Melvins – Gig Review

Melvins + Big Business

Friday 9th October 2015

Gorilla, Manchester

I had been waiting for this for a long time.  As a long time fan of the Melvins, it seems inexplicable that I’ve never seen them live before.  But then I rarely travel to Manchester for gigs.  2015 has been the year of live music for Platinum Al; as such the planets aligned, the tickets were bought, the wheels were rolling towards the big city and it was on.  Finally, I would witness the wonder of the Melvins.

And not just the Melvins – the support slot went to Big Business, a two piece of bass and drums in a similar mould to the mighty headliners.  Of course, anyone who knows their Black Flag from their Black Sabbath will tell you that Jared and Coady of this band also perform with Buzz and Dale to create the steaming sonic soup with lumpy riff croutons that is the Melvins. Melvins

The Big Business set was extremely impressive in it’s own right.  As I said, the band is just bass and drums, yet the almighty noise they make is astounding for a two piece.  They play a solid set that could’ve been a main course of the evening’s entertainment.  Big grooves, pounding drums and awesome sound scapes create a fine appetiser.

Gorilla in Manchester is some sort of restaurant/bar thing, with a stage at the back for live shows.  It’s seems more in scale with stand up comedy gigs, but despite the modest size it’s a great place to see the band – close up, good views and sound.  The beer is a bit expensive, but I got a Melvins (official!) t-shirt for a tenner!  Yeah!!!

So anyway, the Melvins arrive on stage as a four piece – Buzz, Dale, Jared and Coady – and we’re off.  It’s a gig unlike any I’ve experienced ever before.  There’s no breaks; no chat with the audience; no introducing the songs – the band just plough through their catalogue of fantastic songs and drag the audience along with them.  The audience follow willingly, of course – and the band don’t ignore us – it’s a unique unspoken agreement that we’re all along for a hell of a musical journey.

The music is heavy, sludgy, intense – exactly what I expected and wanted.  There are several songs from newer albums (“The Water Glass”, “Evil New War God” – both superb).  Older classics like “Sweet Willy Rollbar” and “It’s Shoved” are given a welcome play too.  The absolute high light for me though is “Civilised Worm” – what a riff!

The power of the riff is what the Melvins are all about.  Buzz’s guitar is astoundingly heavy, yet also shines with artistic flourishes and strange sounds to keep the listener guessing.  The bass is relentless yet groovy, hammering home the riffs.  Add dual drummers and ears were ringing for days.

It was a truly intense live experience and one I’m really glad I saw.  Unlike anything else and worthy of the hype, the Melvins are a unique band and I love them.

Did I mention I got a t-shirt for a tenner??!!

Saltwater Injection Single Release

Saltwater Injection 

“Vinegar”/”Cuntryfile” (Antipop Records)

 

The new single from Saltwater Injection, “Vinegar”/”Cuntryfile”, succeeds in capturing their live ferocity and innate ability to smuggle a tune in with the noise. Like Henry Rollins wrestling an angry grizzly bear – for a laugh – this two-piece hurl out lead track “Vinegar” and drag, rather than invite, the audience along. Pounding, dirty bass; vicious drums and urgent vocals give the listener a couple of minutes of aggression that you can’t help but nod along to.

There is a school of thought that says times of austerity and right wing governments create the ideal environment for the best anti-establishment punk rock. Saltwater Injection’s “Cuntryfile” certainly upholds that premise. Just over a minutes worth of furious, filthy mouthed fun – this tune is ridiculously infectious. I defy you to not sing along!

For fans of Black Flag, the Melvins, and 1980’s cross over punk-thrash who also like a bit of tuneful Nirvana in their musical diet.

Out 30.03.2015

Available from iTunes, Amazon and Spotify 

http://www.saltwater-injection.com

saltwaterinjection@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Saltwater-Injection/134989273346640

https://soundcloud.com/saltwaterinjection

https://twitter.com/SaltWaterInject SWI1

The Misfits – Gig Review

The Misfits

Thursday 26th July 2014

The Live Rooms, Chester

Way back in 1988, as a young skateboarding rapscallion, I bought a vinyl copy of The Misfits album “Walk Among Us“.  I’d heard Metallica’s cover of “Last Caress” and decided to invest in some tunes by the group.  It was a gamble – I had no idea what the rest of their music sounded like.  Neither “Last Caress” nor “Green Hell” were featured on that particular platter.  Nevertheless, I decided to hand over my saved up dinner money to try it out, after some deliberation.

