(reviewed by MWJ)
Ok, so a Wednesday night in Rhyl, even in the last week of the summer holidays, you wouldn’t expect much. Unless recent Wednesdays had been anything to go by and you’d expect hundreds to turn and have fun etc. But no, tonight is a traditional Wednesday night in Rhyl (except it’s not raining) and there’s f**k all there. So maybe Skinflick’s reputation has preceded them, or perhaps people have vague recollections of the Breeding Ground sonic abortion, or maybe Bangor isn’t local enough for them to be a local band and garner support. Maybe you think they are shit. Dim ots to them having travelled to lots of other interesting places round the country to entertain “select” (count on one hand, include dogs) audiences, but disappointed for support bands trekking from South Wales and Preston.
I was in the fortunate position of scabbing a lift as I was en route, and the Misery Machine whisked me away from plying my trade on a corner in Conwy. A van load of people were already included and there was party vibe, a trip to Rhyl does that to you. Guy from KOBE/Dammerung celebrating his 50th birthday, Steve, Skinflick’s drummer contemplating including one of those kebab meat stick devices as part of his drum kit to satisfy his addiction. We hold him back until we get to the venue safely.
The other bands have already been there some time (fashionable lateness) but the PA wasn’t which can be a bit of a worry, but arrived soon enough. Then drawn out sound checks blended seamlessly into the start of the gig, as it was late enough and wouldn’t seem to matter to the gathered misses. Everything was blending rapidly for me thanks to free beer tokens.
3-piece Pain Deleted started in at the deep end with “Insanity Mass”, a track off their brand new album release “Regressive Modern Theory”. They certainly weren’t pulling their punches as the drum machine was cranked up to crazy bpms and cut through well. Guitar and bass were both heavy and technically complicated at the same time, definitely reminding of the better aspects of bands like Fear Factory and the more metally side of Napalm Death. The vocal had plenty of power and anger as well, which contrasted well with their “ah, f**k it” banter between songs. I was saying after the only thing I didn’t think came across in the mix was the vocal samples that appear scattered through the album. That’s because they weren’t there at all, I was told. D’oh. What’s in this beer stuff?
9xDead sounded very similar to what they were doing when these bands last played together back in TJ’s in Newport, some time ago. The drums are hammered out in an almost tribal fashion, the vocals swinging between a screech and a deep gothic Elvis. I admit to not concentrating on much of their set as I was being distracted by a display of double shoulder dislocation by a lady of the type I’m sure the Skinflick circus sideshow will attract many, plus El Crud was making strange signals (“I want to write you a cheque”?) in my direction so I went off for a translation. And to complement him on his reet smart 4Q t-shirt. The band’s version of “Tainted Love” brought the attention back around, if only for being different and not in some Marilyn Manson way.
Finally Skinflick rolled into action with the apt “Indifference”, and the PA that Justin had “adjusted” himself certainly seemed to be providing a top notch sound despite battling against the not ideal acoustics of the room. By the time that classic in the making “F**k Buddy”, off the forthcoming “Halo of Flies” release, bludgeoned its way into the room, I was more than motivated/pissed enough to get my booty on the industrial workshop dance floor. Although this was short lived and just made things more blurry. Their set seemed reduced, perhaps by time constraints, but the new ordering of the songs had a great impact. So in general the night was deemed positive by those involved, and perhaps a return could be organised with more local bands for local support from local people
Sent Pain Deleted in the direction of the sea (follow your noses), 9xDead the opposite way, headed back to the wild west. Stopped off for a kebab in a shop that only had one left (!?!) so shared that with Steve whose need was greatest. Made it home in one piece but then fell over in the house somewhere in the dark and was in slightly more pieces for a while