Grant Hart live at the Water Rats, London

Grant Hart
w/ Thirty Six Strategies
June 18, 2013
Water Rats, London

Ph: Steve Cotton

Grant Hart

Considering Thirty Six Strategies’ brand of melodic rock pays a healthy respect to the generation of eighties US punks that spawned bands such as Dag Nasty and Husker Du, they must be pretty chuffed to be sharing a stage with the legend that is Grant Hart. And with less than five shows under their belts, their confidence is impressive but understandable because between them they feature ex-members of UK bands such as Shutdown, Decadence Within and Stamping Ground, so it’s no surprise they know their chops. Their first release is due soon on Boss Tuneage Records – check it out.

Grant Hart last played Water Rats back in December of 2011 to an audience far smaller then he deserves – this is a man who wrote some of the greatest songs to ever come out of the fertile US eighties musical underground, but his life took a very different path to that of his once song writing partner Bob Mould, who achieved enormous success in the wake of the post Nirvana underground music explosion with his band Sugar. The path that Grant took is written all over his face, but he’s survived and lived to tell the tale – stories that are contained within all of his songs.

His last set here back in 2011 was played solo, just Grant and his songs – fragile and brittle and amazing. Tonight, however, he returns with a new band, a record deal with Domino and a new album due in August. The first thing you notice as Grant and his band take the stage is just how young his supporting (Irish) musicians are. From the slightly panicked look on their faces, they’ve not played many gigs together but as the set builds and Grant leads the band through a selection of tracks from the forthcoming double album ‘The Argument’, they begin to sound more confident with each passing song. And by the time they roar through a majestic ‘She Floated Away’ – possibly the best song on the last Husker Du album ‘Warehouse Songs…’, the band hit their stride and provide simple but powerful backing to Hart’s distinctive songs. ‘Is The Sky The Limit’ is a highlight from the new album, but it’s the Husker Du songs that obviously command the biggest response and when Grant returns alone to run through acoustic versions of ‘Flexible Flyer’, ‘Never Talking To You Again’ and ‘The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill’ you know you are in the presence of a genius song-writer.

Grant Hart is the real deal, operating outside of the mainstream – an outsider with cult appeal that hopefully will finally start to get the recognition he deserves.

James Sherry

Danzig live at the Relentless Garage

danzig_doyle_london_misfitsThere were only two ways tonight could have gone: horribly awful or brilliantly spectacular. Luckily for the black leather jacket-wearing crowd it was the latter.

Most bands on their 25 Year Anniversary tours seem to lack in charisma, energy and passion but this was not the case for Danzig tonight. As soon as the 5ft 4″ King of Darkness walked on-stage, there was undoubtedly a sense of worship from all spectators present as this set was for the fans and only made up of requests.

“Do you want to hear songs from Danzig I or II?” said the Misfits legend. Goths, Punks, Metallers and psycho-billies united for an alternative hit-filled evening and called out their choices.

Playing a set consisting of Her Black Wings, Am I Demon? Twist Of Cain, She Rides, Long Way Back From Hell to name a few, Danzig and his band even threw in a few songs from III & IV. If that wasn’t enough, he then welcomed Doyle to the stage to play a full blown Misfits set. Doyle comes out like a T-Rex looking for his prey and completely dominates. Danzig and Doyle are then thrown back right where they belong, together. Changing his guitar after every song due the breakage of strings, it was Punk Rock as it’s meant to be: dark, heavy and nihilistic. At this point, fans are loosing their shit as they thrash through a set of classics that include ‘Vampira’, ‘London Dungeon’, ‘Last Caress’, ‘Skulls’ and ‘Die, Die My Darling’. Venue meltdown.

The rest of the band are completely overshadowed by Danzig and Doyle, but tonight was only ever going to be the Danzig and Doyle show, and rightly so. This is the only way to see the Misfits, not the cheap imitations that came after Danzig departed.

As they exit the stage, the crowd are chanting “We are 138, We are 138!”. They encore ‘Mother’, but the crowd are still chanting “We are 138” until Doyle returns to the stage and they give the crowd what they want. The entire audience erupts as they knew it was going to be the last time to dance. You could barely hear Danzig’s voice from everyone in the room singing along. It was a truly magnificent moment!

If there’s one anniversary show you have to go and see this year, make sure it’s Danzig’s. The dark king has returned and he is showing no mercy.

Lianna Davies

Fist City / Cousins – Shacklewell Arms

Fist City / Cousins
Shacklewell Arms
16.05.2013

keir-fistcity

Canadian bands have always delivered great underground punk music, from the recent slamming sounds of Fucked Up through to the old guard of SNFU and DOA, they just seem have a knack of digging out some classic stuff and bringing something beautiful to the scene.

Last night, Alberta rippers Fist City rolled into town for their debut London show over East and delivered an absolute treat to the lucky few who witnessed their balls-out, garage fueled surf attack. From the opening track ‘Endless Bummer‘ to their epic version of Devo’s ‘Uncontrollable Urge’, (video below) the quartet packed massive amounts energetic punk into their 30 minute set and blew the roof off.

