Abattoir Blues Records Good Friday Bash at The Peer Hat: Live Review
Words: Danny Thornton | Photos: Anthony Firmin
So we are back at The Peer hat, a venue which has become somewhat of a mecca for discovering seriously good live talent, to check out the Abattoir Blues Records Good Friday Bash. With seven bands performing (unfortunately show openers Hopper propelled Electric had to pull out) we can hardly contain our excitement and are eager to see what Abattoir main man David Brennan has laid out for us this time...
Starting things off today are Redcars own The Shakin’ Nightmares who prove to be a really interesting bunch melding old school rock and roll vocals curtseys of Ryan Pilot with punky vocal harmonies provided by bass slinger Sam McIngley and an unexpected but thoroughly impressive level of guitar virtuosity from Steve Traynor. Stylistically the Nightmares are a hard bunch to pin down, they definitely have the rockabilly vibe going on with jagged guitar lines cutting through their songs, however there is a lot more to it, you can hear the influence of more modern groups like Queens of the Stone Age and they also have a really cool indie streak running through their sound and it works, the song writing is superlative and the delivery is top notch.
Highlights of their set are the single Alien Orders which features some truly mind twisting guitar playing, and set closer Revenge, I will definitely be checking these guys out next time they play (and I now can't stop listening to their two tracks on Spotify, get some more songs recorded quick guys!!)
Next up is David J Brennans first of two stints up on the stage tonight, being familiar with Bones Shake I was keen to see how The DeeVees differ from the aforementioned band and was waiting with baited breath. Erupting onto the stage like a force of nature this was again something different, and something a little bit special.
Show opener What You Want (possibly the musical highlight of the night for me) was a raucous rocker, from Brennans powerful, animialist shout to Matt Akers massive earth shaking guitar playing, to the loose interplay between bass/drums from Jess J Lomas and David Sheffield, this track reminded the listener of a little band from Seattle called Soundgarden (yes it was really that good). With my jaw well and truly dropped they continued to weave confidently through both their set, and genres, getting less grungy and more punky at times, and at others embracing a more rockabilly vibe. Incredibly they stayed consistently themselves throughout. Another highlight of their set was Black Lodge which has an infectious guitar passage which you cant get out of your head and a truly manic guitar solo provided by Matt Akers . When their set was over I was left wishing for more, and with an EP in the works hopefully we won't be waiting long.
After a short ruckus caused by a conflict of sound engineers, everybody is eagerly awaiting Deadline. Hailing from Charleroi Belgium these guys have come across the channel to introduce us to their own retro reimagining of garage rock and roll.
They have a truly chaotic stage presence, with mic stands, guitars and band members flying around in an almost cartooneque fashion, they are literally bursting of the stage with infectious energy.
They had a zagged fuzz laden sound which was reminiscent of Captain Beefheart at times with a big dose of The Cramps sprinkled on for good measure. Front men Simon Wray and Quiet Ben kept things interesting by swapping instruments on an almost song for song basis, a fact I really liked as sometimes it meant the band had driving bass, sometimes chaotic harmonica and sometimes duel guitars. All the while drummer Blue Simon King provided a rock solid foundation for their madness.
When playing the six string guitar Wray wasn't afraid to make use of guitar effects too, which again added an interesting dynamic to their sound. My one criticism (not really a criticism as it was more of a sound issue) would be that their levels could have been better at points, not surprising given how much they were changing their instruments!
Highlight of their set for me would be Electric which summed up their sound perfectly, great instrumentation and tons of dynamics.
With the bands now running about 30 mins late The Black Lagoons take to the stage, easily the darkest sounding band of the night, the Lagoons are definitely a contrast to everything else that has gone before.
They created nightmarish soundscape interspersed with off kilter chorus and verses shouted down the mic. The band has a real "vibe" about them sounding grungy at times and almost David Lynch-esque too, you can almost see this band playing a song in Twin Peaks or Blue Velvet.
I particularly enjoyed the interplay and contrast between the two guitar players, Harry Clowes and Joe Farrow, one of them making distorted noise while the second played some cleaner passages that were Ray Manzarek in style, really interesting stuff and I look forward to seeing how this band develop in the future.
Its fair to say that a lot of the crowd here tonight came to see Manchester's own Bones Shake and having been lucky enough to see them before I was really looking forward to the chaos that would unfold.
In true rock and roll fashion David J Brennan summoned the crowd to attention with his signature loud speaker before the band unleashed their high octane rock and roll on the audience. Everything about this band oozes sincerity and authenticity and whatever music your into, you cant help but be mesmerised by Brennan’s almost religious stage presence, Andy Sheffield's stunning guitar playing and David Sheffields Keith Moon-esque drum goodness.
Their set could be characterised by Brennan’s tortured/frantic vocal delivery, sitting on a bed of some of the filthiest rock and roll I can remember hearing. Part Iggy Pop, part RL Burnside, they sound both classic and modern.
Catch them while you can, because if there is a band that deserve to be playing bigger venues its these guys..
I also want to say that Knuckle and Thee Windom Earles were also playing, however with the over runs, and the inevitable Bank Holiday hike in taxi prices I had to leave before the end, which is a real shame, especially given I have heard great things about Knuckle and Thee Windom Earles are one of this reviewers favourite bands (check out their EP Mai Tai Pink Eye).