ROCK OF AGES
They say youth is wasted on the young: so perhaps youth culture is equally wasted on uncultured youth?
What I’m making allusions to right here is the age of the performers in tonight’s bands- they are all more or less in their mid-thirties. Whilst this would raise ne’er an eyelid in many a musical scene (I’m thinking Classical, Folk etc) Heavy Metal is basically gnarly rock n roll; and we all know rock n roll belongs to the young. Right up until Ol’ Scratch takes your soul in return for those sweet axe skills. We all also know there is nothing sadder than some wannabe bunch of uncles engaged in a desperate effort of pretending to be 16 still? Don’t we? DONT WE.
Well I don’t: quite frankly I like the idea of a band with some mileage, a gang of canny old boys who have been around long enough to know how to shove 3 good riffs together and call it pancakes. In fact I’m ALL FOR it- music buying demographics have changed massively in the past few years, so why shouldn’t the same mission creep be allowed into the band’s job description? To be fair, this all reads as some kind of smug back-handed insult via condescension- but I assure you the reader it is not; as long as the songs chug along we live forever in beauty.
WITCH TRIAL are first up. They play straight-ahead Sabbath worship old-school doom: the kind that like to sing in a nice voice and perhaps wear a flowery shirt on the back of the album cover. This is their first gig and they soak up the universal virgin band gremlin juice well; in full evidence are good grooves and propulsive riffs. I’m going to break this review right here to point out that the bass player is well-know internet legend Neal Palmer, who once joking named himself ‘Chest Rockwell’ and it stuck to the extent that to me he’ll always be ‘Chest’. Now, Chest Rockwell was present in the audience of the first gig of a band I play in (y’know, the one that shall remain nameless like in the last review) and gave us a very unkind review on the local food discussion board ‘South Wales Massive’.
Here’s what he said about us: “O, this band isn’t even music: it’s no difference to what that Ninja guy does on the high street. Best of luck though”
But I’m not going to bang on about that, oh no, it would be churlish to take one man’s offhand comments about this reviewer’s frankly crap music and repeatedly trudge over it in the vain hope that some reason blood might run out. Although this would be the perfect opportunity to take some kind of revenge on this Chest Rockwell character, once and for all proving that he who laughs last laughs loudest… won’t though as his new band are much goodness and we all await further gigs with interest.
IRONBIRD: a Geordie’s affectionate name of Margaret Thatcher? Or a South Wales stoner affair? YOU DECIDE! (hint: it’s the latter) Ironbird take cues from such luminaries as Orange Goblin and Taint (another great SW gang) and deal out a heavily-fleshed rock carcass, wherein the red meat is riffs, the bones drums and the sweatbreads (yup) vocals. Slightly more of a punk edge as well here, and they seem to have brought out the biggest crowd of the night (bar Chest Rockwell’s recent shearing) who lap it all up. A criticism I will make: I found that whilst this lot had a great sound, the music was rhythmically repetitive in places, quite possibly exacerbated by a somewhat long set. There, that’s it- don’t shoot the messenger.
ZONDERHOOF are one of my favourite bands ever. Imagine if jazz aliens found a time capsule containing the Melvins’ back catalogue and 3 years worth of Kerrrang magazine, but for whatever reason they lack the technology to play the CDs and so go about recreating heavy metal by studying poorly written prose about what metal should be, and then filling in the gaps with their own freaky alien beats. Y’know like in Jurassic Park when they use bullfrog DNA to recreate dinosaur genomes and then it all goes RRRRAAAARRGH! and shit? Like that. Or if Robert Fripp stopped being a sniffy nerd (sorry Bob, to make up for it I’ll listen to Earthbound again, one day) and informed the rest of KC that synths were out and to bone up on Eyehategod albums before the next tour of Japan.
Zonderhoof play really well, and refuse a much-called for encore request with the patent falsehood that they are out of songs, but we haven’t even had the one that goes DUUUUUNNNN……DUN DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNN yet for O’malley’s sake. They do play Aldershof though; which contains a great moment when the drummer plays this little roll, then PLAYS THE EXACT SAME ONE AGAIN immediately after it. Nice.
It was really humid in Buffalo so I leave pretty sharpish to watch local scene kid Mikeee eat not only his Noodles, but most of his Girlfriend’s noodles as well.
Complaints to the usual address, god save the queen etc etc.