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Fronted by Keir Griffiths on guitar and vocals, Fist City’s overall sound is trashy, powerful and underlined with a surf twang that invites a feel good factor on par with the best of them. We are talking the cheekiness of the Black Lips and Fidlar, riffs that would rival Rites of Spring, all delivered with a confident presence that brings their live work directly into your face.

This is not a band that plays a show and doesn’t get involved. These guys shake and move to the banging sound of Ryan Grieve’s pounding drums. Griffiths threw his guitar onto the stage and then threw himself into the audience, pulsating and gyrating like a woman on fire in a sandpit. His mic was hurled into the open jaws of the lucky few watching, whilst bassist Lindsay Munro and guitarist Evan Van Reekum kept the rolling pace flowing from the stage. Born a girl and now a man following gender reassignment, Keir stomped the shit out of every inch of space between those surrounding walls and left the onlookers in awe.

This band are special and they don’t come around that often, so look out for them on your travels and pick up their album ‘It’s 1983, Grow Up‘ whilst there’s still vinyl available.

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Headliners Cousins followed this carnage well and put on a good show. They hail from Halifax made up of guitarist/singer Aaron Mangle and drummer Leigh Dotey. The duo play rock and roll at each other with thunderous riffage. Their stripped down presence hails a sound as loud and as finely perfected to any four piece. Dotey’s rolling drum assault does a grand job of keeping Mangle’s deep garage swagger fulfilled and made this evening one of the most enjoyable this year.

Both bands are playing at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton this weekend alongside a bunch of other fine Canadian acts down there. If you find yourself on the beach, do yourself a favour and seek these two out.

Zac

fistcity_keir

fistcity_london2

Refused to play 2 UK shows in August

Swedish hardcore band Refused stole the show at Download festiival this weekend and announced that they will play UK gigs this August in London (12th) and Manchester (14th). Talking about the trip ahead, Refused say: “The Queen just had her Jubilee, Download’s happening this weekend and now we’re extremely happy to announce that we will be playing a couple of club shows in the UK in August. London and Manchester be ready. WE ARE NOT FUCKING DEAD.”

Tickets will be available next week.

Evidence to play London’s Jazz Cafe on July 2nd

Evidence will be heading to Europe this summer for shows which also includes a London date at the Jazz Cafe in Camden on July 2nd. The once rapper of Dilated People’s now on Rhymesayers entertainment dropped his album Cats and Dogs last year which had our thumbs up in here.

Read the review, watch the video for the track Liner Notes below featuring Aloe Blacc. Get those tickets quick.

EUROPEAN TOUR DATES

19 June // Mylos // Thessalonki, Greece
20 June // Gargarin // Athens, Greece
21 June // L’Orso Cattivo // Gambieri Settingiano (Cosenza), Italy
22 June // Bosco di Galu // Giugliano in Campania (Naples), Italy
23 June // Touch The Air Festival // Wohlen, Switzerland
25 June // Bizzerzoet // Amsterdam, Netherlands
26 June // La Maroquinerie // Paris, France
27 June // Bazaar // Brussels, Belgium
29 June //High5 Club // Duisburg, Germany
30 June // Peace and Love Festival //Borlange, Sweden
2 July // Jazz Cafe // London, UK
6 July // Roskilde Festival // Roskilde, Denmark

Evidence (Dilated Peoples) EU tour

Deathgrips UK live dates & Known For It video

Deathgrips are heading to the UK this month and you should not miss this as this project has been one of the most anticipated for a while. Check the dates and the new video for Known For It. Contender for new artist of the year here in the end of year polls for sure.

Sept 25 London(ATP presents)@XOYO
Sept 27-Manchester@ Islington Mill
Sept 28-Leeds(VICE presents) @Nation of Shopkeepers
Sept 29-Glasgow@ Captain’s Rest

Black Breath – live

The Borderline, London.
July 14th 2011

black_breathOne of Crossfire’s favourite records of 2010 was Black Breath’s undeniable, thrash and hardcore hybrid Heavy Breathing. Having signed to Southern Lord for the release (who can count the likes of Boris, Nails, Earth and Saint Vitus among their roster) the band received wide acclaim for the record, and return to the UK this month for its final hurrah before putting the finishing touches to their next album. Having missed the band at The Borderline last November when they clashed with Touche Amore across town, Black Breath return to the same venue eight months later off the back of a winning appearance at Sonisphere festival.

The band is on top form as they rip through the likes of ‘Black Sin (Spit on the Cross)’ and ‘Escape from Death’ at a frantic pace, so much so that the drummer carries a worried expression on his face as though the whole thing could collapse at any moment. In truth, though, there’s no danger of that, as the band’s rhythm section demonstrate near mechanical levels of control, laying the foundations for searing lines of tremolo picked lead guitar. Their sound is powerful like the best heavy metal bands, but it’s also their directness that stems from hardcore influences that makes them such an intense listen, even more so in a live context.

Two new songs are played from their forthcoming album (due in early 2012, supposedly) which are met with the same enthusiasm as old favourites ‘Eat the Witch’ and ‘I Am Beyond’. The strength of these new songs suggests the band is set to produce a worthy a follow up to ‘Heavy Breathing’, which in itself is a truly mouth watering prospect.

Sleekly Lion