Blood Cells/Brutalist Architecture In The Sun/Turtle
Nags Head, Rochester - 8 July 2017
and concrete pop - just what my musical soul needed"
in advance as "Digital Oblivion - A
night of industrial, synthpop, darkwave and glam!", not only
did this cracking little pub gig live up to the pre-gig hype, but it
served up the most entertaining suite of band names I've seen in
a while. The performances weren't too shabby either.
Inverted Scrotum, a digital
hardcore two-piece from the swamp-lands of the Isle of Sheppy, were
down to just one balaclava-clad bloke tonight. Fruity language on the
Facebook event page for the gig about our openers apologised that
(other half) DJ Nipps was doing 'dad
with a job stuff' so this was 'a CptCumQuick solo show'.
It was a hot night, so I admired the vocalist for sticking with (or
was that to?) the balaclava
throughout the set. Live, this was anarcho-karaoke, with everything
bar the lead vocals on backing - perhaps as a result of there being
only one person on stage instead of the usual two? Still, this
delivered more than I anticipated, and served up what they promised.
Beyond the superficially imbecilic front lies some scathing commentary
on the world we live in and life in general. With most songs clocking
in at less than two minutes we got fifteen in total, including a
well-chosen cover of Electric Six's Gay Bar.
'enjoyed' this more than I expected. Those with the fastest, breakneck
beats and screeching guitar worked well. I was quickly taken back to the glory days of
equally-provocative and stylistically remarkably similar Penis
Bollocka (another Kent band - must be something in the water down
here). Though it is very unlikely to ever happen (Penis Bollocka
disbanded decades ago), I would love to have seen both bands on the
Inverted Scrotum setlist: Intro, Slut Lust, Bleed Out Slow, Thick
Cunt, Shove It, Tesco Erotic Asphyxiation, I'm A Virgin (Troll Mix),
Prolapse Queen, Piece of Meat, Hey Baby, 1 Man 1 Jar, Deathly
Arousal, The Ballard of DJ Nipps, Pink Pony of Death, Gay Bar
(Electric Six cover)
[L-R] Gig poster, The Nags Head pub, Inverted Scrotum
The unconventional band names continued with Turtle
Circles taking to the stage. Their 30 minutes or so took me
right back to the days when I was a similar age, also playing gigs in
pubs, with ambitions for greater things. There was something naturally
appealing about this glam-goth-tings four-piece. A special nod of
admiration for sticking with their fashion statements in what was an
increasingly hot environment. The synth-player's full-length faux
leather coat was the most impressive.
Musically they sounded probably like a lot of other youthful bands
across the UK still trying to find their feet and their own, stand-out
sound. The inclusion of a couple of cover versions says a lot about
where they're coming from (if not where they ought to be going).
Covering Bowie was a safe enough bet (and went down well particularly
with the two older blokes in the corner that seemed utterly perplexed
by Inverted Scrotum), and fitted in with their own material well.
However, Neil Young's Rockin' In The Free World was a waste of
four minutes in a short set when you're trying to get people's
attention with a distinctive sound of your own.
Creatively, it's early days for this lot, but there were definitely a
couple of times that their own writing worked well, and hinted that
there is some greater potential worth them sticking at it to uncover.
Turtle Circles setlist: Red and White, Lazy St. Peter, Greedo,
Moonage Daydream (David Bowie cover), Rockin' in the Free
World (Neil Young cover), Con Victed, Ask Forgiveness
The reason I was here tonight was on account of Brutalist
In The Sun. I like their slightly self-deprecating/playful
attitude (not an attribute in bands I much go for) because it tempers
what could quite easily (but misguidedly) be labeled as pretentious.
Brutalist are not pretentious but they are serious about creating
striking (and indeed, slightly monolithic) music.
Last year's debut album Concrete
Pop delivered on their live promise (and comes dsoaudio
!recommended! BTW). Work on
new material is well underway with plans for a series of EPs to be
released over the next few months. Tonight's set drew mainly on the
new material, rather than lean heavily on the first album, and it
was refreshing to see a new band move quickly forward, and not rely
for several years solely on their first album for their live sets.
Now a two-piece, co-writing team in the studio, with original founder
member Dean Clarke leading the way, aided by lead vocalist Cye Thomas,
the new material shows a step progression without losing any of the
band's distinctive characteristics. There may be more of the obviously
melodic than some of the more obtuse structures found on Concrete
Turtle Circles, Brutalist Architecture In The Sun, Dead Blood Cells
duo already feel like a well-established team, with each taking full
control of their roles. Clarke creates all the music live (well, as
much of it as is reasonably possible by a single person) and provides
backing vocals. Thomas is up front leading both the vocals and the
show. Based in this neighbourhood, Brutalist had clearly tempted a bit
of a crowd out tonight. So they went down a storm. But even
objectively, they got the best reception of the whole night - and that
didn't only come from fans.
They rattled through their set apace culminating with the
epic-sounding Do We Ever Know The
End?, then closing with Clarke taking up the lead vocal role
for Take Control - where he
struck nearly as many poses as lines he delivered; whilst the array of
electric machines in the background blinked their LEDs reproducing the
wonderful music they had been instructed to. I loved every minute, and
their performance only consolidated my growing appreciation and
respect for the band.
Brutalist Architecture In The Sun setlist: Towers, The
Ones, Aliens On The Underground, Ride The Waves, Run And
Hide, 2Horses, Running on Empty, Do We Ever Know The
End?, Take Control
Dead Blood Cells were more
interesting then affecting for me. There's a LOT of stuff going in
their compositions! Probably at least 80% too
much in each song, actually. Though many of the ideas are
left field, and on their own (or in other songs entirely) they
often gave pause for admiration, they failed to coalesce into coherent
songs for me.
It's true, and perhaps a fault, that I like most composition to reside
at either end of a spectrum of cohesive or completely random. Dead
Blood Cells pretty much spanned that entire
spectrum across their set, and frequently within individual
songs! It sounded like a lot of disparate influences stubbornly
refusing to come together into a single entity. (The
intro from Depeche Mode's World
In My Eyes popped up mid-song at one point - and I'm not even
sure the band noticed.)
Aside from thoroughly enjoying the Brutalist set, the big take away
from this gig was I really need to go to more pub gigs. Having had a
flurry of stadium gigs lately, anarcho-karaoke and concrete pop in a
pub was just what my musical soul needed to get it back in balance.
More please. 7/10