Call me Russ L

Eyelikekittens

Posted in Music by Russ L on 29 April, 2010

Doy. I was intending to get out to a few more gigs this month, but clearly I have failed. Some of this was a result of cancellations beyond my control, but more of it was simply my uselessness.

Still: Glen Campbell soon. He is the best.

I did go to one on Friday the 9th, put-on-ified by Capsule and headlined by a band whose name serves as a perfect example of just how bright your correspondent is – it took me a few years to realise that the band name Eyehategod was a phononym of “I Hate God”. Durr. Those few years passed before I’d ever heard it said out loud, and it just didn’t click. I actually still prefer to think of it as a vaguely mysterious-sounding juxtaposition of words rather than teenager-style pop-theology (or metal-theology. Arf).

To The Asylum, then, and on my third attempt at it I still find it a strange ol’ place. A big-shed-venue sort of affair, happily cheaper and less impersonal than most big-shed-venues but unhappily using barstaff that really would benefit from a bit more training (in the customary big-shed-venue fashion). It’s tacky in a “We Am Metalz” sort of way, albeit nowhere near as bad as Eddies.

I arrived in time for Totimoshi, who were a much calmer cross between Shellac and The Jesus Lizard with the addition of a few vaguely Eastern sounding guitar lines (Eastern, y’know. Like Norwich or something) and some funny time signatures here and there. Alright, if nothing astonishing. They’re a disparate looking bunch, to say the least – the bassist was a tough veteran rock goddess, the singer/guitarist was a likeness of Javier Bardem in “No Country For Old Men” before someone took a bowl and scissors to him, and the drummer was just this nondescript bloke.

Eyehategod are thought of as legends by the sort of people who’d think of them as legends, although in this case that select group includes me. Serious, serious Don Dada business: like an outlaw Dixie Sabbath being pushed face-first through a cheese grater, or similar, in a good way, and so forth. This was an ordinary gig in the middle of an ordinary tour (albeit the tour of a band who haven’t been over here all that much), but when thinking about it in the run-up it still felt like I was anticipating something a bit special.

It didn’t disappoint when the time came, and the more I think about it the more I realise that one of my favourite things in the world is for stuff to not disappoint when the time comes. Just imagine if everything was like that. EHG were by turns rollicking and pummelling, and if they didn’t quite summon up that sick turn-of-the-withdrawal-screw air that they often have on record they did sometimes hint at it (at the time I thought that the masses of folks in the crowd chanting “Eye! Hate! God!” – as though they were at a Britney gig or a Metallica gig or summat – seemed a bit bizarre, but I suppose if we’re reading them as Partyhardhategod for the purposes of this then it isn’t quite as incongruent). I’m more than willing to distrust anyone who memorises EHG song titles so I can’t help you there, but they did most of those riffs that I love. Mike Williams (I understand that’s what his momma calls him) was a great drunk-on-the-bus-stylee frontman, and the rest of the band gave it some serious welly in a way that seemed outwardly loose-and-lazy but never failed to turn on a sixpence. They had that indefinable raw power that some bands just have and most bands just don’t have. They, I might vouch without fear of contradiction, rocked.

I’m very sad I missed this happening outside, though.

(There’s another retelling of the tale here).

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