Call me Russ L

The international cat that you tryin’a be

Posted in Music by Russ L on 8 January, 2006

Originally posted on 11/10/5.

Within three days there were two nights of live music spread between three gigs at which I saw seven bands from five different countries.

The Medicine Bar was the target on Wednesday the fifth. I hadn’t been there since the Supersonic Festival in July, and found myself unsurprisingly dismayed to learn that their refusal to sell anything other than bottles over the bar wasn’t a one-off. Initially failing to see the sign saying a bottle of Carling was £1.50, I was charged two pounds and ninety pence for a bottle of Sol. I growled. You can go across the way to the bar on the other side of the Custard Factory pond for an actual pint (£2.40, I think it was, for Carling. I’m not sure I trust any of them to pour a pint of Guinness properly), but that closed halfway through the evening. It’s no good really, is it?

Onto bands, then.

Knives (UK) opened. I liked them more than the first time I saw them a few weeks earlier. Their post-rock with vocals and a hint of spazzcore has grown on me, although their wacky-kerrazy air is still a little bit off-putting.

I saw Calvados Beam Trio (UK) once a couple of years ago and enjoyed them very much, although I was very drunk indeed at the time. They play instrumental art-rock, repeating initially jolly-sounding themes with escalating intensity. Very, very good, definitely worth seeing.

Our headliners were Noxagt (Norway). I only learned earlier that day that they had replaced their viola player with a guitarist. I initially was very skeptical, as that was precisely the element that gave them such an interesting texture. With a guitar they sound a lot more like other Lightning Bolt-esque bands, but very very very violent. Swinging back and forth between their doomier parts and their faster tempos, they put across a more convincing sense of the sound of total destruction than most bands. Do I prefer them with viola or guitar? Dunno. Come back to me when I’ve heard some guitar-based recorded stuff.

Friday the 7th was the occasion of two gigs of interest. Church Of Misery, ‘The Japanese answer to Black Sabbath,’ were at The Jug Of Ale. Clutch, meanwhile, were supporting CKY at The Academy. I hadn’t heard of CKY prior to the advertising of this, but I listened to a bit courtesy of t’internet and found that they weren’t very interesting at all. My Cunning Plan was therefore to go and watch Clutch before hopping on a bus to The Jug.

Clutch (USA) (by now easily my most-seen foreign band) were ace, as ever they are. Probably not quite as good as in Nuneaton in May, but that may just be a result of playing in a 2,000+ capacity revolting enormodome of a venue rather than a sensibly sized room. Their set leaned towards the harder and more up-tempo facets of their music (an acknowledgement of the likely audience, perhaps?) but they still had more groove than 99% of other rock bands ever manage. I did wonder in advance how well they’d go down with the young, young audience before them, and it turned out to be pretty well, although there were a significant proportion of irritating foolfaces who insisted on chanting ‘C-K-Y! C-K-Y!’ between every song.

I left, I mounted that sturdy steed the number 50, and got off at The Jug. Much to my delight (and mostly due to the early runnings that The Academy has on a Friday) none of the bands at this gig had played yet.

Last time I saw the opening act Una Corda (UK) I thought they were alright but wasn’t toooooo fussed with them. This time I enjoyed them quite a bit more. They’re your ordinary post-rock band with melodic chiming and jangling bits building up to noisy bits, but this time while the former sounded fairly typical, the noisy bits actually hit with a good deal of force and made for some fun.

I had no idea at all whatsoever about main support band Moho (Spain) before they actually started playing. They turned out to be pretty darn fab-o, and band of the gig if not of the whole night (Clutch, innit. Bit unfair on the others, really). Shifting from Burning Witch style drag to Black Sabbath style groove to Motorhead style headbanging, they packed a solid punch and played an excellent set. Someone bring ‘em back over, please.

The only thing I’d heard by Church Of Misery (Japan) prior to the gig was their cover of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” a good few years ago. The ‘Japanese answer to Sabbath’ tag turned out to be justified but not all-encompassing: there’s an equally large dollop of something more cheerful and perhaps garage-y in their make-up (Orange Goblin came to mind). They rocked, anyway, with an endearingly enthusiastic frontman adding to the fun no end.

A great week for live music, all told.

~ Russ L

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