think this was probably the best Buffalo Club line-up yet, certainly the most international with four nations represented.  This is gonna be one of my shorter reviews, mainly because I’d had a lazy six hour session watching football and tasting beer before I even turned up.

Wales was up first, represented by a guitar / bass / drums three piece This Is Wreckage.  They (noise) rocked and I thought they were excellent.  Bought a CD, not had a chance to listen to it yet.

England was up second, represented by a guitar / bass / drums three piece Space Church.  I must have seen them half a dozen times now and I am only now starting to truly get my head around them.  I am disappointed that they are no longer the complete head-fuck I thought the first time I saw them, but that’s not their fault – you can’t exactly replicate the first time you experience something over and over again.  They are, however, a fine, silly, deadly serious, loud / quiet noise band.

Germany was up third, represented by a guitar / bass / drums three piece Buzz Rodeo.  Fuck it, I’d been going for 8 hours by the time they hit the stage and there’s nothing I really wanna say other than “noise rock, really enjoyed it, blah blah blah.”

The US of A was up fourth, represented by a guitar / bass / drums three piece Porch.  Fuck it, I’d been going for 9 hours by the time they hit the stage and there’s nothing I really wanna say other than “grungey (or am I just saying that ‘cos they’re from Trumpland*) noise rock, really enjoyed it, blah blah blah.”

Must do better next time.  Me, not the bands or Buffalo Club.

* is it still Trumpland or has the fucker been stuck in prison yet?

An interview with Phil Markwick – Buffalo Club, Buzz Rodeo, Porch – The Star, Guildford Sunday 14th May

May 5, 2017

I met up with Phil Markwick last Saturday morning, at the Guildhall on Guildford High Street for the Record Fair.  More browsing than buying, then we headed down to the Star for a coffee, and found ourselves a table tucked away in a quiet corner right by the door to the back room where Phil (and others) put on gigs under the name The Buffalo Club.

We started chatting music… and ended up chatting for over an hour, most of which I got on tape.  This piece will cover the Buffalo Club and in particular their upcoming show at the Star on May 14th, other parts of the interview will likely see the light another time.

“So, what shall we talk about?” was about the best question I asked.  As I say, we chatted.  You’re better off just listening to Phil.  His words are in bold.

“The thing I’d like to talk about is the upcoming show that we’ve got with Buzz Rodeo, Porch and This is Wreckage.”  And Space Church, his own band.

“Tell me about Buzz Rodeo and Porch.”

“Buzz Rodeo.  The quickest way to sum them up is like a German Shellac.  I joked to a friend because Shellac wasn’t efficient enough as it is… they’re very stark, the songs are good, classic noise rock songs.  I bought their album on bandcamp a long time before I knew that they were doing a UK tour.”

“I saw they did a post on facebook saying “hey, we’re doing a tour, these are our free dates.”  So I got in contact with them and said “we do a thing in Guildford, would you be interested in playing?  They were. They were really keen.  It was kinda like a happy accident that they were doing a kind of joint tour with Porch.  Porch was a band, a sort of California noise-rock band from back in the 90s.  I was aware of them back in the 90s, I didn’t see them live back in the 90s, but to be honest I hadn’t thought about them since the 90s.  When I heard they were plaing again I thought “that’s cool” and I was kind of surprised, I thought they had missed that wave of “let’s get back together to do All Tomorrow’s Parties”.  It’s incredible that they’re doing a tour of the UK.  I think I fucked up on pricing [£5 – Ed.] because originally I thought it was just going to be Buzz Rodeo.  With the stuff we do with the Buffalo Club 100% of the money goes to the main band, especially touring bands and out of town bands.  They have petrol costs – flights, hotels.”

