Posts Tagged ‘Star Inn’

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].

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.

Nova Twins, IDKFA, Moper – Jasta 11 Promotion at the Star Inn Guildford 25th February 2017

February 25, 2017

First on, Moper.  The first time I saw them, under their old moniker, I wasn’t overly impressed.  “Overall interesting, not bad, lots of potential… but not my thing right now.  I’d be more than happy to turn up at a gig and find out they were on the bill, but I wouldn’t go far out of my way specifically to see them” was what I said.  Since then I have made an effort to listen to them online, grown to like them and bought their records.  I judge the bands I see by pretty high standards, but I do try to like local bands, try to give them a chance, give myself every opportunity to grow to like a band so I can go and enjoy gigs locally.  Fucking glad I did with this mob, and it was hardly a chore.

They describe themselves as “abrasive and noisy post-hardcore”*.  Yet again my [lack of] knowledge of the multitude of genres and sub-genres over the last 25-30 years lets me down… but I think I can say for sure that Steve Albini and Shellac are influences.  Drums vary between rocking fairly hard, and, perhaps more often, odd time signatures.  Add some really nice bass and a Johnny’s guitar / vox and that’s them.

Johnny has a really nice voice that suits the music.  The guitars can be noisy, abrasive, scratchy and nasty, but more often than not stripped-back and beautiful is as appropriate a description.  Very few bands I have ever seen have taken the volume right down and have had the audience in near-as-damnit-silence… in fact I can only think of one off the top of my head… and the band that managed it (more than once in various times I saw them) were a semi-acousitic / cello / percussion three piece who played their entire set pretty quietly, and had fewer people in the room than Moper did.  And the band leader can boast a major-label solo deal and at least one ToTP appearance as a member of a band on his CV.

It’s hard for me to really judge how good they are – I just don’t know the competition well enough.  But I really like the balance they get between abrasion and beauty… and I have a feeling it’s their balance relatively in favour of beauty, in contrast to most bands doing a similar thing who favour noise, that makes me like them.

Go buy the wonderfully titled new album, “An Altar of Nothing, Erected for No-one”.  I did, and I have NO REGRETS.

I think Moper think they’re depressing, but for me there was only one band on the bill that made me sad.  They came on second.  I am opinionated and capable of making very quick decisions about whether a band is brilliant or not.

I liked the bassist’s MC4 T-shirt.

I like stuff that is relatively new, relatively different.  I have no issue with bands using sequencers, electronics, whatever, live… but dance music is VERY hard to do live.  And more than that, what’s the point?  The best dance music I have ever heard is drum and bass, techno, electro and tech-house.  The strengths it has are watered down by even the merest hint of live instrumentation.  It is meant to be pure and precise.

IDKFA are sort of a 90s rave band I think, probably with some more modern pop-dance / EDM influences too.  It is not my type of music on any level whatsoever.  If I wanted to listen to dance music I’d be in a dark basement club with a DJ, or I’d be at home sticking on Underground Resistance 12″s.  Sorry.

[There is a risk that as this review continues a certain inconsistency of thought will become apparent].

Finally Nova Twins.  Slightly odd that only 4 nights earlier, in the  same venue, I saw a similar-ish 3-piece set-up.  Drums, vocals, and a bassist doing most of the music… the only fundamental difference in set-up was Revelry’s singer just sings, Nova Twin’s singer (actually, vocalist is much more accurate) plays a bit of guitar as well (though not on every song).

To a large extent my criticism of IDKFA is their melange… I’d rather my dance stripped down, simpler, more pure of sound and ditch the live bass and drums cos they can only take away from the precision, they cannot possibly add anything.  Nova Twins are a wonderful melange.

I kinda thought they sounded like Red Hot Chilli Peppers was a starting point, and that they’ve basically taken the intersection of rock, pop and maybe metal, and then infused it with a bit of hip-hop, drum and bass, grime (which is basically drum and bass plus hip-hop, plus a bit else isn’t it?) whatever else.  “We don’t call ourselves rock or grime” they said to the NME.  No they’re both.

