(by Tom Price)
Stress has been a bit of a factor in the Price house over the last few days hopefully it will not effect the quality of this review too much. But before we start quick pop quiz, name 5 bands connected to Alan Holmes (use this site if you must)? (I need a get out clause after the last review someone did of one of these bands).
Well the day final arrived and I, like many, have been waiting for this gig for just over 6 months now but when I last saw Wendykurk play back in Hendre Hall communications had seem to have slipped as sometimes they do (God it’s hard enough to get bios from some of these bands let alone get them out of their home towns) so we have had to wait a little bit longer than we might have done. The value of networking. This makes it the 3rd time I have seen the ‘kurk, am almost losing count of the times for Nameless, which leaves NUKE as the new band to check out.
I arrived a bit late, as I have now finally trained myself to do, to find the doors still locked and Nameless sound checking with hopes that Gryff Rhys was about to see it but I think the Bethesda (“wonder what he’s up to?” says the Bangor lad) boi missed it all. His presence might indicate something about where some of these bands are going.
Having got past the rather pedantic doorwoman, and sorted out my free entry (cheers James, hope this is worth it), the first stop was to meet Glyn Mills of Cunning-Stunts (more info for this web site and promotion of the North South divide). Then I needed to meet up with Nomi’s boyfriend who is about to get Entity back up and running, but was already too far gone to find much out about the state of Fubar let alone remember who are our mutual friends.
NUKE were still sound checking when the doors were opened at a point when the bands where supposed to be playing, but that just always seems to be the case with gigs. This young Bridgend band look like they might play nu-metal, but without all the cross over gubbins that are supposed to be so cliché at the moment, they should be able to escape that. MTV2(52)’s affliction for the commercial radio play-list style has long since driven me away so the subtle nuances of the present metal sound is lost on me. They get some reaction from the crowd but have not got their fan base sorted out just yet, but as some quality tracks of theirs have been receiving air play so hopefully they should rectify that one soon.
I come back from a piss to find my book trapped beneath NUKE’s bass so the Nameless set was going to have to be hurriedly scribbled on my arm until it become obvious that it was going to work, at which point I realised that it was best just to ride the emotional waves that poured off the stage like morphine.
Next up Nameless. As soon as I heard the rather strangely titled (John Entity’s description not mine) Read More Books, I knew I was going to love this band (the T-shirt has garnered dirty looks from kids). Starting off in an Alice Cooper-esque style, shifting onto something that was reminiscent of an early Valleum track, before finishing with something that I feel is how the Manics should sound (if I could be bothered with them) mixed with a bit of New Model Army. All sung in a way which for some strange reason made me think of Spear of Destiny, however none of these tracks appeared on the set list tonight.
The dramatic use of lighting and the smoke machine made for the most atmospheric performance I’ve seen so far. The only official released tracks to appear was the opener the Salt Flats and Utilising Blasphemy as a Seduction Technique, so for those of you who haven’t been following this lot closely there is a lot of stuff to come. All the newer songs, Greatest hits, Another Cautionary Tale (which is already starting to lodge itself in my head) and “song of the year” Children get an airing. Also included in the set are some of the much older tracks, (Keeping You and History Today) during which Molly-moon was viciously attacked by a couple of hard core fans, and laid out for Al to ravage. When he’s not moving around like there is a mains lead stuck up his arse, he’s gazing out suspiciously into the audience perhaps looking for “the gay mate he’s just fallen for” to help him remove it and I don’t want to know what he want’s to do to tarantula’s. The set ends with Welcome to the machine (cheers Neil, but definitely works better than ‘…nightmare’ would). XXX-Rated (who only got through two guitars this time) is tonight’s casualty playing with a passion that almost cost him a finger nail. Al storms off, the band leave, leaving the French to finish the song by throwing down his guitar. Maybe not my favourite choice of songs (need to hear the new ones a few more times I think). Anyway the new material lyrics are for studying after the performance and tunes are to get lost in during the performance so you will have to wait or go to the site if you really care. All that’s by the by and is a good sign for all you who haven’t seen them yet as your probably going to have to see them twice (well what a bummer) to catch all their material.
Finally Wendykurk take to the stage showing that not only are they willing to wear the dresses in the next world but are quite happy to do so in this world to. They are a band that isn’t going to do anything to prevent the proliferation of an image that was started by Gorky’s and the Super Furries, and they get the prize for the most dedicated (well some of them had come from Bangladesh) fans who actually dance through out the set joined by the Bard of Ely (Taffia for those not in the know) and a couple of hard core fans. Mr Entity jumps around an tries to drag those around (ie me) deeper into the fray of Wendykurk chanting fans.
Their sound is in the kind of nu-metal (I still stick by this despite what some say) sub-genre that Human Waste Project and Tairrie B existed in, before the commercialisation of nu-metal by that Mission Impossible track. I could say Ectogram weirdness for a nu-metal generation, but I hope not as this would probably equate to a MOJO curse.
How much this music is purely cathartic (like Nameless seems) I don’t know, but do know that for some it was a wee bit of a head fuck and probably a bizarre experience to some of the people sitting around the edge (of note a girl in a Dirty Harry (the band) top and I’m fairly sure Welsh Music Award winner Gwenno).
Hopefully we should see a good review of this gig in the NME, if Noel Gardner gets round to it, because these bands need and deserve to get themselves out to the wider world, something which I’m yet to see Radio 1 properly comprehending. If no review is forth coming someone will have to do a Nick Kent on NG next time.
Thankfully I have acquired some more of their material so I can now have a proper listen to some of the material not available on the Freckles EP without the need to have the stream interrupted by my piss-poor slow modem. So if your not that lucky, get hold of a good connection and chase the material down. I think Chain of Daisies could become my favourite track.
Underpass (Mainline’s new name) was supposed to be playing a set to start off Emerge but due to a over active taxi driver the equipment left the site just as Lee was grabbing the people to get the stuff out the boot, fortunately it has been returned. (Still can’t get that line dance image out of my head from the Salt flats launch party). So the night ends with an Emerge set from Daf Transposer and me slipping out to allow for work to progress with my PhD.
Now I think I’m going to go an crawl under some nice warm blankets and listen to something slightly more friendly (and avoid writing) these things.
One good point, for me anyway, about this gig is that I almost ended up with more money than I went in with, kind of worrying as I thought I had had more to drink than that (ODD).
Just remember people that your local scene is like Schrodinger’s cat you can’t tell if it is dead, alive or just shit until you look, however if your reading this you’ll know that.
Cofio – Hwyl a Helynt