“One of the things with the Buffalo Club is how you want to be an arbitrator of taste.  Only bands that I really really really like will play.  But then you learn some rules.  You can get away with four bands playing and two of them have gotta be a draw.  Two of them have gotta bring people out, and if they don’t you just have out of town bands that are fucking amazing but all they’re doing is watching each other.  It seems to me that’s the rule for putting on local shows, like 50% of the bands that play have to be local draws, or if they’re out of town they have to be known.  I’m hoping Porch are going to be a local draw.  As soon as you’re involved in a thing you can’t see the wood for the trees.”

“There’s an other band This Is Wreckage, and they’re coming all the way down from Wales.  Which is great, but I’ve kinda broken that out of town / local balance rule with this.

“It’s certainly not about making money.  When you fill out a room and you’re £50 out of pocket that’s brilliant.  You could put on another show and break even and only have 20 people and I’d rather be £50 out of pocket and fill the room, cos you feel like you’re putting on a party.”

“Who is the Buffalo Club, you’re obviously the driving force?”

“I wouldn’t put it that way.  The Buffalo Club was started by four bands. Secret Black Boyfriend [Now called Moper – Ed.], Fauntleroy, Pensevor and Space Church.  You had a link between all bands.  One member of Space Church was in Pensevor.  Another member of Pensevor was in Fauntleroy, and the other member of Fauntleroy was in Secret Black Boyfriend.  In the early days it was very easy to communicate, unfortunately Fauntleroy have stopped rehearsing as a band for a while.  Everyone is still friends but it isn’t as immediate any more.  It floated apart a bit.  It’s become more just Pensevor and Space Church.  I wouldn’t say I’m the driving force, I mean all it is is booking a venue.  I do the posters, because I have a graphic design background, and you have fun doing them.  It’s not entirely selfless.”

“What do you make of the Star?”

“It’s a great venue, you can get nice and loud, the sound’s really good, the only thing it’s got against it is it hasn’t got a back stage.

“What do Porch sound like?”

“Porch, to me, they sound like a lot of those great 90s bands.  When I was younger there were a couple of bands that I noticed for the first time, and one of them was Jawbox and I’d kinda put Porch in the same cate… I don’t wanna say category… memory, memory box because you discover bands at the same time.”

“Any last thoughts on This is Wreckage?”

“Welsh band, noisy as fuck, absolutely brilliant, slightly avant-garde. Completely fucked up, great stuff, great stuff.”

Finally, Phil, I see your next event is at Sanctuary Live in Basingstoke – who’s playing and what can we expect?

Basingstoke will be for the fans of doom!!!  Yeah, that will be the legends Pensevor.  Pat (the Space Church drummer) plays guitar in that band and he just blows me away with his skills.  He showed me a guitar piece to play the other day and I had to say ‘I gotta re-write that bit’, because I just cannot do those ‘puff of smoke and turn on a dime’ changes that he can do.

It’s the first time we are doing a Buffalo Club in Basingstoke so I am at pains to remind everyone that it’s not in Guildford.  I have visions of people turning up at the wrong venue.

The headliners are Skrackoedlan, I don’t know if I pronounced right, but they are doing a UK tour at the moment and they reached out to me.  I have to admit I had not heard of them before, but I thought it was really good stuff.  I asked Pensevor if they would like play with them, they said yeah, so we went for it.  Skrackoedlan are sort of old school, a little bit ‘Hawkwind’ but in a good way.

With this and the Buzz Rodeo / Porch night we are stepping out a little to get touring bands.  It’s bit more work and financial risk but so it’s great how supportive people have been.

Tank 86 are touring with Skrackoedlan also.  I am looking forward to that, they really have some riffs!  I am not super knowledgeable about the Doom scene and I am kind of ‘I don’t know much, but I know what I like’, but they seem to be taking off at the moment.

Gift of Blindness is playing also. Probably the best dark metal band on the scene today. Think of it are almost shoegaze metal as you just have two guys just focused on playing these amazingly epic metal-scapes. I sort of joked to one the members that you should get loads of dry ice and I will sit behind the drums pretending to play with dildos or something.  

