Posts Tagged ‘The Bricks’

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s been a very long while since scuzz-punk rock duo Mannequin Death Squad came to our shores, and even longer since they last set foot in York – but hailing from Melbourne, Australia, it’s been quite a while since they’ve set foot anywhere outside their province, with now fewer than six lockdowns and more than 260 days under restrictions during the pandemic, which led to Victoria’s state capital to be dubbed the “world’s most locked down city”, according to the BBC. Hardly conducive conditions for a band who thrive on playing live.

MDS seems to have harnessed all of that pent-up energy for this month-long UK tour, scheduled at relatively short notice, but before they’re on, they’ve got a solid bill of local talent in support, too (let’s face it, four bands for £7, you can’t go wrong), and first on, up-and-coming KissKissKill (styled as XXK so as to avoid any iffy connotations, and who’ve been around a while but seem to be finally kicking things up a notch) prove to be a solid opener giving an assured performance. Their sound may bet kinda standard rock with some big guitar solos, but they’ve got a good level of energy and enthusiasm. Singer Gemma-Louise performs with her eyes as well as with powerful lungs, and she’s backed by some solid riffs and she bounces around a lot: they all do, apart from the bassist who hides at the back behind his straightened hair. They’re a lot of fun, and clearly have potential for great things.

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KissKissKill

Ketamine Kow bring mouth frothing energy and aggression. They’ve had their songs shared on Twitter by Sleaford Mods. The front-cunt’s proper mental and the songs are almost secondary to the spasmodic energy as he charges around maniacally, getting in people’s faces and generally creating a disruptive energy. I mean, there seems to be something not quite right about the guy, but this is the spectacle of a performer who lives every second of the performance for real. Like a young Iggy Pop, it’s all for the moment. There are some squalling riffs and pounding percussion going on behind the manic screaming and shouting. Ketamine Kow could well be the new Baby Godzilla: with the exception of the drummer, who also provides strong second vocals, the band spend as much time in the crowd than on stage, the singer everywhere all at once, hollering from the back of the room, leering in and looming over the crowd, or writhing on the floor. Skinny white boys with gangly limbs, you can’t imagine that being in a band is likely to help any of the members of Ketamine Kow to pull: they’re sweary, sweaty, raw, authentic punk, and so, so angry – and fucking brilliant.

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Ketamine Kow

The Bricks Draw the Line at the start of the set, and they seem to get sharper, more solid, more meaty with every outing, and singer Gemma is more confident and more commanding than ever. The sound is a perfect amalgamation of juggernaut bass with choppy stuttering riffs that splinter onto shards, with heavy hints of Gang of Four and Wire with martial beats. In terms of performance, Gemma doesn’t ‘do’ much – no bouncing about, no, posing: she doesn’t have to. The voice is immense, and is all the presence, allowing the three middle-aged blokes (no criticism, especially as they’re clearly having a blast playing the songs and have the sound absolutely nailed) to fade into the noisy background.

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It’s gone 10:45 when Mannequin Death Squad start, but when they do it’s incendiary: the set is back to back killers, heavily raiding their 2016 debut mini-album ‘Eat Hate Regurgitate’ alongside songs released on-line since and brand new material, too. They’re loud and they’re tight with a full sound, the dual vocals really defining the sound over the big, grungy riffs. They play hard and fierce. ‘Sick’ lands third before a new track off the forthcoming debut album. Elly’s eyes lol up into her head as she kicks out the riffs. The mid-set instrument switch seems to take it up a notch, and Dan steps out from behind the drums to take over the guitar and lead vocals, and stomps the stage fiercely. Meanwhile, the hi hat’s fucked and zip on her trousers is bust, but still Elly doesn’t miss a beat. They’re committed, alright. Live shows don’t come better than this.

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Mannequin Death Squad

Things are running late and curfews are a kicker for most venues these days, especially those in residential areas, so they’re forced to truncate the set a little – and so what it lacks in duration, they compensate in energy, turning the small venue into a total sweatbox as they deliver the title track from their forthcoming debut album, ‘Super Mental Psycho’ as the penultimate song, and it’s blistering. We’re all wiped and melting by the end, and while there’s no chance of an encore, the rush to the merch and to chat to the band after showed the level of appreciation. And rightly so – they’re one of those bands who never disappoint.

