Gallows Live at The Underworld, Camden

GALLOWS
w/ Feed The Rhino, Brotherhood of the Lake

London Camden Underworld
19th October 2012

Brotherhood Of The Lake’s recent ‘Desperation Is The English Way Vol. 1’ debut is a dark-hearted, brooding beast indeed – but whatever fuels their rage, they’re not shy to vent it live. The likes of ‘You’ll Never Dream’ are shot through with the kind of grit and determination that saw Andy Dufresne through to the end of that 500-yard sewage tunnel in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, and though their precise, Helmet-esque metallic attack falls on all too few ears, it’s a fine start to an evening that can only get louder and ever more chaotic.

A case in point: Feed The Rhino, who provide a lesson in how to utterly dominate a stage. The guitarists lurch around like a hardcore tag-team, whilst Lee Tobin is a larger than life frontman, less likely to exhort the crowd to greater efforts than to jump in and show them how it’s done. Oh, and they sound amazing – punishingly heavy, yet also anthemic, and with some killer grooves to boot. The closing ‘The Butcher’ heralds a wall of death worthy of a headline act, and amidst the ruckus, you can’t help but wonder if you’re witnessing the start of something big for Feed The Rhino.

All that remains is for Gallows to take any lingering ‘new guy on vocals’ doubts and smash them into dust before our eyes. Back in their natural environment – with no barriers getting in the way – that glorious sense of chaos is there from the off, with guitarist Lags and bassist Stu frequently to be seen rocking out in (or on top of) the maelstrom of a pit, and a steady stream of stagedivers eager to help out on backing vocals.

The new self-titled record is rightfully given a good airing, with ‘Depravers’, ‘Outsider Art’ and ‘Everybody Loves You…’ among the best things this band have ever done. Throughout, Wade cuts an imposing figure; having not only brought his own brand of fury to the Gallows table, but also – like the audience – taking his band’s older songs of discontent and doomed romance in as his own, and then blasting them out again with complete conviction.

‘Abandon Ship’? Tonight, they damn well torch the fucker, and make sushi out of the shark’s belly into the bargain. Gallows 2012, then – still as visceral as ever and, more importantly, still a band to believe in.

Words: Alex Gosman

White Lung

WHITE LUNG
‘Sorry’

(Deranged)

‘Sorry’? Don’t make me laugh. Judging by this record (the band’s second), Vancouver quartet White Lung aren’t afraid to hurt your feelings and their raw, blistering punk rock attack will rub salt into your wounded heart. Strangely enough, you’ll thank them.

Belting through ten songs in less than 20 minutes, the pace is Ramones-relentless, but they never sound less than convincing. Vocalist Mish Way could match most typical punk screamers for power, but her piercing howl has the clarity and melodic edge that lingers long in the memory after Sorry has run its course. Guitarist Kenneth William is no slouch either, whether scratching out a brittle melodic line on ‘Bag’, an ace spidery riff on ‘The Bad Way’ or unleashing bursts of screeching sonic warfare on ‘Those Girls’.

The overall impression is of a mix of early 90s alt-rock and riot grrl (Mish Way is a self-confessed Courtney Love devotee) fed through an 80s hardcore blender; the end result being as addictive and uncompromising as you could hope for. Granted, they’re not offering up anything particularly new, but they certainly infuse these old sounds with fresh rage and vitality. Check them out – you won’t be sorry either.

Words: Alex Gosman

Refused live at London Forum

Refused,
London Forum
12/8/12

RefusedFinally, ‘The Gig That Would Never Happen’ has arrived. It’s hard to imagine how the Swedish quintet could have emphasised their (arguably premature) demise more strongly than recording a song called ‘Refused Are Fucking Dead’, but it’s amazing what time can heal. Fourteen years later, they’re back, and after incendiary performances at Coachella, Groezrock and Download festivals (amongst others), Dennis Lyxzen’s crew are back in London to play to far many more people than they did in their original incarnation.

London quartet Pettybone are powerful and bleak as hell, and certainly don’t sound like a band on the verge of splitting up. They deserve all the attention they get, but ultimately the crowd are here for one band only.

It’s inevitable that Refused’s set leans heavily on their classic ‘The Shape Of Punk To Come…’ record, but it’s surprising how fresh and relevant these songs sound after all this time; the stop-start riffs of the opening ‘Worms Of The Senses…’ whipping the floor into a frenzy.

The band sound and look fantastic, and set against a simple backdrop with good use of lighting, they’re more than happy to let the songs do the talking. By the time Lyxzen has crouched on an upturned monitor for ‘I’d Rather Be Dead’ and clambered up the Forum’s side staircase for ‘Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine’, the energy levels have gone through the roof – and remain there.

It is, of course, an encore airing of their signature track ‘New Noise’ which truly unites all present, and gives the Forum’s foundations a serious test in the process. Refused are a band who’ve frequently had the ‘legendary’ tag thrown at them in the last decade and a half, and tonight, they more than justify it.

Alex Gosman