Widows & Boss Keloid @ Retro Bar
Harsh lights and half empty beer glasses
The weather on Saturday 2nd of May was absolute shite. At 8pm I jumped out of my work uniform and applied as much Goth as possible in the tiny changing room before heading out in the rain. I was on a mission; find The Retro Bar (again - finding it a second time was chancing it) and see as many bands as possible before it finished. Having gotten lost twice as I made my way from Regent Road to The Retro Bar, and picking up my three partners in crime on the way - one of whom had Google maps on their phones - we managed to get to the venue as the rain let up. Fantastic.
Leading the lads down the stairs, the noise level was close to deafening. Exactly how I like it. Since we were over an hour and a half late (oops), we only made it to the second-last band of the night, Boss Keloid. It was clear from the audience that this was a metal gig. There was black everywhere, only punctured by the silver of various metal accessories and piercings, and of course, the odd pink/red hair of the crowd. Where else would you want to be on a Saturday night?
Boss Keloid was the best thing to walk into. The crowd was seriously into it, those closest to the stage - and I mean shin-brushing close - were head banging like there was no tomorrow and those farther away were happily nodding away, careful not to slosh their beers. Sorry; not slosh their beers too much. This was proper, raw metal. Boss Keloid is a doom rock/progressive metal band, and exploded off the stage, Al’s vocals doing their own thing, unforgiving to our eardrums and making an impression. The rest of the band was happy enough doing their own thing too. Their stage presence was incredible but there wasn't the greatest amount of interaction between the band members. I don’t know about you, but I like when a band shows a united front.
Sadly we only caught the last three songs of Boss Keloid’s set before they bowed, said their goodbyes, and started packing up the stage in preparation for the last band of the night. As always, this meant the place cleared out quick sharp as the majority of the audience went outside to grab a quick smoke or two. Meanwhile, those of us who stayed got to watch the sound check for Widows; which pretty much consisted of shouting and screaming from the vocalist and then each other member of the band having a go at being louder than the last.
Finally they stomped onstage with energy turned on high. Though half the crowd were still outside stealing a last smoke they still roared into their set with no training wheels attached. The hard rock/stoner band lived up to the hype and pretty much rocked our socks off. The audience wasn’t as enthusiastic for Widows for the first couple of songs, but before long the hair was flicking and heads were bopping. I’ve heard complaints from my drummer friends about, well, the drummer, aptly named Ze Big. Ze Big disappointment, am I right? [Here all week, try rhe meal - Ed.] Though to the untrained ear (ie, me) he sounded grand. Bonus points, he was shirtless and rocking a pretty deadly tat, I guess. Apart from that, the band was on point. Vocalist Ad clearly has a good set of lungs on him, and his screaming would be enough to raise the dead. Looking around, I was really happy to see a lot of my fellow gig-goers were wearing ear protection- and it was needed.
Just as we were all really starting to get into the songs, the band started complaining about their monitors. All of a sudden, the bar closed, the Widows vocalist launched himself off the stage, strode though the door and up the stairs, leaving us wondering what the Hell was going on. The lights came on and the band started packing up, while those in the audience blinked; blinded, confused, and with their beer glasses half full. After that the atmosphere in The Retro Bar was a disappointed one, as we all finished our drinks under the harsh overhead lights. Nobody knew what technical fault caused the premature ending of the gig, (and my confidential informant couldn’t tell me, either) so we just watched the sound engineer fiddle with things as the gear got put away into their black protective cases. Finally, I gathered the lads - who were not as intoxicated as I’d envisaged - and we walked upstairs into the fresh air. A quick post-gig smoke and we left The Retro Bar behind us. The night was young and we weren't finished with it yet.
Words: Missy Beaudelot