Amy’s vocals are great, and I think I’d argue her overall stage prescence is even better.  Georgia’s bass is doing so much and my mind would have been considerably more blown had I not seen someone else pull off something similar so recently, albeit to a much lower standard. Could maybe give her a bit of criticism for being a bit light on the sub-bass, but when that kicked in, wow, props to the sound system at the Star as well to be fair.

I do not like rock-dance crossover acts.  Nova Twins are and they aren’t.  There’s no mess, no crossover because it’s all so seemless.  I could see them pretty damn high up the bill at a big festival.

* [Typo inspired ‘joke’].  In what style did William Shakespeare’s successors write pretty intense and slightly alternative plays?  Post-bardcore.  Sorry.

Gigs in Guildford and Surrounds February 2017 onwards

February 18, 2017

Upcoming gigs in and around Guildford that have caught my eye… if the band or promoter is in bold then I have a particular soft spot.  Otherwise it’s just gigs that I’d happily go to, and hopefully will go to, especially if it’s in Guildford.

Monday 20th February 2017
Xero, Who Saw The LightRevelry at the Star Inn, Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/events/1264923700211985/

Tuesday 21st February 2017
The Nightingales, Pink Diamond Review, Typical Hunks at the The Facebar, Reading
https://www.facebook.com/events/221855601569783/

Friday 24th February 2017
Nova Twins, IDKFA and Moper (ex-SBB) at the Star Inn, Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/events/706117169544967/

Sunday 5th March 2017
Slug 13, Blackdroid, King Ghidora, Princess at the Star Inn, Guildford [Leafy Incline Night]
https://www.facebook.com/events/941026996031194/

Monday 6th March 2017
Lee Scratch Perry at the Boileroom, Guildford [SOLD OUT]
http://www.theboileroom.net

Wednesday 15th March 2017
Idles, Scarlet Rascal, Space Church at the Boileroom, Guildford
http://www.theboileroom.net/listings/events/15-mar-17-idles-the-boileroom/

Friday 17th March 2017
Petrol Girls at the Boileroom, Guildford
http://www.theboileroom.net/listings/events/17-mar-17-petrol-girls-the-boileroom

Saturday 18th March 2017
Mirrored Lips, Fret!, Typical Hunks at the South Street Arts Centre, Reading
https://www.facebook.com/events/259458254476909/

Sunday 19th March 2017
Fauntleroy, Slow Ruin, Throat Punch City, Aching Mucle at the Star Inn, Guildford [Buffalo Club Night]
https://www.facebook.com/events/1199407930176890/

Sunday 9th April 2017
????? 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

Saturday 15th April 2017
Moper (ex-SBB) at the West End Centre in Aldershot

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
Gutlocker at the Star Inn, Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/gutlockeruk

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

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

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

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 15th May 2017
Buzz Rodeo, Moper (ex-SBB), This is Wreckage, Space Church at the Star Inn, Guildford [Buffalo Club Night]
https://www.facebook.com/events/1851757875095504/
https://www.facebook.com/mopernoise/

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

Lost in Venice, Who Saw the Light, Tuskar – Noise Theory – ACM – Star Inn Guildford, January 16th 2017

January 17, 2017

Tuskar – first on.  Got there too late, sorry Tuskar, missed you.  Are you this Tuskar?  http://picbear.com/tuskar.band  If so you might be pretty good, or even better?  Tuskar reminds me of Tosca, which reminds me of Fosca which is the name of a band I know nothing about who rose from the ashes of the incredible, mid-90s, Tim Chipping-fronted Orlando.

Lost in Venice – on last, pretty good in places.  Noisy.  Overall not my thing.  They describe themselves thus –

“FOR STONER ROCK, LOST IN VENICE ARE THE SCORCHING HEAT OF THE SUN AS IT BEATS DOWN ON THE DESERT. DESTROYING VENUES WITH THEIR SANDSTORM OF FUZZ AND FILTHY RIFFS THAT PUNCH YOU STRAIGHT IN THE GUTS.”