 

Event Page on Facebook (Buzz Rodeo and Porch)

https://www.facebook.com/events/1851757875095504/

Buzz Rodeo

https://buzzrodeo.bandcamp.com/

Porch

https://porch.bandcamp.com/

Space Church

https://spacechurch.bandcamp.com/

This Is Wreckage

https://thisiswreckage.bandcamp.com/

Lost You To The Cities, Gift of Blindness with The Sleepwalker, Typical Hunks, Unman – The Star Inn, 9th April 2017

April 15, 2017

Buffalo Club join forces with Trial n Error – end result veers more into experimental / noise territory than a typical Buffalo Club night which is perhaps more riffs and noise.  Whatever follows bear in mind that I’m fucking happy to walk into a venue and hear noisey music that’s not straight-down-the-line metal; isn’t some generic punky-emo-y nonsense.

Unman kick things off.  Guitar, bass, drums, sax.  Noise, noise, drums, some sax and more noise.  I was told its all improvisation.  Very believable.

It was all about jazz drumming, the odd sax burst, and lots of texture.  I enjoyed it a lot, lost myself in it… but I have to say that I prefer music to be more song- or riff-based.  I like rhythm.  I like sound.  But most of all I like raw, dirty rock n roll, and that ain’t Unman.  Then again, it’s pointless to consider Unman on those terms.

Great thinking music.  I felt like I do when I look at modern art… an afternoon in a gallery looking at modern art is something I really enjoy… but I often find that relatively little of what I see I really like as a piece of art – what I get from is more that it invariably gets me thinking about art and making art.  And actually, thinking about it now, I prefer good music to good visual art, and I prefer thinking about music to thinking about visual art, so at the very least Unman are better than a visit to a gallery. But that’s harsh, I enjoyed it, its just not massively my kinda music.

Typical Hunks did their thing.  The drum machine is 80s.  The sound it makes is 80s.  It’s a fucking good job most bands don’t use 80s drum machines, but there’s nothing wrong with the fact that some bands do.  It suits the music which is some sort of post-punk, scratchy, US-noise influenced shit.  I’m not criticising the vox or bass, both of which play their part, but for me it’s all about the guitar.  I love it, and a bit of a droney vibe going on behind the main riffs which I didn’t really notice first time I saw them.

Next on was The Sleepwalker whose very brief laptop set was really an introduction to Gift of Blindness.  I cannot stress enough how much I am open to electronics replacing live instruments in live sets, and the drummer’s the obvious first one to ditch.  But my take is that if you’re not going to have a live drummer then you have the ability to do things that a real drummer can’t, whereas with Gift of Blindness it seemed more like programmed drums were there filling a gap until a real drummer turns up.  Technical issues and the lack of the bass player who couldn’t make it and it all felt a bit half-cooked… but Gift of Blindness’s Umair Chaudhry knows that.  Was it the second track that kicked in with a really nice guitar sound and riff?  Think so.  The potential’s there.  £10 says Gift of Blindness’ next gig will be a load better.  The last one probably was too.

Headliners – Lost You To The Cities – don’t seem to have been around too long.  The night’s kinda gone full circle, and we’re back to abstract music that’s more about texture than anything else.  Instrumental post-rock though, not jazz-noise.  Again I enjoyed it.  Again I’m just happy to be able to see live music that isn’t just some straight-ahead metal or pointless indie drivel, but again its not massively my thing and I really can’t say much other that I suspect it sounds a bit like Sonic Youth, Mogwai, Radiohead, Slint, Fireside, … And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Can, Balmorhea, Ennio Morricone, Dirty Three, GYBE, A Silver Mount Zion, Joy Division, Velvet Underground [you have just read a list of their influences C and P’d from their Facebook page.  My knowledge of post-rock is limited].

Nervus, Sibling, Belleview Days, Camcorder – the Boileroom, Guildford, February 27th 2017

April 4, 2017

Not a proper review… but I have to write a few words… [edit – actually, I already wrote a few words and they’d been stuck in a draft folder for a month].

