Off I jolly well went to The Hare And Hounds in King(‘)s Heath on the twelfth, for a gig that I was quite looking forward to but in the end turned out to be a minor disappointment.
I arrived halfway through Windscale’s set, and what I heard didn’t move me. Apparently (and I couldn’t see too well from where I was standing while they played, but I have read that) they make use of a lot of circuit-bending and instruments of unusual progeny and so on. This is a noble aim and something I approve of, but sadly it didn’t seem to add a lot to the music – most of it with the usual up-and-down post-rock dynamics, the last song with an accelerating Krautrock (there’s that word again) feel, stock stuff etc. etc. etc.. Shame, really.
Mothertrucker were the best of the night, but never mind that – this may have been the first time I’d seen ‘em in ages but with this they finally became my joint-most-seen band (equalling the 24 times I saw Mistress). This was a whole set of stuff I hadn’t previously heard (or at least haven’t heard much) before, and it did seem a bit closer to typical instrumental metal business than other things they’ve done in the past. Still enjoyable though, in particular the Really Big Scary Doom stuff that the one track was stylin’.
Grails were the main disappointment. I loved them when I saw them at the same venue a few years back and I love two out of the three albums of theirs that I’ve heard (“Black Tar Prophecies” and “Burning Off Impurities), but this was something recognisably different. No banjo! Nothing rustic at all, in fact. They had some rustic at the 2006 gig, didn’t they? Perhaps I’m misremembering.
I’d left before they’d finished (for the usual reasons) but long stretches just seemed to be washes of keyboards with echoey guitar leads over the top. I suppose the comparison would be “Wish you Were Here” era Pink Floyd if we’re feeling generous, or an instrumental Dire Straights if we’re not. They had their moments but a lot of it seemed pretty flat. Even more of a shame, really.
Overheard quote of the night: “Are all these bands anti-lyrics, then?”