Let us now praise famous death dwarves. There’s a big old crowd here, with a hefty proportion noticably salivating for Brandyman‘s debut set. It’s a no-brainer: escapees from Truckers Of Husk and Joy Of Sex playing hulking man riffs with diminutive bile crumpet DC Gates of Gindrinker on vocals. Trustworthy hands, dependable results: four songs that fire out dual guitar attack lines, heavy on the low end but light enough to jink round corners playfully. DC is a presence used sparingly, barking vaguely menacingly over the noise, a reassuring wit during extended technical difficulties. Britain needs more of this stuff.
More vertically challenged fun with Smiler, and a singer who rocks the Valleys Napoleon look well. Gobshite promises to be “much fucking louder than the first band” turn bathetic when the first song arrives light on volume and weak in anything not generically clatter punk, but things do improve. Smiler work you, wearing you down like a rich widow’s seduction. Abrasive, compressed hardcore shouters get flipped with Sabbath intervals, onstage banter veers from schoolboy poorness to sublimely surreal one liners. There’s great dollops of enjoyment here, and a man in a shellsuit bounding on to help cover Black Flag’s ‘Rise Against’ cures a lot of ills.
Compared to the others though, Diet Pills‘ set is a little like the scene in Crocodile Dundee where Paul Hogan meets a mugger and says “that’s not a knife”, only crossed with some deranged spazz rock. Singer Garry is unsettlingly at home in the space between band and start of audience, thrusting and posing like a scrawny teenage sex pest at the World’s Strongest Man tournament. His band make an impressively fully formed racket, considering their relative youth, one that takes in rolling waves of noise and tempo shifts from hot to cold amidst the sociopathic funtimes. It’s accessibly nasty-eyed stuff that conjures thoughts of dance parties in fifty car pile ups and memories of Racebannon’s equally brilliant set here a few years ago. These are all complements by the way.