Camcorder – missed ’em.  A bit gutted.  Wanted to see them play with a little less loud sound system.  I know they’re a noisy band, but I think that they’re probably better on record or with the sound a little more under control than when I saw them at the Star.  Boileroom gigs start too early!

Belleview Days.  Bit of a Biffy influence?  Indie rock… less modern sounding than many younger bands, I liked ’em.

Sibling.  Not bad, not blown away, wouldn’t mind seeing them again.

Nervus.  I like them… again, not 100% my thing, but they do have a certain something (mainly two singers – one on keys, one with a bit of guitar action going on – who know what they’re doing and keep things interesting.)

Morass of Molasses, Space Church, Grits, Silent Mode, Buffalo Club night at the Star, Guildford, 30th March 2017

April 2, 2017
As their set started I was worried that they were going to be pretty poor… but my concerns were soon found to be totally misplaced.  Band with most commercial potential – Silent Mode.  Is this down to age / look as much as sound?  Maybe, not sure.  The combination of a relatively modern sound and more stoner rock vibes makes for a nice combination.  Vocals really reminded me of Brian Molko… not everyone’s sup of tea but I have a bit of a soft spot for Placebo… and they’ve managed pretty darn tidy career.

Grits are a bit like Silent Mode – definitely a band that could fairly be described as alternative, whilst coming from a place that is probably quite straight-ahead rock too.  At times they remind me of the frantic energy of MBV at their best (for the avoidance of doubt this is very high praise coming from me), whilst not sounding much like them at all.  I’d love to know how that set was meant to sound compared to how it came out… chaos, falling cymbal, collapsing drums, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal.  Bit of luck I have a soft spot for amateurism and chaos – the band who I suspect might be the most technically gifted of the four on show really did come across somewhere between unlucky and clowns.  Not the best set of the night, not the best set Grits will ever play… and I don’t 100% get where they’re coming from.  But when they get it right they really get it right.

Space Church.  I swear they sound totally different every time I see them.  My perception was wonderful noisy all over the place weirdness the first time I saw them.  I love the album.  At the Boileroom recently I thought it was the sound that gave me a totally different perspective (no pun intended, still available on 7″).  Much quieter, more professional, more like a band who might actually want to be liked as opposed to really really not giving a flying anything.  They seemed to carry that back to the Star, sort of… maybe it was the venue / sound less at the Boileroom, and more them developing.  No idea.  Most interesting band on show, and one I’m actually finding harder to pin down the more i see them.

Really enjoyed Morass of Molasses – a sludgey stonery bassless heavy quite retro sounding bluesy damn fine thing.  Probably the band I enjoyed most, despite, on paper, perhaps being the one I’d think I’d like least.  Second time I’ve seen them and I think I’m getting them more.  But not enough to write much… I blame lack of shared reference points between MoM and WEM.

I really can’t work out which of the following statements is most true –
(1)  There are a ridiculous number of really good bands around Surrey / Hants right now.
(2)  The Buffalo Club guys can spot a band.
(3)  I love any old shit so long as its live, loud and a bit different.

Gigs in Guildford and Surrounds April 1st 2017 onwards

April 1, 2017

Updated list of upcoming gigs by bands in and around Guildford that have caught my eye… this does purport to be a full listing – it’s stuff that’s caught my eye, with bands or promoters I particularly like in bold.  If you’re in a band or a promoter or venue then you’re welcome to get in touch and let me know about what you do – if it interests me I’ll add you on.

