Well then. Three bands. Quid a band. One of these bands currently ripping it right up in the music press as I type this. A school night fest of crunk, melodic punk and shittery above a pub in the Midlands. Let us begin.
Youth. It’s a wonderful thing to behold. The wilful disregard of risk and convention. The unassailable confidence. The unfettered exhuberance. With an apparent average age of about fourteen Worcester’s very own Forever Grace have youth spraying wildly out of every orifice. They also sound a lot like Slayer circa Reign in Blood. However, they both clearly know this – and do not give a single wet little shit. Cranking out a brand of filthy metallic hardcore that is getting rather big right now, this was an impressively lean and pokey mix of post-Frank Carter Gallows, Pariso and some of that Scandinavian stuff that does the rounds. All this delivered by five edgier versions of the geek who won X Factor last year. Tattoos, skinny jeans, quiffs – these boys looked the part. And given the spark in the eye and the spring in their step as they nailed through their set, they certainly don’t lack for self-belief or ambition. Congested market right now lads – but power to your elbow.
This band also brought their crew. At times reminiscent of some kind of demented 70s disco dance off gone wrong – or a pack of drunken tramps rabidly fighting with the invisible man – their fanboys took it in turns to enthusiastically flail and romp around in the general area between the drum kit and the audience with real vim and vigour. The band joined in too. This was spectator moshing at its best. Ultimately this is what this kind of music is all about, the kids having their moment and getting stuff out of their system – and almost bought a tear to the eye. You windmill on boys. Just mind you don’t smack the civilians.
Band two. The Callout. Melodic punk edging right into emo – soaring harmonic vocals, emotional content and some sweet hooks. I understand that this three-piece have paid their dues, playing as a unit for some years – and it shows. With heavy shades of Hot Water Music and The Gaslight Anthem, the sound was crisp and style distinctly American. There was even a note perfect cover of what I think was a 5ive song – in the vein of the kitsch cover of Rush Hour by Joyrider all those years ago – which they basically pulled off. A lot of this was engaging stuff – but did drift a little now and again. As it happened this was probably a good thing for all involved – a lull before the storm – given what followed.
Band three. Baby Godzilla. On the back of airplay on the niche shows on national radio, and playing their first date on a national tour schedule that will see them supporting Black Spiders and Hawk Eyes, this was expected to be good. What it was – and I use this after very careful consideration – was utter and complete fucking chaos.
Musically, Baby Godzilla are a kind of quirky cross between the Dillinger Escape Plan and the Computers. Three hundred mile an hour skinny-jeaned rock and roll punk interspersed with freaky time signature noodlery – and a whole lotta screaming. Not that this particularly comes across live – there was the occasional recognisable tune and there was a part where they all put their instruments down and walked around rhythmically shouting. But catchy harmonies aren’t really what this band are about. This was about sonic assault. It wasn’t about the crowd moshing either. Further windmilling by Forever Grace’s mutant urban dance crew was rapidly shut down as these sweaty lunatics from Nottingham basically turned the tables and invaded the crowd.
Two songs in and there were beardy boys in vests causing mayhem at the back of the room: rearranging and clambering all over the furniture, getting nose to nose with the punters – and generally freaking out like chimpanzees having a breakdown. All to the backdrop of an ungodly, feral noise. There were cables tangled in the light fittings. There was a point when one of them almost fell out the window. There was someone flat out on the bar wailing like a banshee. The Callout guys – perhaps wisely – hid out on the balcony. Guitars were handed to random people to fiddle with or played with the teeth or dry humped against the wall (you got the full Hendrix, people). If as is likely they get signed to a major label – they’ve just released a single on Venn Records, the rebooted Gallows’ current vehicle – then that major label better be prepared to pay for new guitars every show. You get the distinct impression that the only thing stopping this lot torching or smashing theirs into the amps was the cost.
And so. Their main set ended with someone rolling around the middle of the floor in a puddle of sweat, sobbing; the encore ended with the bassist wildly smacking the drums like my two year old daughter, having first dragged the kit right in amongst the audience – with the lad with the microphone screaming himself hoarse about whores.
You saw it here first.