Not sure about that.  Maybe.  They did a Reuben cover. 

Who Saw the Light

Wowsers.  They describe themselves thus –

“three piece – heavy experimental band , music consist of a mixture of spacerock and psychedelic vibes with heavy distorted riffs. The name of the band comes from Plato’s Allegory of the Cave . In short words, the music is supposed to get people out of their comfort zone and make them question their strongest beliefs regarding contemporary music and everything it stands for.”

And –

“Progressive / Mathcore / Stoner / Psychedelic / Post-Metal”

Not sure about the first one.  Maybe.  I re-paste and put in bold what I saw to be true when I saw them –

three piece – heavy experimental band , music consist of a mixture of spacerock and psychedelic vibes with heavy distorted riffs. The name of the band comes from Plato’s Allegory of the Cave . In short words, the music is supposed to get people out of their comfort zone and make them question their strongest beliefs regarding contemporary music and everything it stands for.

I am going to try to list the genres present in their set.  And by that I mean actually played briefly, as opposed to simply influences.  Alphabetical order –

Ambient, Doom, Funk-Metal, Grunge (early 90s definition), Indie, Math, Metal, party-band (not really a genre, but I swear there was a point they were basically a party-band), Prog, Rap, Shoegaze (maybe, certainly an experimental noise element), Thrash.

I’m actually surprised I can’t remember more.

Most young bands seem to take one, maybe two genres and try to perfect one or make something a little new out of two new-ish ideas.  “Who Saw the Light ” (shit name, could work) just chuck everything in the mix.  They give the distinct impression they could be a decent metal band, or damn fine doom band.  They do grunge really well.  Yet it’s all backed up by a progressive, mathy vibe and definitely a “we REAALLLY don’t give a fuck” attitude.

The ambient bit at the start of one song was a bit boring.  You can do mellow better than that, boys.  The indie bit was pointless and pretty crap.  But the rest was pretty fucking good.  I seriously worried when it went all rap, but they somehow pulled it off and I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat at their sheer audacity.

They are not the finished article.  They need a lot more focus.  But their basic principal, weird mathy metal with all sorts chucked in, really works.  They rock.  They get funky.  If you can’t see beyond doom they’ll give you a song or two.  They sound nothing like this band, but they do remind me of them, massively.  Butthole Surfers.  I mentioned them briefly on this blog a month or two back, and then I see Who Saw the Light and see a Butthole Surfers don’t-give-a-fuck attitude in a big way. Not at all serious, whilst mixing things up in a way that you just don’t do unless your serious.

Best ACM band I have seen since Following Foxes (who were not my thing on any level, but absolutely killed what they were doing.  Gideon I think was the singer song-writer.  You have something, but so did the rest of Following Foxes.  I hope you’re all moving on to bigger and better things.)

Greenhorn, Aklash, Morass of Molasses, Pensevor – Buffalo Club, Star Inn, Guildford, 30th October 2016

November 1, 2016

I love heavy music played with guitars… but I would really not describe myself as a metal fan.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s a fair bit I like and sub-genres I have a bit of a soft spot for, but I ain’t no metaller.  Basically I’m an indie kid, only generally the noisier, experimentalier and punkier end alt-rock.  Just to be clear when I say I’m an ‘indie’ ‘kid’ I do not wish for you to assume that –

I am a kid

or

I am ‘indie’ in the 21st century “fucking boring, offensively backward-looking, bland, rocky, poppy music made with guitars by the sorts of cunts who describe themselves as ‘grunge’ and sound like (yet another fucking) foals rip off band.”  Still, it sidesteps all accusations of cultural appropriation if you ignore the source material and simply rip off the most boring band in the western world.  Sorry Foals, I forgot that Alt-J exist, you’re second bottom.

Aklash were third on.  They are just not my thing at all, sorry Aklash.