Saturday 15th April 2017
Moper (ex-SBB), Group of Man at the West End Centre in Aldershot
https://uk.patronbase.com/_WestendCentreEvents/Productions/WSOX/Performances
https://www.facebook.com/events/281156012308389

Friday 21st April 2017
Camcorder, Moper (ex-SBB), Tailblock, Grenades at the Fighting Cocks in Kingston
https://www.facebook.com/events/221174725019463/

Sunday 23rd April 2017
End of Salvation, Gutlocker, Kill For Company, Spreading The Disease at the Star Inn, Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/events/363520220661573/

Friday 28th April 2017
Wonk Unit, The Wonder Beers, Second In Line at the Star Inn, Guildford [Jasta11 Gigs]
https://www.facebook.com/events/416491455361879/

Friday 28th April 2017
Masiro, Slug 13, Luau, Who Saw The Light at the Lounge Bar in Alton [Trial n Error Night]
https://www.facebook.com/Trial-N-Error-Productions-1511711255801880/?fref=ts

Saturday 29th April 2017
ALLUSONDRUGS at the West End Centre in Aldershot
https://www.facebook.com/events/1400967353256596/

Sunday 30th April 2017
Muncie Girls at the Boileroom in Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/events/1365320940209728/

Monday 1st May 2017
Meat Wave at the Boileroom in Guildford
http://www.theboileroom.net/listings/events/1-may-17-meat-wave-the-boileroom/

Thursday 4th May 2017
Muncie Girls plus Support at the West End Centre in Aldershot
https://www.facebook.com/events/1009896509143488/

Friday 5th May 2017
Diggeth, Cavalli, March The Desert, Squid Resist at the Face Bar in Reading [The Swamp]
https://www.facebook.com/events/237441310027007/

Saturday 6th May 2017
Forward 4 Wiz Trust 10th Birthday Celebration
I Plead Irony, Parachute For Gordo, Deadstate, Princess, Red Means Danger, Joe Booley, The Hunt at the West End Centre in Aldershot
https://www.facebook.com/events/376200369432054/

Tuesday 9th May 2017
Shame at the Boileroom in Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/events/404018573296740/

Thursday 11th May 2017
Hands Off Gretel at the Boileroom in Guildford
http://www.theboileroom.net/listings/events/11-may-17-hands-off-gretel-the-boileroom/

Sunday 14th May 2017
Buzz Rodeo, PORCH, This is Wreckage, Space Church at the Star Inn, Guildford [Buffalo Club Night]
https://www.facebook.com/events/1851757875095504/

Friday 19th May 2017
Morass of Molasses (album Launch), Cybernetic Witch Cult, Prophets of Saturn, Sons of Endor, Tuskar in Reading [The Swamp]
https://www.facebook.com/events/1947289105490799/

Friday 19th May 2017
Skraeckoedlan, Tank 86, Pensevor at the Sanctuary, Basingstoke.  [Buffalo Club night].
https://www.facebook.com/events/1902757813273003

Saturday 20th May 2017
Deadwound, Pensevor, Sealclubber at The Fighting Cocks, Kingston
https://www.facebook.com/events/1296598210431900/

Friday 2nd June 2017
The Frankleys, Camcorder plus more TBC at the Star Inn, Guildford [Jasta 11 Gigs]
https://www.facebook.com/events/200771547081568/

Friday 2nd June 2017
Heinous Pianist, Sizzling Bonobas, Senor Fire at the Lounge Bar in Alton
https://www.facebook.com/131347206687/photos/a.386701151687.172970.131347206687/10154235459886688/
Note – First support band should really change their name to Sizzling Bono His Smug Face Melting on a Barbecue for the World’s Pleasure and Delight

Sunday 18th June 2017
Jungfrau, Swords of Thought, and more TBC at the Star Inn, Guildford [Buffalo Club Night]
https://www.facebook.com/events/1689271328040204/

Friday 30th June 2017
ALLUSONDRUGS / Icarus Dive / Silent Mode at the Star in Guildford [Jasta 11 Gigs]
https://www.facebook.com/events/252324221839932/

Sunday 30th July 2017
Moper (ex-SBB) at the Facebar in Reading
https://www.facebook.com/mopernoise/

Promoters to follow –

The Buffalo Club Facebook Page – Noise, alternative, all sorts.

