Posts Tagged ‘nu-metal’

This is my first time at Headrow House in ages. Literally years. May 2019, to be precise, when Big Joanie supported Charly Bliss. It’s remarkable to reflect on that, now that Big Joanie are playing truly huge venues as the support for IDLES. This, of course, is, in a nutshell, why we need grassroots venues, and why it’s worth arriving in decent time and checking out the support acts. Tonight is another case in point.

But first, on arrival, I realise how much you forget. Like I’d forgotten how the downstairs bar is so loud and busy, and thought there was a larger selection of beers. Upstairs in the gig space, it’s less loud or busy, but then, it’s early doors, and I need a refill before the music starts.

Helle are up first, and they simply blow everyone away. They’re intense, fierce. Authentic, angry old-school punk, the female-led act employ S&M imagery in both their songs and appearance. It’s in your face in the best possible way – forceful, confrontational, strong, with edge.

It’s an unusual experience hearing two bands cover the same song just a few days apart, and noting the difference: against Healthy Junkies’ solid but standard rendition, Helle’s cover of ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’ is a feedback-soaked stompfest and kicks all kinds of arse. The singer possesses real presence, strutting and swaying, and has big, gutsy vocals to match: she’s raging, alright, and channelling the spirit of the late 70s all the way.

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Helle

Railing against the government, railing against the patriarchy, etc., etc., may seem old and standard, but 45 years since punk broke, it’s still relevant – which is depressing. In context, Elton John’s ‘Benny and the Jets’ seems like an unpunk song to cover, but they kill it, hard, while closer ‘Pornography’ goes hardcore. It doesn’t get better than this.

Pulverise bring a different kind of intensity, the Leeds five-piece collective being unashamedly nu-metal/rap-metal/sports metal in their stylings. With a 5-string bass chug and two guitars laying down slabs of distortion, it’s a full-on kick with a keen sense of groove. It’s very much a Judgement Night Soundtrack kind of groove at that, and the RATM influence on the sound, if not the subjects, is also apparent. And then they whip out a metal cover of’ ‘Insane in the Brain’ that sounds like Pitch Shifter and then it segues into ‘We Ain’t Going Out Like That’: it certainly illustrates the band’s vintage, and it’s good fun in a retro, kinda sports metal way.

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Pulverise

Weekend Recovery change their lineup more often than Lauren changes the colour of her hair, and so it is that the band on stage tonight isn’t the same I saw at Long Division in Wakefield in September last year, and the lineup launching the EP isn’t the one that played on its recording. On the one hand, it’s rather a shame: on the other, onwards and upwards, and the current lineup may well be their tightest yet.

Ant & Dec’s ‘Let’s Get Ready to Rumble’ makes for a corny but fun intro tape, and it bleeds into the Countdown Countdown for the band to rush onstage against the clock… badum, badum, badaladum… boshh! And they’re straight in with ‘Radiator’, the opener from sophomore album False Company.

The bass sounds like twigs rattling in a bag, scratching away during this first song, but everything comes together soon after. The sound and lighting are top notch, even if the stage show is channelling The Sisters of Mercy circa 1985, with Lori in particular so swathed in smoke as to be barely visible for the majority of the show. They slay ‘In the Mourning’ early in the set, and it’s a varied one, showcasing tracks from the new ‘No Guts’ EP as would be expected for a launch event.

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Weekend Recovery

And oh yes, the EP is a solid 4 songs, as Lori pointed out to me from the stage, although only two of them feature in the set, which draws heavily on recent second album False Company. The first of these is ‘It’s Obvious’, a slow-burner with a mid-80s feel. Early single ‘Out of Control’ is played at breakneck speed, on account of Lori having a moment while programming the backing.

Across the set, they showcase tunes that could and would be immense given the right exposure. It’s followed by the rarely-aired heart-rending new tattoo before getting back to full-throttle energy with turn it up, the only song from their debut album: it’s very much a forward-facing set, with very few further reaches into the back catalogue.

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Weekend Recovery

Forster channels Suzi Quattro, and not just on account of her getup: she’s all the rock up there and has come into her own as a performer since tasking on the role of sole guitarist as well as singer. A kick-ass ‘Zealot’ prefaces set closer and ep lead ‘No Guts, All the Glory’ which is perhaps their strongest single to date, and rounding off a strong set to round off a night of great performances.

Better Noise Music – 28th August 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

This may be a little belated, but then arguably, so are the band: From Ashes To New trade in melodic alt-rock that crashes in with the blustery force of post-metal before petering out into some middle ground that’s rooted in the turn-of-the-millennium tats ‘n’ haircuts trend. It’s hard to feel the fire and fury of such angst-by-numbers.

Don’t get me wrong: I feel a genuine sympathy for these guys: the scrolling text at the start of the video reminds me of all of the cancellations I’ve had to witness this year, from gigs and holidays, to conferences to recording sessions to…well, absolutely fucking everything. The office setting for the video hauls me back to the day I was required to return to the office – closed for the foreseeable future, possibly permanently – to collect my personal belongings. It felt like an ending, and a weak one that sputter out to nothing at that. The hangar-like empty space could, under different circumstances, have been quite exciting, even exhilarating, but under the eye of a gloved and masked security guard who watched as I separated out personal and company belongings from my desk, bagging up the items that were my own and separating out stationery, IT kit (although I regret not squirreling away a spare mouse now) and paperwork for recycling before leaving the gloomy open-plan building, the blinds half drawn and the lights off for what was probably the last time. It didn’t occur to me that maybe this would be the setting for recording a rock video: much as I wanted to capture the bleakness of the empty space, I was more preoccupied with making sure I’d loaded up and was off the premises in my allotted twenty minutes, and while the security guard was nothing but friendly, I felt tense and pressured, and yes, maybe the pressure was of my own making but I felt like an intruder and like I needed to get out before I cold relax and breathe properly again.

On departing, it struck me that with more of us being designated permanent home workers as the company looks to finding ways to recoup the immense costs of providing everyone with a laptop, the cost savings of not paying for electricity, cleaners, maintenance, and all of the other things associated with an office housing around 80 staff, I may not see many, if any, of the people I’d spent the last few years working with, in close proximity, ever again. Granted, half of them I could take or leave, some of them were cunts, but they all contributed to the fabric of life. I miss life, and I may even miss some of the people.

But it doesn’t change fact that this is some fairly generic and somewhat dated-sounding Limp Bizkit / Linkin Park lift, and while I feel their pain and panic, it’s all downhill from the intro: the video, likewise, as we move away from the TV screen, the source of the panic, to the empty office, something they seem to revel in but which carries quite different connotations for me and no doubt many.

This isn’t clear-cut, and this is personal, and sometimes, the personal does not lie within the universal. ‘Panic’ will no doubt speak to some, even many, and maybe it’s a matter of demographic, but it certainly doesn’t speak to me.

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