Turbowolf/Beasts/Loom - Birmingham, O2 Academy 2 - 28th October 2015 Print E-mail
Written by Rich Hobson   
Tuesday, 10 November 2015 04:00

Turbowolf

 

Oosh. Just a glance at the title of this review gives a bit of an indication (at least, to any who know me) of how excited I was for the opportunity to see Turbowolf live properly (having half watched the band previously at Camden Rocks whilst bemoaning the loss of my wallet and ID and the terrible organisation of that festival, and thus kinda missing the magic). I’m willing to even risk the drudgery of the O2 Academy for the chance to see the band who have released one of the coolest and most interesting albums of the year. It’s with no love that I regard the “new” Academy (new in as much as it isn’t the same building as the old Carling Academy, which shut in 2009 and had a brief resurrection as the Ballroom before that too shut in 2012) which has all the ambience of a new-build hospital and the acoustics of an X-Factor show, terrible enough to hamper even the likes of Black Sabbath (who played a reunion show here in 2012 which was then greatly overshadowed by every single show they have played subsequently) and Soundgarden (whose acoustics were so bad Kim Thayil flung his guitar into the audience). Still, I must concede that I’ve seen good bands here too; most notably a Happy Mondays show a couple of years back, and the utterly incredible Extreme ‘Pornografitti’ show last year, and thus it was that I headed out in the hopes that tonight would be a redeeming show for the venue, and something to suggest that my local gig calendar isn’t going to take a massive blow when the Wolverhampton Civic shuts in December.

 

The first gig I’ve attended in aeons in the smaller Academy room, it’s with some considerable joy that I can report that the god-awful acoustics are more or less totally confined to the larger room and that the acoustics and sound were as top notch as can be hoped for. Arriving at a time that could at best be described as “fashionably late” (and at worst as “fucking traffic” late), we make it in early on into opener Loom’s set. Stepping into the room there’s one hell of an atmosphere already, and at first I almost enter a state of enragement at the crowd, congregated as they are behind the sound desk and bar as far from the band onstage as can possibly be, before realising that this is actually a result of the imposing presence the band cast out into the venue. Never has a name suited a band so well as with Loom, as vocalist Tarik Badwan spends most of the show out on the dancefloor area, prowling like a Tiger as the band hammer out a set of thunderously enjoyable tunes which fire out as something of a cross between the moody angst of Joy Division and the pure punked up fury of Nirvana, settling nicely as a band most definitely to watch.

 

Speaking of bands to watch, it was with some excitement I saw that Beasts were playing the evening, mistakenly figuring it a brazen (and somewhat fittingly bizarre) move on Turbowolf’s part to put a Noisy-as-Fuck, Newport Hardcore Punk act on. It’s with a little sadness that when the actual Beasts come on I realise this is not the band behind Tanz Der Teufel, but instead what I get is a band easily equal to their eponymous counterpart in terms of musical enjoyability and songwriting chops, albeit accomplished in an entirely different field of rock ‘n’ roll. Fuzzed up and with twisting grooves which hint at a psychedelic trip across space and time (with an incidental landing in the ‘70s). The UK is currently enjoying a pretty prolific line of fuzzed up Grunge sounding bands which take the original flame ignited by Soundgarden and co and fling a few extra influences in the mix so there are hints of Psychedelia, Punk and Metal all fused into one package, the true “Post-Grunge” genre if ever there was one, and a genre which I am more than happy to follow with gleeful abandon. Beasts are another entry into this genre, and a very worthy one at that, joining the ranks of God Damn, LTNT, Table Scraps and Hyena (etc. etc. etc.) as a part of a wave of fuzz ready to smash their way through the music industry.

 

Turbowolf-2015-Tour-Poster

 

And then, it’s time for the big kahunas themselves. As previously stated, Turbowolf’s ‘Two Hands’ is most definitely one of the coolest albums of 2015, and since getting turned onto it by our very own Gaz E (you can read his review HERE) it’s a record which hasn’t strayed far from my ears with epicly mental tracks like ‘Rabbit’s Foot’, ‘American Mirrors’ and ‘Solid Gold’ popping into the brain repeatedly thanks to their decidedly addictive choruses and cool as hell riffs, also helped in no small part by a distinctive and eccentric visual style on each music video the band have released. Visual presentation is a big part of Turbowolf’s live show and tonight the band’s onstage presence is almost a perfect representation of the band; one half stand in glittering almost schlocky jackets which dazzle the eye, whilst the other half stand in standard rock ‘n’ roll paraphernalia; the contrast is a perfect summary of the band, who mix styles diverse as Prog and Thrash, fuzzy ‘70s rock with Electronica and New Wave-ish rhythms, at times sounding like every band in the ‘70s crashing into each other at high speeds, with some added Hardcore Punk thrown in for good measure. Knowing only one album by the band is both a blessing and a curse tonight, with my joy and excitement of hearing the fantastic tracks from ‘Two Hands’ tempered only by the delight of hearing the bat-shit insane tracks from the band’s first album for the first time ever, tracks which fly thick and fast with an astounding amount of furious energy, perfectly setting the tone with the bouncy frantic riffing of opener ‘Ancient Snake’ as the band hit the stage like a hurricane on meth.

 

Vocalist Chris Georgiadis cuts an impressive figure onstage, like a rock ‘n’ roll ringleader of the world’s most sonically acrobatic circus. Leading his group of ne’er do wells through renditions of tunes new and old he addresses the crowd with a theatrical bent and has them hanging on his every word. Playing to a fully packed room this evening, Turbowolf’s refusal to stick to one style or sound has clearly paid off big time, earning them rapturous applause and all manner of crowd-frenzy, voices roaring along gleefully as they play through the likes of ‘Rabbits Foot’, ‘Nine Lives’ and’ Good Hand’, the latter of which has the kind of leaping riff which has made the band so powerfully addictive, like a Broadway show tune with more helpings of bull-sized balls than an industrial sized vat of red bull. ‘Read & Write’ is a sonic blend of Fu Manchu-like riffing, Doors-esque keyboards and Georgiadis’ entirely unique vocal all contributing to a song which by all accounts could crash through entire continents, a typically madcap yet uniquely catchy song for the audience to sink cities to, which is suitable as after a follow up one-two of ‘A Rose For Crows’ and ‘Things Can Be Good Again’, sinking cities seems to be about the most straightforward course of action to hand.

 

The Turbowolf of 2015 can do no wrong, boasting an utterly frantic live show that grabs the brain and sends it screaming into aural anarchy, and a record which could very well be too damn cool to be hip, this is a band very much in their element in the art of sending the whole world spiralling into their brand of madness. If you set time out for one band to see in 2016, let it be these as you should most definitely see them in the smallest possible venues while you can for maximum effect, as judging by the large crowd of this evening and the fervour for which they are received, Turbowolf are well on the way to crushing the current wave of sleazy “but we’ve got a heart of gold really” stadium rock bands that we currently suffer. If Dinosaurs must die, Turbowolf are the band that’ll lead the hunt.

 

Set List

 

Ancient Snake

Rabbit’s Foot

Seven Severed Heads

Good Hand

Nine Lives

Read & Write

A Rose For The Crows

Things Could Be Good Again

American Mirrors

Rich Gift

Solid Gold

Let’s Die

The Big Cut

 

To pick up your copy of 'Two Hands' - CLICK HERE