Jasta 11 Gigs Facebook Page – Indie, alternative, all sorts.

Leafy Incline Promotions Facebook Page – Noisy, grungey stuff.

Rose Coloured Records Facebook Page – Indie, alternative, all sorts.

The Swamp Reading Facebook Page – Sludge, Doom

Trial N Error Productions Facebook Page – Sludge, DoomAll sorts / experimental

Venues to Follow –

The Boileroom Guildford Facebook Page

The Facebar Reading Facebook Page

The Lounge Bar Alton Facebook Page

Sanctuary Basingstoke Facebook Page

The Star Inn Guildford Facebook Page

West End Centre Aldershot Facebook Page

Past Events –

Friday 7th April 2017
Confessions of a Traitor, Gutlocker, Throatpunch City, Silent Mode at the Lounge Bar in Alton
https://www.facebook.com/events/637023236484073/https://www.facebook.com/events/637023236484073/

Friday 7th April 2017
Hummune, Wychhound, Morass of Molasses, Nyogtha at the Facebar in Reading
https://www.facebook.com/events/593207000880853/

Sunday 9th April 2017
UNMAN, Typical Hunks, Lost You To The Cities, Gift of Blindness and Sleepwalker at the Star Inn, Guildford [Trial n Buffalo Night]
https://www.facebook.com/events/706660459508133/
https://www.facebook.com/thebuffaloclub/
https://www.facebook.com/Trial-N-Error-Productions-1511711255801880/?fref=ts

Fauntleroy, Throatpunch City, Aching Muscle, Slow Ruin at the Star Inn, Guildford – Buffalo Club Night – Sunday 19th March 2017

March 20, 2017

Slow Ruin are not your typical Buffalo Club band.  Well they are in one respect – they know what they’re doing.   Buffalo Club nights, to me, are about high quality, and alt, noise and maybe a dash of metal over the last 25 years, and all sorts, but generally pretty noisy.  Not normally particularly modern sounding, but aside from some hard rock riffs generally more late 80s onwards than anything before in terms of overt influences.  Some of it is pretty mathy and modern, but Buffalo Club nights don’t generally chase fashion.  Which is something else they have in common with Slow Ruin.

Slow Ruin have a late 60s early 70s jazz-infused folk thing going on (under the surface… reminded me of the Pentangle, but maybe that’s because they’re about the only late 60s early 70s jazz-infused folk thing I ever listen to), that they take in a bluesy, heavier, psychedelic direction.  When they started my immediate reaction was “this is all too blues / classic rock for me”, but I quickly came round to that being part of their sound, and in no way simply their sound.  It got noisier, almost a bit early 80s, neo-psychedelia.

3 piece.  Really liked the drums, really liked the guitars.  The singer has a great voice.  Kinda good start.  At one point I was wondering whether she was gonna go all talent-show waily-shit, but no, my fears were allayed and she carried comfortably on the right side of the “giving it some” / “caterwauling painfully” divide.  My fears were not down to anything she did, they were down to how high a proportion of people who have a confident and powerful voice seem to take it ten steps too far and start breaking glasses and stuff.  Not on Slow Ruin’s watch.  Really good voice, really enjoyed it.

Actually, you know what.  If I could chuck one criticism at the Buffalo Club booking policy is it could go in a bit more of a psychedelic direction.  Minor criticism.

I’ll come back to Aching Muscle.

Throatpunch City have their moments.  There’s a lot to like.  Kinda remind me of Mars Volta but I’m sure there are closer comparisons that I’ve not heard.  They are loud.  They have a scruff-pot guitarist who was happy as anyone I’ve ever seen on a stage.  Pretty good but what they seem to be trying to do – playing fucking loud and precise – is damn hard.  Two things, perhaps I am judging them harshly when lining them up against my experiences of listening to the likes of the Mars Volta on record.  Secondly, I reckon the two hardest things to do in music are these – play simple (I dunno, acoustic guitar, one voice, simple song) and make it magical; play hard and precise, trying to get perfection alongside power.  They’re trying one of those things. The latter. I hope is obvs.