That was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  “Walk Among Us” is, quite simply, one of the best records ever, of any genre.  Any initial trepidation I had was annihilated as soon as the furious pace and sing along vocals were heard.  My ears were opened.  It didn’t hurt that all the songs were about cheesy old B-movies, either.

So imagine my delight when I heard that The Misfits would be playing in Chester, only a few miles from home.  One of my favourite bands ever, so close – there was no way this gig was going to be missed.  I bought tickets immediately.

OK, so Jerry Only is the only (see what I did there?) original member performing under The Misfits name.  No Glenn Danzig, no Doyle.  Even though I’m a huge Danzig fan, I wasn’t going to be precious.  This was a momentous opportunity. images

Besides, there’s Dez Cadena on guitar, who has a fine punk rock pedigree from his time in Black Flag.

So disbelievers be damned, The Misfits gig was on!

I missed the support band though.  Sorry.

The Live Rooms was previously a comedy venue, now it’s showing bands.  It’s a cool venue and worth keeping an eye on to see who to expect.  On this night, the place was absolutely packed out with all manner of black clad loons, anticipating the arrival of the legendary Misfits.  I certainly felt excitement in the air.  Everyone seemed to be hyped up for this gig, me included.  After all, a band like The Misfits playing in these parts is pretty much unheard of.

So the band arrive on stage and are welcomed like all conquering heroes.  As I was stood there, I couldn’t really believe I was experiencing this in person.  The Misfits – here and now, churning out monster hit after hit.  I’m sure others felt the same.

They start with some great tracks from the most recent album, “The Devil’s Rain“.  We also get a smattering of songs from the 90’s era of the band, with “Scream!” a real stand out.  I dig these Graves era tunes, and most of them hold up really well, even against the old Danzig classics.  Only does a fine job of howling out the vocals whilst thundering along on the bass too.

Those old tracks certainly bring a smile though.  “She”, “Bullet” and “Where Eagles Dare” practically tear the roof of the place.  But when we get to gems from “Walk Among Us“, I’m as happy as Bela Lugosi on 31st October.  “Vampira” is probably my favourite Misfits song, so a treat to hear that.  We also get “Hatebreeders”, “Astro Zombies”, “20 Eyes” – the list goes on. Misfits-promo13c

In fact it’s amazing how much material the band get through.  They play a nearly two hour set, and bombard the audience with song after song.  There’s barely a breather between each track.  The Misfits play fast and intense.  All credit to drummer Eric Arce – the Devil knows how he keeps up the relentless pace.  The audience respond with slam dancing/mosh pit craziness like I’ve not witnesses for many a long year.  It will be interesting to see whether the management have second thoughts about booking similar bands in future…

Our only down side  this evening is the sound, which isn’t the best.  From Jerry’s side of the room, where I’m standing, the guitars at the opposite side are frequently lost.  Cadena’s vocals are largely inaudible.  There was a story going round that Dez was suffering with a throat infection, hence why we get a roadie singing the (very good) Black Flag cover.  When we can hear Dez, he’s great.  Still, seems to me like there was some issue sound wise here, though.

The Misfits are exactly what I expected, and that’s fine by me.  From the dry ice enveloped opening, through raucous punk rock and over the top delivery, this is what I paid my money for.  More than just delivering the goods though, The Misfits were genuinely exciting to see.  I’ve seen novelty bands before and while they were fun, they were nothing like this.  This isn’t a tribute band, it’s a well honed, obliterating machine.  It drags us through all eras of The Misfits’ revered history and leaves you grateful to have been a part of it.

Absolutely phenomenal.  Thank you Jerry, Dez and Eric.  Long live The Misfits!

Please check out the Live Rooms soon – if they’re going to support bands like this, you need to support them!

The Misfits web page is here.

The Live Rooms web page is here.