Greenhorn were, I presume, on last.  I missed them, just knackered, left.  In my defence I have a littl’un and had spent the six hours before the gig drinking beer, watching sport on TV, and strumming my new Jag.  And it was getting pretty late.  9.45pm or something utterly ridiculous, and actually 10.45pm in body-time if you think about it.  I am rock n roll personified but there’s only so far I can go past my normal bedtime.

Onto Morass of Molasses.  Great name, but you knew that.  They know that. Everyone knows that.  They have inspired Law 104,657 in my ‘Programme of discipline for when the Dictatorship begins’, a rather long document that I have been working on for a decade or two now.  It states.  “No male metal band member’s hair shall be longer than the beard length of the longest beard in their band.”  That’ll fuck with loads of band’s images, but Morass of Molasses will walk tall and walk proud, unaffected but my imposition of a greater level of discipline on the metal populace.

I can’t do huge amounts of justice to their sound, they’re out of my comfort zone…stoner rock / metal, sludge, swampy blues are the sorts of things that come to mind and / or get bandied around… I enjoyed their set a lot.

Pensevor were on first and I loved them, I really did.  First time I’ve seen them.  Definitely the least metal of the 3 bands I saw, but also the heaviest and most out-there.  I can only describe them like this… Sunn O))) / Earth… slow and simple drums and bass provide the backdrop for the two others… it really helps when the singer has a voice and a presence… but the guitar… so so good… such good sounds, just an insanely out of control tone (augmented by volume that might be described as as “on the high side”.  Properly good.  Their bandcamp page says “Pensevor are a four piece (vocals, guitar, bass and drums) from Farnborough, forming in 2011 to play hypnotic, primitive, regressive drop-C Neanderthal sludge-doom.”  If that sounds like your thing then you, sir, madam, have good taste.  Will be seeing them again soon I hope.  Fuck yeah. 

Sorry Greenhorn.  Sorry.

Trevor’s Head, Slug13, Nanking – The Star Inn, Guildford, 4th September 2016.

September 6, 2016

Band names, eh?  There is a school of music journalism that believes that the first and by far the most important question you should ask a band is “how did you get your name?” or “where does your name come from?”  I only did this to one band I think – Trevor’s Head.  It’s an unusual band name (aren’t they all?) that I first came across quite some time ago… but only half way through their set that it first occurred to me that it must be a reference to the mighty Trevor Brooking and his diving headed winner in the 1980 FA Cup Final.  I was wrong.  Coincidentally it only occurred to me during Slug 13’s set that Slug can mean something other than “slimy little creature”.

Now that the important stuff is out of the way I’d better quickly deal with the music.

Nanking first.  I loved their second track, which sounded to me like what At the Drive-In would sound like if they were a surf band, and there were plenty of other good moments.  It’s rare to see a drummer attack a drumkit with the sheer force and abandon that Nanking’s stickster did; it’s rare to see a band with such a good bass player.  But they do also sound like a band who are happy to chuck any and all influences into the mix and have fun, whereas if they focused the talent into developing their own sound they’d sound a lot more like a band.  But that ain’t happening – one gig to go, The Lounge in Alton at the end of the week – and Nanking are no more.

Slug13 are in many ways the complete opposite… less likely to pick up work as session musicians, but much more likely to come across as a ‘proper band’, a band who’ve found their sound.  I really liked their set, which to me was proper grunge in a Mudhoney kinda way.  Not that they sounded particularly like Mudhoney, just a proper, old-school stoner / grunge thing, and my personal taste and bias tends to lead me to seeing Mudhoney as the start, middle and end of grunge.  Not heard so much wah from one guitar for quite a while (no bad thing).  If I had one criticism it’d be that I’d prefer the guitars a bit more loose and wild and free… but perhaps that would take away as much as it’d give… and maybe it was just the volume in the venue was a touch lower than it could have been during their set.