Fauntleroy.  Richard Fennings on guitar.  Some geez on drums who deserves love attention and even respect for his efforts with the sticks, but if he’s stupid enough to get on stage with Richard he should know well enough he’s gonna get a bit overlooked.

I really struggle talking about most bands (why am I even writing this?) but more so those bands who come from any sort of proggy or mathy direction.  I don’t know Fauntleroy’s reference points one bit, but I do know they are playful, incredibly precise, beautiful, varied and that I like them a lot.  They even get damn noisy at times and come close to replicating and simultaneously bettering / battering the Throatpunch City sound with 60% fewer people on stage.  [I’m probably being harsh, and I’m grossly oversimplifying, but I have a feeling that for Throatpunch City to be the band they’d like to be they need to sack most of themselves and start breeding Fennings].

Downsides – I’m open to plenty of different things music wise, but their style is certainly not one of my favourites.  Its the sort of music I’ll happily listen to, not the sort of music I seek out.  They are almost too knowing to be a “proper band” [and I do mean almost, they are a proper band, with their own sound]; they risk being seen as not serious… which is fair, cos they’re not that serious, but unfair because it is possible to be very serious and the total opposite simultaneously.

I’m pretty sure I checked them out online 12 or 18 month’s back before I realised that I could trust the Buffalo Club to put on a decent show… and I’m pretty sure a very quick listen made me think “not my thing”. Which they’re not, but a thing can not be your thing, whilst still be a thing that you can shake your thang too, from time to time.  I will be checking them out more on record, and I will be seeing them live again.

If you like musicianship, variety or simply beautiful intricate and surpising math then THEY ARE FOR YOU.

Which brings me onto Aching Muscle.  Richard Fennings, solo.  Basically Fauntleroy but more so.  More varied, less serious.  Backing samples / loops, guitar, insanely impressive, but more Britain’s Got Talent than Brits.  Absolutely legitimate to have a solo thing going on, why not?  Entertaining enough, but more of a novelty than a band (not that one person ever really has much hope of being described as a band).

When something is as unserious as this the question has to be asked, why not go the whole hog and get in a comedian / comedy singer (rapper?  poet?) in to front it?

Reminded me of Mike and James’ “Expert Knob Twiddlers” album from the mid-90s. I was thinking “in spirit, not sound”, though maybe quite a lot of the backing loops shared something soundwise as well.

 

 

Slug 13, Blackdroid, King Ghidora, Princess at the Star Inn, Guildford – Leafy Incline – Sunday 5th March 2017

March 19, 2017

Not a full review, far too late for that, and I did start drinking about 6 hours before the gig started, so arguably my views might be somewhat impaired.  But a few words anyway.

Slug 13 – getting tighter, good set, good signs.  If you like it noisy / grungy / riffy then fill yer boots.  Princess – fine set again, their abrasive gothic-tinged noise does it for me.

King Ghidora I’d not seen before… grungy, metally beasts, will definitely be seeing them again sometime.

Blackdroid came down from Southend.  FINE FINE BAND. Heavy.  Riffs galore.  Well impressed.

Idles, Scarlet Rascal, Space Church at the Boileroom, Guildford – 15th March 2017

March 16, 2017

So, I’m here for two reasons.  Space Church and Idles.  Space Church I like, Idles sound really good online… angry, political… top notch post-punk noise.  I was going anyway so no need to check out Scarlet Rascal.  I have no expectations of them.

Space Church came on before the venue really filled up.  It’s a bold headliner who is willing to spend so much time at the start of a set playing in almost silence… its a very bold support act.  I like bold.  It’s a bold alt-rock frontman who does snow and rain hand gestures to help the audience follow his lyrics.  I like bold.  What I like isn’t always wise.

