Hereford Dead presents: Vision Quest, Fetus Christ, New Cowboy Builders, Black Boxes, and Brunel: Booth Hall, Tuesday 18th October
“There was something of The Fall in there. The uncompromising angularity of the guitar and perhaps the vocal delivery too, which despite not being Mancunian, has a certain confident disarray of inflection.”
I’m probably not the right person to write this article. I saw a tshirt with a Nirvana smiley that had been changed into a drugged out cat and asked what it said. It said ’52Hz’ which is a name of a band apparently. I don’t know any new rock bands. I listen mostly to folk music now. This evening I’ve been listening to the new Leonard Cohen album (R.I.P). I used to listen to louder music a lot, but any of my frames of reference predate 1999, when I used to hear Steve Lamacq before the John Peel show and buy alternative CDs from Magpie and go to punk nights at the Jailhouse. Now I listen to Radio 6, which despite any cool credentials it seems to have acquired, is about as challenging as magnolia on the whole. The paint, not the film.
The other reason I’m not the right person to write this article is I wasn’t even there for half of it. By the time I got through the door Fetus Christ had finished playing, and I totally missed Vision Quest because I was stuffing myself with a beef burger that had macaroni cheese in it at The Beefy Boys. You might not believe it but I had been looking forward to this night for about a month. I’ve seen Fetus Christ before a number of times, and their energy and intensity drags me out of my mental quicksand like a well-aimed branch handed by an unusually angry man without a shirt on. It’s visceral and authentic.
Black Boxes are always a treat too; the parrot-worrying scalliwags know their way round an alt-rock riff. That’s the other thing. Genre. I talked to Matt, guitarist from Black Boxes about the references I had for New Cowboy Builders. There was something of The Fall in there. The uncompromising angularity of the guitar and perhaps the vocal delivery too, which despite not being Mancunian, has a certain confident disarray of inflection. A bit of Fugazi too. Matt agreed on those influences being valid and added the Melvins, which I half thought having you tubed them once. He said the Stooges were an influence on Black Boxes too, the whole garage thing. Some of these influences seem not to age. Perennial tributaries to the river of rock. He also struggled to put the group in a specific genre, but said they are post-something. Maybe post-hardcore? Is post-garage a thing? Does genre matter or is it just crap made up by journalists? It gives you something to define a band, which in a way is helpful.
Grace asked on Facebook what sort of music it was. I replied “various shades of loud and good”, which is enough information probably. These bands are great. Really inspiring, rousing, engaging music that shakes the ennui away. When I got to The Booth Hall I saw Michelle, who was pleased with an article I wrote for Hereford City Centric and Slap Mag. She said I should write something again. I thought as I’d missed half of it there was no point, but she said she wanted experiential articles rather than music journo type reviews telling you about wiry, frenetic buildups and walls of noise. Is anyone interested in the observation that two of the bands had false endings on their songs? Or that I admired the elegance of Black Boxes rallentando al fine* at their showstopping climax?
So here’s my review of the ambience. It was a good vibe there. Weirdly chilled and relaxed, considering I walked in to a building where the screaming could be heard down the road. Somewhat testosterone fuelled perhaps. We met Bizzy there who enjoyed the gig as well but commented that there were perhaps 6 girls present at an event that was quite well attended. There were maybe fifty people there at its peak? Maybe rock and roll is mostly for men. Ladies turn up and represent! It had apparently been much quieter earlier. Maybe my review is more authentic for life getting in the way and me not being there from the start with a notepad like the nerd I am.
After the aforementioned rallentando I suddenly realised I had left my car in the Waitrose car park and wondered when it closed. Some techie suggested googling it so I did. It said 11. It was three minutes to. So me and Liam sprinted off through town with occasional lung breaks walking until we got to the lift, and asked the women when it shut and they said they were open all night, but I’d said I’d drop Liam home anyway because he was the only one who had work in the morning.
I got back part way through Brunel’s blistering^ set. The bands I saw were all tight as fuck. It might be weird to call Vision Quest tight since they use drone and noise quite a lot and that’s like calling a black hole tight, which it might be in its middle but it’s also quite expansive and amorphous. They’re playing a two and a half hour set some point which sounds like a fantastic endurance test for everyone involved that will probably lead the listeners in the general direction of enlightenment.
New Cowboy Builders played well and despite a strong concern that everyone got a good night’s sleep played an extra long set finishing with an artfully composed feedback mêlée. People still wanted more though, but the guitarist had broken a string and they had run out of songs. He asked if anyone had work in the morning. When nobody replied he asked what we were all doing with our lives. Everyone sort of trickled out into the beer garden and I went home to write much of this on a dying phone while I could still remember anything.
What I can remember is the moral of the story: if you can see five bands for four quid with a load of your mates on a school night, do. And the other moral: anyone with enthusiasm for music and a handful of thoughts is qualified to write a gig review. *
Slow down to finish ^ a fun game to play with gig reviews is ‘spot the music journo cliché adjectives’. You underline them in red and count them up and write the score at the top. The person with the most, wins.
Article and Photography (Gifs) Written by Omar Majeed who is a writer, poet and musician.
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