A night of loud avant-rock leaves Getintothis’ Lewis Stapleton feeling little more than pissed off, deflated and a little bit deafer. Oh dear.
The upstairs bar of the Pilgrim is very smoky.
When you can’t make out the features of the person whose ear you are bellowing into I’ve always thought it’s smoky enough. Not everyone agrees though.
First up are Crucifix and we’re guessing the smoke was primarily their idea and they liked their idea very much. Once the atmosphere was sufficiently opaque, two guys grabbed their basses and conjured up the sub-sonic howls of Lancaster Bombers screwing.
As we begin to worry whether an important piece of our brain was about to work its way loose, the third member scuttles into view wearing a balaclava helmet, spectacles and blooded t-shirt.
He then joined in with an electronically mutilated procession of howls and screams and waved his hammer about a bit. Time passed. Then one by one they departed.
One way of assessing music is to establish what the performer is trying to achieve, the quality of that concept and how well it was realised. In the case of Crucifix if their intention was to depict the horror and shame of a DIY disaster then they made a solid fist of it.
The Left Hand begin well, wringing the most impressive sound of the night from keys guitar and drums. The standout track was a 7/4 track about the International Space Station that was catchy, complex and on the very brink of being superb.
However, being on the brink of superb was as far as the set got. To hold the listeners’ attention The Left Hand are crying out for stronger singing then the guitarist and keyboardist currently muster. It’s melodic music but no one is looking after the melody and that makes for frustrating listening. Could be great though.
Third up are Black Bombain, all the way from Portugal. Their stock in trade is long format space-rock-funk style instrumentals.
Competently played but lacking the virtuoso flair that this sort of music really needs; there’s only so much guitar, bass and drums can do in these circumstances. Despite the energy and a good turn from the drummer it was overlong and formless.
Finally we had Hag from London. They recall half-comatose, stone deaf sound engineers from the Home Counties. Maybe we’re not as up on our Heavy Rock as we should be, but if the aim of the game is to be tight, loud and churning up great riffs, then Hag weren’t doing what we thought they should be doing.
Black Bombain had bored us and Hag near enough finished us off.
Sure, there were some guys at the front still nodding their heads to the beat, but they would have nodded their heads to a scratched Roger Whitaker album by this stage.
When it was all over we didn’t stumble out of the Pilgrim elated, cock sure and ready to take on the world. We were pissed off, deflated and a bit deafer, which isn’t why they gave Rock a capital “R”.