To what extent should a band be praised for their courage, their single-mindedness… to what extent should they be given a short sharp slap and told to go away and think about how much the audience reaction from people seeing them for the first time could be changed for the better by ditching some of the weirdness and chucking one or two slightly more catchy numbers in the set?  Whilst not a particularly close comparison I note that whilst their albums went off in different, quiet and experimental directions, live Spacemen 3 focussed on the noisy tracks that went down well live.

Is it sound system or my mood?  Some of it might even be down to the band playing different on different nights.  When I first saw Space Church they just threw me totally in a really noisy, really all over the place, really don’t give a fuck way I love.  Later I was less impressed (less, not un)… which I mainly put down to a set-list that changed little, maybe the band getting a touch tighter, and the overall effect being considerably less of a headfuck compared to seeing them the first time as a result.

Space Church are my perfect type of band to see at the Boileroom.  A band I know and love and who I have already seen blast away loud as.  A band in a new environment where I get to see what they can do with a better (no, not better, more controlled) sound system and more controlled sound.

“Space Church Play Post / Noise / Stoner / Math Rock” says their bandcamp.  Steve Albini and Slint are huge influences.  Yet some guy I spoke to after their set dismissed them to me a Pink Floyd rip-off with none of the talent when I asked him what he thought.  I can kinda see where’s he was coming from in some respects, but its basically crap.  Imagine giving a band used to a grand and a weekend to make an album around £20k £40k plus and a month or two.  The Boileroom is probably a bit like the live equivalent.  Space Church’s subtlety and variety and sheer competence comes to the fore, but they lose massively in energy, raw power and that scratchy, trebly, raw abrasive guitar sound that would – IMHO – ensure that Pink Floyd just wouldn’t be considered as a comparison by anybody.

The other thing about Space Church is this.  To what extent are they deadly serious?  To what extent are they are complete piss-take?  To what extent do they know themselves, and to what extent do they care what the audience’s thoughts on the matter are.  I think they’re meant to be taken seriously in many respects (but I could be wrong), but I also think I take them far more seriously than I should.  I suspect many younger audience members took them more seriously than I do, and would maybe hear them in a totally different way if they (the audience or the band) approached it less seriously.

Great set.

The surprise of the night next… Scarlet Rascal.  I took an immediate dislike to the shit drumming, and the arrogant prick on vocals.  Wasn’t overly keen on the wanky jazzmaster action or Ride circa 1991 haircut said offender was sporting either.

Then I got into it.  This is probably the most bullshitty comparison I have ever made, but here’s my take on them.  Imagine PiL decided to go in a shoegaze / krautrock direction, and get the lovechild of Mark E Smith and David Byrne to front them?  It might be a bit like Scarlet Rascal.  One or two songs in and I’m digging the drumming and feeling pretty bad about my misjudgement… maybe my reaction was simply down to how much I like the drumming I’d just seen in Space Church, and Scarlett Rascal’s stickster just does her thing in a totally different way.

Great groove, I’m no massive shoegaze fan, but I do like it, then you add a proper, top class frontman and you have a band that I could get well into I think.  Gonna go check ’em out now, see where they’re coming from, what they’re like on record.  Go do the same.

I just didn’t get on with Idles… the venue was filling up and I moved further back.  The sound was quiet and I thought they sounded bang fucking average.  Nothing like on record.  I moved forward a bit for the last couple of songs and they were better… but still not convinced.  Nothing wrong with not sounding like you do on record.  Its normal.  Many bands sound tight, taut and controlled on record, brilliant for it, then fall apart in the most beautiful noisy way in a live environment.

I was in a minority of one, most of the crowd were well into it, but, honestly, worst set of the night by a mile.  It wouldn’t surprise me if in a different venue at a different time with a louder sound system and I’d give ’em a ten.  Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood.

I was listening to Idles whilst writing this… superb band.