FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
Winter gigs are bastards sometimes and with my chest sore, coughing away and the old noggin aching the last thing I needed was a long haul in the cold to attend a gig. Hey ho, it was booked well in advance, it was a Fungalpunk show and so, what choice did I have? Needs must and we set off down the motorway for a 1 hour 30 minute drive with plenty of snacks and hopes high of a good evening of noise. A band had pulled out at the last minute (get well soon), the usual gig clashes had arisen and as per we were relying on the fickle nature of the punters. Even so my head was steady and no matter what I was determined to enjoy the night. Whilst en route we 3 travellers listened to a retro episode of Fear on Four, a tale of a man sent insane by voices in the head, highly recommended stuff this and the 25th tale out of 48 was as good and spine-tingling as ever.
As is usually the case, what starts out is never usually what ends up - hey ho
Arriving at the gaff in good time we parked up, went to the local shops for some cake and headed into the venue to await the bands and faces. The trickle was slow, hey ho here we go, pass me the painkillers. Wagging jaws, only one beer, a wait for the first band to arrive (calm down Jacko lad) and no sooner had they popped through the door than they were thrown on and at it.
Hailing from Tasmania, Australia Fatty Esther were in this country and were in need of gigs. Having none booked I, in pure DIY spirit, threw them on this and after the performance was darn well glad that I did. They drilled straight in with a nailing riff that started a swift opener built on good zipping chords and zoned in effort. Following on was a harder stroked sausage of sound that ejaculated a meaner streak and maintained a heavyweight credibility. To complete the opening hat-trick a hot roasted number was coughed up and given a slow muscular massage thus creating an opening montage of songs that subtly covered many acoustic areas. The band looked comfortable in each others cacophonic company and a new song they chucked in was particularly noteworthy in its aggression and pushing drive. The variation in tempo and tonal temperament as well as the melodic magnetism propelled all displayed a well rehearsed robustness and with the characteristics and nuances of the songs, obviously borne from well dunked scene heads, this was a good set to behold. 'Ring Of Fire' was a decent cover but was outshone by the chasing speed blow-out which remained unmarred despite the bass lead coming loose - a job well done methinks.
A stretch of the aching carcass and the to The Leech Bleeders, a local act who had obviously brought a few in with em' and had a good old many peepers looking their way. This was warped and wired up glass cutting action with a flushing delivery had via much twatting and triumphing tonage. Turbulent lunacy was shit split amid a turmoil of tremendous crash, bangs and wallops with the tendency to keep towards the hardcore end of the spectrum being noted as well as the thirsty desire to maintain a raging rapidity with saltings of fun. This was a good eclectic mix of spare part sonica however and the cocktail of sounds served in many cracked melodic mugs were sloshed up and spilled with invigorating gusto. The end taste one would expect to be orally puzzling on the evidence given, not so, the bands winning elements of drive, animation and sphincter splitting thrutches made this a hefty set to applaud - watch out chaps, we shall hopefully get you a gig or two elsewhere!
The Crash Mats or, the cannabis infused deviants from Oldham came next and delivered the rag bag of rhythm that throws in several frayed edge components all mangled with a distinct DIY, fuck it and see naturalness. I like this lot, they have a tendency to slip from high to low and back up to high again with a mere flick of the high inducing hash rag. The snaky tones of 'Pablo' moved in first, bass wanked off, string on guitar snapped - result was a disaster. A re-run was pondered but it was straight into the number regarding Ric Flair, the oily looking wrestler with a grip and grapple for only the most perverse enthusiasts. Not bad but for me, a real moment that stood out and may be the future of this band was the neatly shadowed 60's instrumental that was a choice era driven classic floated on cushy vibes and flickering monochrome suggestions. I really thought this was a very articulate and bulls-eyed number and do wonder what the band would be like if they delved a little more into a retro garaged lo-fi quagmire. Moving on and a ditty about legalising grass was a slow smoked chaser with tetchy but soothing fumes flowing through, what was, a primarily a bass dictated routine. Great movement but a tune I suspect that leaves the more routine spunkers flaccid. 'Rat Faced' was a foot tapping winner that kicked itself along on many confident angles and shuffling sidewinds with any hint of professionalism molested by the filth of the following ditty regarding fat vinegar smelling bints get digitised around the back of a supermarket - need I go into detail. The closure came with 'Get Me Off This Ride', an old fave that ascends and descends in tonality and is egged along by enthused lung bursts - what do you expect? Not a bad do chaps and the Crash Mats just re-enforce the fact that what you see is what you get, warts and all.
Born To Destruct next, a bunch of long term users and abusers of Fungal gigs (well not so much of either to be honest) with their fair and honest sound that has gradually caught an upswing over the years and now become a solid set of similar sounding tunes that sit right with the many. Over the years I have witnessed the good on many occasions, the bad on a handful and of course the ugly every time they play. One thing that can always be said of this lot is that they take the praise, swallow the criticism all in their hefty stride and get up and do it in their own refined way. Tonight was a very organised set that was loaded with songs awash with beneficial aural vitamins. The bass provides the suppleness and a certain undercurrent of liquidity that compliments the double handed guitar offerings that fuzz and buzz and pump the noise around the onlooker’s nervous networks. Drums still remain a regulated force and are the reliable heartbeat in the melee but I still demand that they are given some whizzed advice and forced to palpitate a little more so as to get the players working even harder. They uphold the skeletal structure well though and help each song fit in to the end jiggery jigsaw with ease. You know what you will get with the BTD gits, like it or lump it!
Finally to Obnoxious UK, a band I first put on in Halifax on the 26th April 2008 - oooh how time ticks on. In the interim they have played for me again, joined the ranks of the well respected bands out there and managed to get a record deal and keep a fair momentum going. They have several releases to their name and an album in the pipeline and all this backed up by tonights impressively sturdy showpiece that will no doubt keep them going in the right direction. They have a whole host of decent songs in their repertoire and call upon the old and the new when splashing the onlookers with the reliable shittery. Tonight was a set that ploughed out many 'in the know' classics with 'Amelia', Ginger Was A Werewolf' and the closing 'Cottage Strangler' all lapped up and nodded along to. The sound wasn't playing ball with the band and somewhat took the end sheen off but this was still a hard fought and rewarding effort with a cover of 'Warhead' bastardised and given the OUK treatment in adequate style, with Kimbo off his string duty and going it alone on the gob (good to see sir). If I was looking for flaws in this output I would be hard pushed, if I was looking to offer critical advice then that would be to add one or two songs that see the band posture, pose and collide and clash as players a little more - but that is just me squeezing hard and if truth be known they'll do alright as they are for a good while yet (no good getting lackadaisical though). So with a nice crowd in to see the headliners the show came to an end and after farewells and 'see you soons' I, and my two good lasses, buggered off into the foggy night with lidded eyes, empty guts and ringing lugholes - ooh the things one has to do for the DIY ethos.Cheers to all the tribesmen that came down, the artistes that got involved and the gaff for allowing the chance to spread the shit. It may be a long time before we are back (wandering is what we do) but keep it real darn there and never give in!
Review by Fungalpunk/OMD (8 Februray 2015)