Christopher Nosnbor

By this time in any normal year, I’ll have been to at least three or four gigs by now, but 2022 has got off to a slow start largely because the impacts of Covid-19 continue to hit live music harder than perhaps most industries. Planning is nigh on impossible when bandmembers find they have to quarantine as late as the day of a show. Plus, people – bands and punters alike – are still cautious, and the dilemma of to play or not to play, attend or not attend is one that’s understandable. But, having attended my first live music at The Victoria Vaults (a seated show) last August, I’ve been working to overcome any anxieties I may have by getting out more, at least incrementally, and it’s remarkably life-affirming to arrive early doors to find a fair few others have already turned up for what promises to be a top night out, with touring London acts The Kut and Healthy Junkies supported by local quartet The Bricks.

If the name suggests something unsubtle, and also blankly nihilistic, it’s halfway to a fair representation, in that The Bricks trade in dark, spiky goth-tinged (post) punk, with some busy but solid bass grooves. Gemma Kennedy delivers gutsy vocals at the lower end of the range but then rising to a scream, and brings real power to the songs, and she’s a compelling focal point for the band, too. Introducing one of the songs, it dawns on me that the three guys playing instruments probably remember the miner’s strike that one of the songs is or isn’t about, in contrast to the vocalist who very much doesn’t, but they work cohesively as a unit, and deliver a solid and exhilarating set, and they’re admirably tight.

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The Bricks

Healthy Junkies – a band who’ve been on my radar for a while as a band to see – don’t disappoint and kick ass from the outset. They power out of the traps channelling Pretty On the Inside era Hole sonically and visually (and perhaps Nina Courson brings a dash of Katie Jane Garside to the punk rock party too). They sustain full throttle, max energy, punky energy for the duration, and while their cover of ‘These Boots Were Made for Walking’ is perhaps a bit standard, it’s played with feeling as part of a set that builds. Recent single ‘Tricky Situation’ is but one of a number of standouts in a set delivered with real panache.

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Healthy Junkies

I won’t bang on about how long I’ve been listening to and covering The Kut, but will say that it’s been a long but rewarding journey tracing their ascent, and following the release of their long-awaited debut album, they’ve continued that upward trajectory. While it’s Princess Maha as the band’s principal member who’s driven this, it’s only been possible by building a grassroots fanbase through hard gigging, and regardless of lineup, The Kut have always been a strong live band, and this is never more apparent than tonight. It’s a different lineup from the last time I saw them at Verve in Leeds in August 2018, which is practically a lifetime ago.

In a set that rocks hard, post-album single cut ‘Animo’ lands second. It’s perhaps a shame that the ‘girls to the front’ shout suffers from the wall of male photographers making up the front row, but they’re not going to throw a Dream Nails strop about it: they’re clearly enjoying being up there in front of a respectable crowd, playing songs after so long away, and they’re on strong form. Maha’s vocals are scratchy in the throat, but actually sound really good against the backdrop of chunky rock guitars. There’s palpable pleasure on their faces as they rip through the poppier ‘Hollywood Rock ‘n’ Roll’, and the moshing down the front expands from a couple off people to a proper pit. Maha’s grinning and pogoing, and it’s a joy to witness, as is the kickass rendition of ‘DMA’, and ‘I Want You Maniac’ brings forth more solid riffing. The forthcoming album is well represented with a number of songs, too. Of these, ‘Burn Your Bridges’ is slower and more dynamic, and something of a standout.

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The Kut

Main set closer ‘Badman’ brings most of the moshers up onto the stage, and I realise that it’s precisely this that I’ve missed; people cutting loose, enjoying themselves, the whole gig principle of getting lost in the moment. I’m immersed in the performance, the show, the experience, and for a few minutes at least, this is the world. There is nothing more, and this is the entirety of the universe. If only life was always this way – because in there here and now, with a pint in my hand and a band blasting away, giving it their all, this feels like the best of living.