Black Spiders/Viking Skull/Turbowolf - Bristol, The Croft - 22nd February 2011 Print E-mail
Written by Johnny H   
Sunday, 27 February 2011 05:00

It's the opening night of Black Spiders 'Sons of the North' Headline Tour and they've only gone and chosen one of my favourite venues to do it in...Result. 

 

For those of you unaware of the delights of The Croft, imagine being trapped in Leatherface's back room with a wall of sound eating away at your brain and with nowhere for you to hide.  Got that picture? Good...Then you're just about to start to understand the full on assault on the senses that this venue really is, making it piss scented perfect for tonight's proceedings.

 

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Come 8pm and the venue is already packed to its reinforced steel door as hometown boys Turbowolf got things off to a great start, with their Korg keyboard fuelled madness. I had heard a lot about this four piece before tonight, and in spite of the fact that their singer resembles a walking audition for Catweazle 2011, their sound is one perfectly suited to the Croft, as their spazzed out hardcore guitar riffs bounce off the venue's pitch black walls with hammer blow precision whilst the cherry sweet melodies that underpin tunes like 'Ancient Snake' and crowd fave 'Read And Write' could very well see these guys headlining arenas near you very soon.  Do not miss these twisted freaks of musical nature if you already have a ticket for this tour, you will kick yourself if you do.

 

VS_1Next up, and soon to be headlining large castles near you were the five piece metal machine known as Viking Skull.  Having previously witnessed the Skull a number of times live, I have to admit that I had yet to be ensnared by the charms of the band's drunken debauchery played in the key of Black Sabbath minor. So was tonight about to be my baptism of 'Doom, Gloom Heartache and Whiskey?' Well, partly yeah, I guess, as sandwiched between the wall of heat given off by the packed to the rafters headbanging loons around me and the cold comfort of the venues icy walls, the subtle charms of a track like 'Red Hot Woman' can take on a whole new meaning.  The only trouble I have with the whole Skull experience is that even after forty-five minutes of their best on stage ferocity the PA cranking out Accept's 'Balls To The Wall' straight after they finish immediately puts their whole performance into perspective.  And that is perhaps just too much fucking perspective for this reviewer.

 

So where do I start with tonight's headliners?  Well how about at the end for a change?   Why?  Well after a mind-blowing sixty minutes on stage I bet if you'd asked sweat drenched Black Spiders_1Spiders mainman Pete Spiby how he'd like to have made his way back to the dressing room, I guess crowd surfing wouldn't have been his first choice.  But with a strict eleven o'clock curfew eating away at the dying wah wah refrain of a megalithic version of 'Meadow', and a crowd refusing to budge, Pete really had no other option but to throw himself into the hands of his adoring audience.  And boy what a reception his ten legged rock machine got here tonight, even Pete's impromptu soundcheck of "Cool Beans" was greeted with the fervour usually reserved for audiences of some tyrannical despots mad rantings all living for fear of their lives. Such is the buzz this band's never ending roadwork has helped build that you do sometimes question the sanity of putting them on in a room the size of your living room. But then again when a band has a catalogue of material as strong as the one assembled by Spider, Owl, Shark, Tiger and Fox, you also have to question the sanity of those not here tonight (maybe it had sold out before they could get a ticket...who knows?).  With songs like 'Stay Down', 'St Peter' and 'Just Like A Woman' already established live classics, it was the newer album cuts like 'Medusa's Eyes' and 'KISS Tried To Kill Me' along with B Sides 'D & B' and the aforementioned 'Meadow' that saw the thrill-o-meter needle bending into the critical zone, with the whole place banging along front to back. The only slight downer for me tonight was the lack of 'Easy Peasy' in the set, which when Pete openly joked they were looking to pad things out for an hour would have made a nice welcome addition to proceedings. Still I've stolen enough of his hilarious onstage banter to fill my review tonight so I'll quit whilst I'm ahead here.

 

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In all honesty Black Spiders could have sold this place out two or three times over, and having been to The Croft quite a few times recently to catch bands I'd say an extra few were shoehorned in tonight just to make it that extra little bit snug, but what a way to start your tour eh?

 

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