Archive for March, 2012

Pulled Apart By Horses & The Computers @ The Electric Ballroom

Pulled Apart By Horses & The Computers  @ Electric Ballroom

23rd Februray 2012

Mr Flowers has fallen sadly behind the times over recent months, as evidenced by his album backlog stretching back to the summer of 2011. But thankfully his desire for live bands hasn’t faltered. So as we settle doan at The Worlds End for the Camden pre-pint ritual, it’s no shock to learn Flowers has no idea who is supporting. “The Computers! Wow! I didn’t know that! that’s awesome!!“, cue reminiscence on how we sadly missed them at Camden Crawl 2011 and how he still hasn’t heard their debut LP (no surprises there then). No time to waste then as we struck out, eager not to miss out, which turned out slightly enthusiastic given the first support slot went unfilled. All of a sudden the PA system flicked, circa 1955, retro rock and roll blaring…this signaled the imminent arrival of The Computers.

Band uniform’s are an overlooked weapon in the style arsenal as coolness tends to trump novelty. The Computers, fully clad in white shirts and trousers looking a bit like fellow garage rockers The Hives, embrace it. It’s rare to witness something genuinely unique and I am stumped to think of another band who have taken vintage rock n’ roll and blues and channeled it through hardcore punk to create the “Hardcore Blues”.

The Computers

Niche? yes. Good? absu-bloody-lutely! High octane throaty yelps, mixed up over clean backing vocals with riotous guitars thrashing out blues by-numbers melodies make a contagious combination. They play with force and confidence, bounding about stage barely confined by the lengths their instrument cables will take them. Lead vocalist especially has itchy feet as he played from atop of the speakers, on the barrier stage front and more impressively from 50ft back in the crowd. With the cables strung high by some thankfully tall fans acting as makeshift pylons the crowd closed a tight circle around him buzzing in the energy on display. The crowd themselves had seemingly endless energy tonight which made for a corking show. you know when a 20ft circle pit opens up for the support band, you know it’s gonna be one of those nights that you feel lucky to escaped bruising.

Their short sharp 3 minute blasts of inferno blues guitar and rootin’ tootin’ honky tonk piano punk were just stunning, their best being the thrusting “Music Is Dead” and soundtrack to a bar room brawl “Rhythm Revue“. Look out for these boys, they play hard, fast and take no prisoners…just how we like it!

After such a grand opening, it was a tough task to trump. Yet Pulled Apart By Horses went about the task, bit between snarling teeth, as they cranked up the ante one more notch. The crowd again didn’t waste any time in forming smash pits even bigger than before, causing carnage and chaos throughout the entire set. PABH’s alt-metal thunder was epic tonight; their hulking great guitar riffs and giant pounding drums were each on top form.

They plucked plenty of material from their newly release album Tough Love which despite its recent addition to their catalogue sparked furious sing-a-long and energetic reactions from where I was standing. Although it was slightly slower in tempo, their melodies were much wider in scope giving their tunes an added depth. Especially as the big wind-up release guitar rockets are still abundant, yet lie deeper into their songs. Lead single “V.E.N.O.M.” the pick of the newbie’s, unleashed frenzied vocals and an unstoppable melee of fret runs, crescendo’s and breakdowns.

Pulled Apart By Horses

Of course the first album favourites succeeded in unleashing the greatest crowd lunacy, resulting in a twisted sea of bodies enveloping over half of the venue. Set closer “High Five Swan Dive Nose Dive” started a chaotic riot, “The Crapsons” sparked grown men to sing at one another and  “I Punched A Lion In The Throat” with its Zepp’ riffs and calls of “Ultimate Power”  is befitting for one of the best and most powerful live bands around. Their confidence has been buoyed since the last time we witnessed them, if they have been getting this kind of reception up and down the country the it’s easy to see why.

The guys even had time to throw in a Nirvana cover at the death, “Tourettes” which suited their dirty fuzzed guitars and ear pummeling ethos. Tonight was the best show I’ve been at for quite some time. Madness reigned, but ultimately that’s what made it so addictive!

The Virginmarys and The Trews @ The Garage

6th February 2012

Our first band of the night had something of a personality crisis. To the un-informed this foot stomping fuzzed up blues trio kicked off as Mad Dog, playing some perky little riffs leaning heavily on the led zep wall of sound. But by mid set their vocalist/lead guitarist announced “As you know we have changed names” we are now called Born Mad. Was news to me, but thankfully their name change didn’t change the path of this really bright set of catchy numbers driven by enigmatic vocals and bold blues riffing with the occasional wandering voyage into trip-out psychedelia.

Mad Dog/Born Mad (or as Trews guitarist thought…Porn Mag!)

Far from being a “new” band, The Trews have been on my stereo since their brilliant 2003 debut “House of Ill Fame“, which still ranks as one of my favourites. Not forgetting they were nominated for ‘New Group of the Year’ at the 2004 Juno Awards! To see them subbing on the bill in a new music showcase is rather disappointing, but I have to count blessings as this is the first time I’ve managed to get to one of their precious few London shows.

The Trews

Showcasing their straight up non-nonsense, chorus driven pop, rock and roll, The Trews won many new friends this evening. Their songwriting was a clear head and shoulders above the rest of the night’s bands, providing thunderous guitars, immensely catchy sing-a-long moments and a fizzing lead guitar solos too boot. Songs such as the corking rocker “Misery Loves Company“, and the swaggering “So She’s Leaving” showed their talent for penning great riffs, while vocal centric bluesy strutters “Not Ready To Go” and “Poor Old Broken Hearted Me” had infectious melodies stamped all over them.

Their experience was evident as they inherently went off script with extended guitar solo’s (for which John Angus MacDonald routinely took up central stage rock god positioning,) intimate crowd/band banter and whole hearted crowd participation antics led by front man Colin MacDonald. These tunes were simply huge for a tiny venue such as this, but then after years of playing shows in their native Canada, this should not have been a surprise. Essentially this was a fantastic set of rousing popped up rock, all I’d hoped it would be.

Tonight’s headliners The Virginmarys are in fact making quite a name for themselves. After we caught them at the Forum supporting Ash in 2011, we couldn’t get enough, hence we back for more. The second blues trio of the night had a tough bill to top, but they set about their task with vigor and passion. The great thing about them is that they are so eminently watchable. With three excelling musicians on display from the driving bassist, the ecstatic drummer who smashed the skins with severe warrior like blows and the hazy front man on guitar and vocals piling on the riffs and saturating the air with rough and ready vocals, careering from deep and soulful to range busting howls.

The Virginmarys

Each song steeped in the blues managed to grab either the attention with either a cracking vocal melodies or a treat from their over-stocked arsenal of rawkus guitar licks. all hot and bothered “Bang, Bang, Bang“. A surefire hit already within the rock scene, let’s hope the Virginmarys go on to deliver the debut album we’re all waiting for!