|The Guns - Newport, Six Feet Under - 29th October 2011|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Sunday, 06 November 2011 05:00|
Saturday night in the once sprawling metropolis of Newport, a place that nowadays looks quieter on the weekend than a Myspace band page, and tucked away at the bottom of the city's legendary Stow Hill lies a subterranean venue by the name of Six Feet Under that's playing host to five of the best young band's £6 can buy you. With the Uber Rock logo emblazoned across tonight's posters and the words "Fancy Dress Optional" daring you to make an effort, you could rest assured that whatever lay ahead of you as you paid your entrance money, you were in for a night of absolute top quality action.
So what was the special occasion? Well apart from this being the weekend before Halloween and a chance for every man and his (monster) dog to become children again, tonight was also the launch night for The Guns all new single 'Missing Girls'. Yeah that's right The Guns are back on Uber Rock once again and they'll continue to be until the world wakes up to one of the UK's best-kept musical secrets. You got a problem with that?
So with Super Mario to the left of me, his brother Luigi to my right and a whole host of twisted yet very beautiful creatures dotted around a modestly full dance floor for what was still very early in the evening when taking into consideration this is a night club, it was left to Gwent pop punkers Hot Damn to get proceedings underway. Fusing the Ant and Dec duel vocal approach that lots of new school bands utilise with an uptempo spiky brand of rock edging perhaps more on the pop than the punky side of the fence, Hot Damn are a whirlwind of energy that actually had me scribbling "Gallows" on my crib notes, but that was more to do with the band's tireless frontman than their musical direction, rest assured I hadn't gone deaf...not yet anyway. With the aforementioned pixelated dungaree wearing brothers going crazy ape bonkers by the time the band's short set was nearing completion, Hot Damn were certainly a short sharp shock to the system and just what was needed to get proceedings underway.
Not letting the momentum drop for one nano second the five piece metal troop referred to in hushed tones, as The Dead Wretched really are a frightening experience up close. Perhaps a bit more death metal sounding in the live arena than the stuff I'd heard previous to tonight's show, the guys made one hell of a racket and soon had the growing crowd nodding along to their unrelenting staccato rifferama. However when you've got a bare footed singer screaming his heart out right into your face what else are you supposed to do? 'Anchors' the lead track on the band's soundcloud page is a modern day metal anthem that places these boys who once had problems with their x ray eyes, right smack bang in the land of the incredible melting men, it is the sound of a band growing up the hard way. The Dead Wretched take great pleasure in destroying venues with their brutal onslaught of heavy metal; question is which promoter will be brave enough to book them next?
With the preceding bands sort of dipping their toes into the icy waters of fancy dress, it took musical mentalists Exit_International to dive-bomb the audience into a state of abject disbelief. Never content with simply playing their genre busting bass driven fuzzed out rock straight, the meat in tonight's band sandwich were all about just that...showing us their meat. With frontmen Scott and Fudge dressed in stockings and babydoll dresses, the males in the audience were either heaving or getting wood whilst the females pressed up against the barrier were simply content to piss themselves with laughter as Scott declared "He Would!!" when describing how he thought he looked. However even the ladies must have been straining back the chunks when midway through 'Sherman Fang' Mr Andrews decided to do his very own Courtney Love impression by plonking his size nine boot up on his monitor.... I'll leave the rest to your imagination; suffice it to say it wasn't exactly a pretty sight.
Having seen Exit_International quite a few times over the last two years or so, it always amazes me how the trio take their warped vision of rock music and force it down the throats of the UK gig going public. Irrespective of who they might be sharing a stage with they always come off winners, and that folks has to be due in the main to their excellent songwriting. Songs like 'Glory Horn' and my personal fave 'Chainsaw Song' provide the perfect soundtrack for the post gig dogging that Scott seems convinced happens on Stow Hill of a Saturday night, let's just hope he's not wearing that fucking dress when he decides to go looking for his 'Sex W/ Strangers' eh!
