Review by Omar Majeed – Onlooker at The Underground Revolution, Bohemian Artiste Extraordinaire, Film Maker and Creator of Gravity Zine
Hereford City Centric put on quite a night last night by means of their their music promotion entity The Underground Revolution. The Booth Hall is steadily becoming a key venue for seeing live alternative music. There was some concern around rumours that Dave Savager, the drummer from arty Ledbury post-punk/psyche band Pablo Alto was in the grip of a fortnight long fever and wouldn’t be playing, but the three of them took to the stage and performed a set of melodious and atmospheric music led by John Rose’s spacey effects-laden guitar, and supported by Tessa Frith’s reliable bass backing.
Dave clearly had his strength back as he nimbly banged the drums. As a three-piece band they seem to have enlisted a couple of invisible members; the sound is more than the sum of their parts and they really meld to make a delicious and intoxicating sonic soup. Joy Division are clearly a big influence; the cover of Insight was at once faithful, but somehow less alienating than the original, focusing more on the otherworldliness.
The influence extended into some of their original material, particularly ‘Space Cats’, which got a whoop from the crowd for the title alone. But the psychedelic influences are equally important in the mix.
A HUNDRED SUNS
“At some point something I’d never seen before happened: a human pyramid formed on the dance floor”
A Hundred Suns are not a band for wallflowers. On the way to the gig my friend asked me if the music in the car was Belle and Sebastian, and I have a tendency to enjoy things you can stand back and get lost in rather than mosh to. They describe their sound as either Hard Rock or Heavy Rock, and I don’t know enough about these genres to really distinguish the difference, but it involves grinding riffs, catchy melodies and impassioned singing.
Even while inhibited they were clearly a band that knew what they were doing; the charismatically performed and adept vocal stylings of frontwoman Claire Perkins were supported effortlessly by Richard Gardner on guitar, Stephen Bennet on drums and James Whitehurst on bass. The song ‘Bread’ stood out as reminiscent of something off Crass’ Penis Envy.
These guys really know their instruments and as the loud set progressed, Richard let out some impressive shredding. I was talking to Dave from Pablo Alto about the downside of not drinking when listening to this kind of music. There was a crowd of people head-banging at the front and having a whale of a time. He said we didn’t need to drink to be disinhibited, and we went and joined in the mosh pit.
Once you let go you can really appreciate the band’s energy and dynamism. At some point something I’d never seen before happened: a human pyramid formed on the dance floor.
Watch a clip of A Hundred Suns Performance from the night on Facebook courtesy of the Booth Hall HERE
Teddy’s Leg took the headline slot, and played unrelenting bursts of brattish hardcore to energizing effect. Robin Scott-Wilson led the band of angry merry men with his shoes off, wailing confidently alongside thrashed chords, and simple but catchy and effective riffs that got people moving and acted as a conduit for their at times political message.
Someone let out an amiable heckle of “why are the gaps longer than the songs”, and it amused me for such abrasive and aggressive music that when talking to each other onstage they were unexpectedly polite. Nice guys get angry too it seems. It was a great set, and if my appraisal is a little short it’s because I was having too much fun dancing with someone I hadn’t seen for a long time to formulate sound-bytes for the write up later.
That I was carried away in this music should be more recommendation than any flurry of enthusiastic adjectives that describe and try and define this chaotic and brilliant music. When the gig ended we sat outside with the energy and thrill of the evening still buoying us up, and a conversation began about what a “frozen teddy’s leg” is. It’s best not to ask.
Featured Image by Nick Vidal-Hall; House Photographer for The Booth Hall
Watch Teddy’s Leg video ‘No Prejudice Here, this is Herefordshire’ Possibly the new theme song for Herefordshire. What do you think?