Electric Eel Shock – Gig Review

Electric Eel Shock + Saltwater Injection

Thursday 1st May 2014

The Compass, Chester

Finally – Chester is building up a few venues to see some live music.  Forget the joke that is Chester Rocks (LOLZ! etc), there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  On a quiet Thursday night at the start of May, that light was Electric Eel Shock.

The Compass is an older pub/venue just outside the City centre, now reborn with a new name.  I paid a measly £9 to get in and see three bands.  Have a few drinks, rock out on a school night.  What could be better?

The first band up were a local band in a pop punk vein.  I have loads of Descendents and SNFU albums, but that whole Sum 41 thing ain’t my scene.  The kids could play, but not on my shift.

Next up, we have another local band – Saltwater Injection.  A two piece, you may be fooled into thinking White Stripes, before the noise starts.  No chance – think more early Bleach-era Nirvana spitting out Black Flag covers, you’ll be more on the map.  A great set, these guys are worth keeping an eye out for – Hardcore punk and a nice line in political scorn as well!

Funny thing about The Compass – upstairs is pretty small.  And on this night at least, the back half of the room is closed off.  So when Electric Eel Shock erupt onto the stage, it’s like having three tiny Japanese Metal demons go bananas in your living room.  EES rock the place like they’re headlining Wembley Stadium – standing on monitors, waving the mic stands at the audience for sing alongs, throwing the horns.  And the drummer is naked except for a sock to cover the family jewels. EES

Musically, it’s Hard Rock/Heavy Metal in the traditional sense – some Maiden, some Lizzy, some AC/DC, a little G’n’R; with a liberal dash of punk energy.  It’s all the classic rock bands you love in a new, crazy head-banging package.  The only song I’m familiar with (“Goodbye Peach”) is nowhere to be heard, but no matter – there’s plenty of new rocking anthems to meet and greet.

The set includes a few covers: Electric Eel Shock’s takes on “Paranoid” and The Halen’s “Hot For Teacher”; plus The Wurzels’ classic “I am a Cider Drinker”!  What the living fuck??!!  Believe me, this song works!

Electric Eel Shock deliver one of the most bonkers – and fun – gigs I’ve seen in a long time.  It’s full-on good time rock’n’roll.  The audience love it, the band love it.  Check out EES if you can, and if you’re in Chester – The Compass needs to be on your list of places to visit.

The Compass website is here.

Follow Electric Eel Shock on Facebook or follow them on Twitter: @eel_shock

And follow Saltwater Injection on Twitter: @SaltWaterInject

Random Longboard Playlist

A longboard is, for those who don’t know, a skateboard.  A very long skateboard.  It’s great for just cruising around on, carving, getting a little speed.  Recently I went for a skate on my longboard, and hit shuffle on Ipodicus.

I was rewarded with the following soundtrack.  The random tunes varied across numerous genres and kept surprising me as I rolled around.

  1. AC/DC – “This House Is On Fire”
  2. Television – “Prove It”
  3. Thin Lizzy – “Mama Nature Said”
  4. Kool & The Gang – “In the Hood (Beat System Remix)”
  5. Pixies – “Tame”
  6. Dead Kennedys – “Hellnation”
  7. Weezer – “Run Away”
  8. Syd Dale – “Disco Tek”
  9. Black Flag – “Out of This World”
  10. El Cabrero with Pedro Bacan – “Con Tristeza Y Con Locura”
  11. Volbeat – “Magic Zone”
  12. Robert Johnson – “Cross Road Blues”
  13. Queen – “Made in Heaven”
  14. The Monkees – “Words”
  15. Public Enemy – “Incident at 66.6 FM”
  16. No Doubt – “Don’t Speak”
  17. Yomanda – “Synth and Strings”
  18. Viking Skull – “Beers, Drugs and Bitches”
  19. Hysterica – “Devil in Me”
  20. Discharge – “The Nightmare Continues”
  21. Camarosmith – “Choker”
  22. Britney Spears – “Boys”

There you go – some interesting choices from Ipodicus there.  The highlight was Syd Dale, that is a tune!

If you’d like to read more about my longboard, you can check it out here.