Snakerattlers with Bones Shake and Thee Windom Earles at The Peer Hat: Live Review
Words: Danny Thornton | Photos: Anthony Firmin
We're back at one of my favourite venues tonight, "The Peer Hat" in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, a cracking venue with more vibe and atmosphere than you could shake a Gretsch guitar at.
Upstairs is a brilliant bar come social area with an ad hoc record store thrown in next to the bar. However downstairs is where "The Peer Hat" really shines, with the dark, low ceilinged live room, complete with the small nearly floor level stage almost thrown in the corner almost as an afterthought, nice and intimate...
Starting the evening are the fantastic Thee Windom Earles who are fresh off the back of releasing their first Album "Mai Tai Pink Eye". Their Facebook page describes them as sounding "Greasy like that hot dog that's been under your chaise longue for several weeks" Not a bad description given the fuzzy bass tones, crazed keyboard patterns and crashing, chaotic guitar and drums recorded on said release.
After very brief technical issues they explode into their first song and immediately flood the room full of uncontrollable energy, so much so in fact that they haven't even finished their first song before microphones start being knocked over, not that it phases them in the slightest.
Throughout their rambunctious set bassist Shell Lock remains calm and provides solid backing and groove while drummer Vini Taylor and masked keyboardist extraordinaire Al Reid add flare and depth to all the tracks. Both guitar players (Robert Webb and Pete Phythian) take turn singing songs, both equally comfortable taking centre stage, not that the small stage in The Peer Hat can contain them!
Overall Thee Windom Earles are a real treat, and fast becoming one of my favourite Manchester (really Salford) bands, with a really unique sound. Part rockabilly punk, part mad scientists, all fun, they are definitely worth catching whenever you get the chance!
Stand out tracks are the chaotic Monkey Face and Nudie Magazine which feature a great keyboard intro with some of the other band members hitting claves of all things!
An Air Raid Siren signals the arrival of BONES SHAKE as singer David Brennan swaggers onto the stage oozing charisma and attitude. Immediately these guys strike a stark contrast to the previous band with their stripped down sound, featuring only guitar, drums and vocals.
Again it is energy overload and the stage is to small to control them, with Singer Dave Brennan running into the crowd and causing mischief amongst the punters on stand out track JUNK. Most of the time musically, the band seem pretty contented to lay back, hammer out the songs and Let Brennan channel the spirits of long dead rock gods (think Jim Morrison, Scott Weiland and Iggy Pop) however On Cracked Lips drummer David Sheffield and guitarist Andy Sheffield show they are determined not to be upstaged, as Andy fires off one of the best bits of guitar playing I have seen live in years, mixing finger style playing with dirty slide guitar that would make RL Burnside green with envy. But really, what a guitar player wow!
Stylistically Bone Shake have great stripped down songs, dripping in the creative juices of Captain Beefheart, RL Burnside, The Cramps and The Stooges just to name a few. Highly recommended listening/viewing if they are playing at a venue near you.
After seeing two great, chaotic performances the crowd are understandably eagerly awaiting the arrival of husband and wife team SNAKERATTLERS.
As they start playing it becomes evident that we have again shifted in feel. The controlled chaos of Thee Windom Earls and the rock and roll flare of Bones Shake has been replaced by something definitely more eerie and dark as drummer/vocalist Naomi pounds out her almost tribal drum beats whilst guitarist and main vocalist Dan spits out his "Dick Dale on acid" guitar lines, all the while sneering menacingly at the audience.
On All Heads Will Roll I'm really starting to appreciate how interesting and unique these guys are, the song features the aforementioned tribal drums with a surf guitar intro which melds into a crushingly heavy riff as the song progresses. The vocals evolve throughout the songs too, starting with Dan's far away reverb drenched singing intertwining beautifully with Naomi's at times, before turning into blood chilling screams as the guitar get heavier.
She's Strange is another stand out song with a great melody, as was I'll Destroy Your Soul, which has a great, heavy riff paired with beautiful vocal melodies/harmonies which are drenched in melancholy.
According to SNAKERATTLERS facebook page "We are not your friends. We don't like anyone. Especially you." Be that as it may, I certainly like them. You could have picked out any one of their songs and would have found something that was unique, not only to other bands, but also when compared to their own repertoire. That is something that I consider a real achievement and shows how adept their song writing truly is.