Finally Trevor’s Head, who kinda make my last point (or rather second last point) for me.  Another proper old-school stoner / grunge band, though perhaps with a few more modern influences than Slug13, and definitely more of an explicit punk influence, a bit less grunge and a fair bit more stoner.   They were looser and wilder (and louder I think) than Slug 13 and fucking good for it, but you can’t have it both ways.  If anything maybe I’d have preferred a bit more of the solid, chugging consistency of Slug13.

Jeez… solid, chugging consistency sounds a bit like a massive insult doesn’t it, but it really isn’t – its integral to the whole sound / band.  And you know what, the easiest thing to do is chuck some other influence or instrument into the mix.  The hardest thing to do is keep it (relatively) simple.  As I get older I find myself more and more interested in technical, proggy, mathy, post-hardcore music of one type or another.  I love the insane complexity thrown at you hard and fast and loud.  But my real love, and certainly my original love, is music that is much more simple.

Sorry Nanking, stay together if you want more words outta me.  Slug13 and Trevor’s Head are two fine grungey stonery bands well worthy of your attention… I think my vote would have to go to the former (1-0 Slug13), but I suspect that’s to do with my age and shared formative influences as much as anything; gut feel is the more orthodox stoner thing Trevor’s Head have got going on is likely to have the wider appeal (1-1).  But I get the casting vote so 2-1 Slug13, Trevor’s Head lose, review over.

Leafy Incline – Sunday 4th September 2016 – The Star, Guildford

August 27, 2016

We’re 8 days from the first Leafy Incline Promotions event.  Leafy Incline is Slug13’s promotion’s arm, and they’re looking to do something a bit heavier than some of the promoters in Guildford whilst not being a metal night.  “An Evening of Guitar Based Noise” is how they put it.  Sounds good to me.

Slug13, Trevor’s Head, King Ghidora and Nanking is the line-up.

Some influences – Mudhoney, DRI, Prong, Swervedriver, Dinosaur Jr, Loop, God Machine, Husker Du.

Space Church, Princess, Camcorder, Pete (from Grits) – Star Inn, Guildford, 6th August 2016

August 17, 2016

First on comes Pete (from Grits)… now I like Grits, but this wasn’t some Grits solo show, or even someone showing another side to their music.  It was an artist showing random pages from his musical note-book.  As a grungey, dirty blues guy… he’s damn good.  As [a more soulful?] Squarepusher… less so.  Interesting, definitely talent in a number of directions, but its the dirty blues (and [hard/post/noise-]rock in his main band) that he really nails.

Next on… Camcorder.  What did the flyer say?  “Sort of like Weezer and AC-DC had a kid… oh Christ.”  Yeah, that was it.  I kinda buy that.  In theory they could be damn good, and there was a lot to like… but they sound like a band who need great pop songs to really hit home, and writing great pop songs ain’t easy.  Maybe the songs are better than I’m giving them credit for and they were lost in the noise that they were intentionally creating.

Princess – Best set of the night… subject to the caveat that Space Church’s might have been had it been the first time I’d seen them, and Pete’s might have been if he’d done grungey dirty blues all night.  Their cover of “the Model” is / was awesome.  Always good to see a Big Black cover.  Semi-joke.  Maybe it was just the suit that did it, but I got the feeling that it was something in the songs too… Princess dig Nick Cave I reckon… just checked and their Bandcamp page says the same thing… or did I read that before I saw them and my brain is taking the memory not the musical clues.  Fuck knows.  Noisy, edgy, scratchy, feedbacky, 80s-influenced, noise-rock / alt-noise of the sort that the Buffalo Club specialise in.  Yes.  (Not the prog band, the three letter word of affirmation.)  I should really have said that in CAPS.  With font: IMPACT for impact.  Natch.

Space Church – I’m not going to review the show.  Partly time, this review should have been done over a week ago after all.  Partly because I’m gonna get on the album soon.  I enjoyed the set, but I didn’t get that initial, overwhelming, “what the fucking fuck?” feeling that I got the first time I saw them.  I think the volume in the venue was down a bit which took away some of the power.

Oh yeah, and Princess didn’t have their usual drummer so they deserve extra points.