Call me Russ L

Widdlar, widdlar, widdly-idddle-iddle-iddle-ar… dern-dern-DER-der, dern-dern-DER-der… and so forth.

Posted in Music by Russ L on 7 January, 2006

Originally posted on 5/12/4.

It was Tuesday the 30th of November, it was at The Wulfrun Hall in Wolverhampton, and the line-up was Dillinger Escape Plan (had they used to have a ‘The’ at the start of their name? I always get the urge to put one in), Poison The Well, Ephel Duath and Pink Spider.

The original plan had this as my fifth night out in a row. The 5ive/Ramesses gigs that I’ve already blah-ed about were on Friday and Saturday, Sunday saw a Muay Thai event at The Civic Hall in Wolverhampton that in the end I decided I couldn’t afford to go to (with Christmas and a trip to London to see Neurosis coming up), and Monday saw The Pietasters playing at The Bar Academy in Birmingham, for which I was lucky/prescient enough to happen to look at the Academy website before I left the house and see that it was sold out. Again, therefore, Russ L fails to be the party animal. You must be so surprised.

I started the evening in a foul, foul, foul mood, but I was cheered up. Unusually for me, I was cheered up by the people I spoke to over the course of the gig – so thank all of you for being lovely.

I caught the latter half of the opening set from locals Pink Spider. They weren’t in any way remotely interesting – Funeral For A Friend type stuff with the odd nu-metal moment, nothing to write home about. I love the way that the Civic/Wulfrun venues (semi-) frequently sneak local bands onto the bills of these big tours, but their choice of precisely which local bands sometimes leaves something to be desired. Still, I’m happier for Pink Spider to get this opportunity than for no-one to get this opportunity.

Ephel Duath were proclaimed by Sir Iantention to be ‘the most stylish band of the evening,’ and if you’d seen their ties you wouldn’t have been able to argue with him. Their ties were very shiny indeed. We’re talking Through Blood In Silver, we’re talking getting-a-bit-wacky-for-the-office-Christmas-party, and we are talking sheer concentrated gaud. Spectacular. On the other hand, the trombonist’s jacket didn’t match his trousers, which loses them some marks. It’s not like I’ve ever been known to do that. Honest. What? Cough. Ahem. Moving swiftly on…

Musically, they’re… well, let’s be honest, they’re bloody peculiar. But good. Very good. Black metal kicking it with the avante garde jazz, but without any of the air of “bow before my clever time-signature, mortal” that you might expect. The trombonist and the bass-player worked hand in and out and in again of hand with each other to create a two-pronged low-end groovificatorisator, while the others whooped and screeched around them like confined zoo-chimps that hadn’t been fed for a fortnight. Huge amounts of fun, and please note that – despite whatever silly metaphors I choose to use – I don’t condone animal cruelty.

I hadn’t heard Poison The Well before, but canvassing opinion about them in the run-up to the gig I seemed to get about 80% “Eeeeeerm, yeah, I suppose they’re alright, I suppose,” 10% “They’re great, people only dislike them because they’ve become popular,” and 10% “They’re crap, people only like them because they’ve become popular.” On the night they were d-to-tha-ull, emo-metal featuring the odd metalcore bit in entirely “if I have elements that good bands have used then I’ll be good too, surely?” fashion. They killed a bit of time, I suppose.

So… Dillingaaaaaargh. The band about which I’m eternally surprised that there hasn’t been so much more of a backlash than there actually has been. I like them; on record I don’t think they write songs as such (although I’ve only heard a few bits of the new album, and the bits I have heard seem to be heading in the right sort of direction on this matter), but they have the knack of pulling out absolutely bloody amazing parts of songs and getting them to hang together in a vague sense. Live, they take on more of a seamless air, flowing from one widdly-war to the next dar-dar-dar almost as though Adolph Rickenbacker had actually wanted it to turn out like this. I was, of course, absolutely plastered by this point, and I can’t tell one of their songs from the next enough to give you actual titles anyway, but nonetheless… this happened on the same night as gigs by Whitesnake next door at The Civic, and then down the road in Birmingham Deicide at The Academy, Blink 182 at the NEC (or possibly the NIA), and an eventually-cancelled Helmet gig at the Irish Centre, and I cannot imagine very many fans of distorted-guitar-based-music who had chosen this one going home with thoughts of what might have been.

– Russ L

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