Posts Tagged ‘the Star’

Bloodrush / Gatvol / Star Inn – Guildford 28th January 2019

January 29, 2019

So, a few words… arrived late intending to see most of Gatvol‘s “alternative rock” set, but missed pretty much all of it… not really my thing.

Bloodrush… really enjoyed them… again, not really my thing, I’m no metaller, but I did enjoy it.

Blues > rock > hard rock > metal > more metal > more newer metal > nu metal > more metal > now.  How’s that for a history of metal?  Aside from the fact I’m not big into metal by a long shot, the problem for me is that metal bands, to grossly oversimplify, fall into one of two camps –

(1)  You have your retro blues-based classic metal nonsense.  Offends my desire to hear music as art, not music as homage to the past.

(2)  You have your soulless, shit-guitar-tone, modern metal nonsense.  Offends my desire to hear music that has humanity and good sound, and tends to be a rabbit-hole of pointless sub-sub-sub genres that are dead-ends in the history of musical development.

Maybe this is my perception and based a million miles away from reality, but the best metal in my eyes recognises that we are not in the 70s / 80s, whilst knowing that music needs to be organic and a lot of modern metal has lost that.

I’d argue that Bloodrush get this and find that sweet spot… they’re not gonna turn me metal, but I’d go see ’em again.  Sweet.

The Star.  To be honest, the main reason I was there was to see (hear) the back room of the Star for a noisy gig.  I think that I’ve been there once since the noise reduction efforts started, but that was in the early days and the bands I saw were the sorts of acts who don’t desire or rely on massive volume.  It sounded good, but it left me worried that bands who are all about power and volume might find the venue very dissappointing compared to it’s pre-complaint fearsomeness.  So what can I say?

I stood at the back.  I’d forgotten my earplugs which wasn’t a big issue due to the reduced levels, but I could have stuck a pair in quite easily if I did have them with me.  It was hardly quiet, but no longer the sort of insanity that a band like Morag Tong need (at least I think they need) and Tuskar enjoy.

They don’t seem to have done much if anything to reduce noise leakage from the room – what they’ve done is hung theatre style curtains down the sides and applied acoustic treatment to the ceiling to improve the sound.  I think it’s the damping that helps sonic clarity, and reduces the need to crank the pa to the max, whereas in the past, pre-acoustic treatment, the tendency was to push volumes to the limit to try to force the sound past the unsubtle acoustics of the room, or something.

The sound was great, and the consensus from others I spoke to was that it’s a lot better than it was before the changes, even if it’s a bit quieter.  I’m not gonna promise that some bands and audience members might not turn up and feel a little dissappointed and underwhelmed compared to the monster noise you sometimes got before… but equally I have gone from “serious reservations” about the changes to “next to none”.  Excellent!



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.