Just as I was wondering how anyone could top Exit_International's bad tranny fancy dress wardrobe, along came Newport homeboys Save Your Breath in full Misfits make up and stole first prize right from underneath the perfumed ponces noses. If only Save Your Breath's music were as good as their fancy dress sense though, I've nothing against the band but opening with the immortal anthem that is 'Last Caress' perhaps set the bar just a little too high for their own material that followed. As musicians the five guys are certainly very accomplished at that type of wavy arms pop punk pap lapped up by the masses, it's just that with such a strong under card the songs from the band's debut album 'Vices' tended blend into the background blur of the million and one tween videos currently being shown on Kerrang TV. On any other night Save Your Breath would have been mighty fine entertainment, tonight though they (for me anyway) didn't really do anything.
Boasting the fine accolade of playing at both Reading and Leeds Festivals earlier this year whilst also sharing our nations stages with the likes of Kids In Glass Houses and Manoverboard, a few people around me had been heard to question why Save Your Breath were not headlining tonight's show? Well for those ladies and gentlemen the answer was about to explode right in their faces, but not before we were treated to an impromptu two song set from rappers Astroid Boys, complete with the softest DJ in the business.... DJ Comfort (I just had to get that pun in, please excuse me).
Banging the heads of those not already banging I was easy to see the mass appeal of Astroid Boys pumping grimecore and I for one wouldn't be surprised if the duo didn't get a chance to break out of the underground very soon. However when I was staring down the barrel of The Guns in the shape of my first headline show from Blaina's favourite sons, I'm not sure even Consolidated performing 'Friendly Fascism' in its entirety would have distracted me from the matter at hand. You see I was ready for the four blokes to 'Fuck The Demon Outta Me' and nothing was going to get in their way.
Originally intended as the launch night for The Guns second album going by the same ever so subtle demon fucking title that I have twisted to my own devices above, I now had to content myself like everyone else here tonight with the fact that I'd perhaps only hear their new single 'Missing Girls' from said opus, but for the next sixty minutes at least I was sure I'd be watching one of THE best bands the UK has to offer doing what they do best... playing ferocious rock 'n' roll music.
Six years into their career, it doesn't really take a genius to work out why this band isn't currently achieving the same levels of success as their musical peers. It's because The Guns are menacingly "different", you can't pigeonhole them, yet they tantalisingly defy you to do so with the many twists and turns that make up their music. In short - they frighten people. I'm not talking progressive music here folks not by any stretch of your imagination but tunes like 'You Can Eff Right Off' and early single B Side 'Colder' seem to possess some sort of hypnotic power over people once heard, something that has those around me mouthing every word here tonight. So are you ready to like something different?
But hold on a minute I'm getting ahead of myself here.
Taking to the darkened stage looking not unlike Swedish doom metallers Ghost, Alex Wiltshire and his band of merry men dropped their hoods cranked up their guitars and blazed headlong into (of all things) a cover of Marilyn Manson's 'Irresponsible Hate Anthem'. Hardly a conventional opening but then as I've said above this is The Muthafuckin' Guns boils and ghouls, expect the unexpected.
What followed next was pretty much a straightforward sixty minute lesson in everything that is great about rock music right now. Playing a clutch of older tunes like the aforementioned duo plus a truly mental version of 'On Like Donkey Kong' that could have seen one or two people getting seriously injured (thankfully they didn't) they seamlessly rubbed their sweaty shoulders with newer tracks like 'Treacle And Pie' and the reason we were all here tonight the band's latest single 'Missing Girls'.
Singer Alex might be the most cocksure frontman you've yet to discover but he also possesses one of the finest voice's this side of Daryl Palumbo, switching from glass shattering ferocity to heart breaking fragility with the merest flick of his foppish titian fringe. You can almost forgive the guy for the flem covered ceiling that surrounds us when the music is as good as tonight's set closer, the rabble rousing 'Gordons & Lemonade', a song that finally saw everyone doing exactly what their ginger messiah had dared them to do all night, that being to "trash the fucking place".
Look we've written pages of rhetoric around why The Guns should be massive here on Uber Rock, but until you've actually experienced the band live or purchased their albums you will never really know what it's like to discover true musical genius. Mark my words 2012 will finally be The Guns' year - we've heard 'Fuck The Demon Outta Me'.... and it is huge!!!!!
So are you ready to put your money where our mouth is? You'd better be.....
Photo Kudos: Russ P