GDFAF #6: Torche / Baroness / Haxan (1/11/6)
After the previous night’s interregnum, it was back to the gigging. My glamorous assistant for this one was Young Trigger, who may (at some point in the dim and distant future) eventually get around to writing on his own blog again. A few possibilities were available for this cold Wednesday night, but in the end I settled on another Capsule do, this time at The Medicine Bar. Said place is a venue within the Custard Factory complex (originally the premises of the old Birds custard works, now a facility for businesses of a ‘Young! Funky! Fresh!’ persuasion), and one about which my opinion tends to vary. It’s often held up as the nicest/poshest local live popular music venue, and – while I suppose it is – that isn’t really much of a boast, considering. The PA system there is awesome and probably contravenes several articles of the SALT treaties, but for me my thoughts on the place will usually revolve around the key question of Whether Or Not They’re Selling The Cheap Bottles Of Carlsberg On That Particular Night. This time, they were. Huzzah!
It was only after we’d already had a pint in The Big Bulls Head and moved on to The Custard Factory that Trig decided to announce that he needed to visit a cashpoint, and so we ended up traipsing right back up Digbeth High Street (to the Spar) before we found one. I wouldn’t normally notice the absence of them since I don’t use them, but I was surprised by that.
Our openers Haxan were already on by the time we’d returned. I liked them when I saw them back in May (apparently that was their first gig), and they’ve improved since then on top (apparently this was their second). Their sound is largely based in old-style deathly doom metal, but with added bits of fix-bayonets-and-advance Godfleshian crawling rhythm. Meaty stuff.
Jesus, Baroness were loud. Big, pounding, aggressive sludge metal with widdley bits and a vague crusty slant at times, turned up to eleven. I get the feeling that they’d be a loud band anyway, but pushed through the Med Bar’s speaker system this sound was only a step away from coalescing into a physical form and going on a Godzilla-style rampage around Digbeth. Naturally, their set was a demanding affair and I felt like I was hearing colours and seeing sounds when we staggered off afterwards, but all in a good way. They were just about beginning to verge on pushing their luck, though – if they’d played for only a couple of minutes more I think I’d have had a much more negative opinion. As it was I thought they were great, currently second only to The Courtesy Group in the Goodfaff league table. There’s plenty of time yet, though.
I think they must have completely wrecked my hearing temporarily, too, since elsewhere on these internets I’ve read people saying that the headliners Torche took the volume up another notch. I definitely thought Baroness were the loudest, and despite some people saying they felt the need to move to the back of the room during Torche I was able to stand relatively near the speakers without any trouble. Presumably I’d already had my receptiveness to various frequencies destroyed.
So, Torche were contending with having to play after Baroness in a sonic as well as musical sense. Their Melvins-y rifforama with additional widdly-wah guitar bits was perfectly acceptable, but came across very much in a ‘typical band of the type’ sort of way, and this far into the fortnight I don’t have a massive amount of patience for that. Let a verdict of ‘not bad’ be recorded.
In other news, we found a twenty pound note on the floor. A twenty!
~ Russ L, with ears still a-ringing.