(review n pix by mwj)

Murky midweek mayhem, with an excellent line-up presented on the doorstep by the newly founded Dirty Vultures Promotions. Their previous connections to funtimes at Speakers Corner in Colwyn Bay had enabled the persuasion of this return (close to) home for the much travelled and currently disparately located Bastions. Having seen the venue many times passing on the train as it is right next to the station it seemed ingrained in my memory but when inside and seeing the pretty decent set up in there I figured I may well not have actually been there before. There’s not the best of turnouts for a gloomy Wednesday but vibe is still good.

Locals BBR (pic above) kick off the show, with their vocalist on the floor to spread out from the modest stage. They’ve just got a new EPs worth of material out and their metal/hardcore crossover is definitely getting into a groove since I last saw them, good heaviness and roared vocals. Seems a definite style of their own developing even if a new song does drift a bit awry at the end!

Black Years
from Chester are again a polished, confident article in getting across their melodic hardcore. Plenty of aggressive sections combined with more accessible sung parts, it is this though that maybe has less appeal to my tastes. Perhaps when stage presence and attitude crosses over to cliché a little too, but for their energetic delivery they are well received.

They share a drummer with fellow Devas Wolves (main pic) and I found these a more interesting proposition. With an obvious nod stylistically to the headliners the post-hardcore was structurally diverse enough to keep the attention, with brooding bass led breakdowns intermingled with chaotic screamo outbreaks, the possessed singer taking the show all over the place.

Been a few years since I’d seen Manchester’s Hammers (pic above) over at the Star and Garter and was very much looking forward to renewing acquaintance with the crust tinged relentless hardcore. The three piece delivered in spades with a furiously intense performance, really brutal vocals but also a noticing a lot of subtleties in the guitaring that I hadn’t before. Look forward to listening into that further with the phenomenally beautifully packaged “Vardogr” 10” I picked up. That’s a Scandinavian reverse déjà vu spirit by the way.

Speaking of sexy vinyl I also couldn’t resist the “absinthe green” copy of Bastions (pic above) new 12” release, the first part of their “Bedfellows” latest that this show provides a warm-up for a forthcoming European tour promoting. Not that they don’t always seem to be on tour these days, things deservedly working out well for such a genuine and impassioned band. They don’t give any less effort to the relatively few here, the new line-up seemingly giving a more focused attack than ever while the two original Jamies remain forces of nature. The set as a whole is as immediate and captivating as ever, fierce punk riffing expanded into emotive progressiveness, all bundling along with no time to take a breath. Good luck to them I say, a fine export from our local area and hopefully the promoters can import more of such quality for future events over here. While on the subject of import/exports I use a can of Oranjeboom 8.5% to bribe an unlicenced taxi driver to get us home instead of waiting for the last train, must remember this technique for future events.