This week’s event was a showcase for upcoming talent, held at Rough Trade. It featured three bands of the psychedelic/space rock persuasion and was a joy to witness.
First on the bill was ‘Damn Craters’, who were gigging in support of their latest self-titled EP. Their set consisted of sludgey, doom-laden hard rock and was all brought together by Simon Smith’s guttural vocals. ‘Damn Craters’ name their influences as Kyuss, Soundgarden and Helmut, all of which come through in songs such as ‘Fighting In The Caves Of Drach’ and ‘Monomyth’. The tight rhythms and prominent basslines come from Kez Whelan and Gavin Treliving respectively, whilst the dissonant guitar crunch was supplied by Jay Cowley and Jonathan South. The riffs were heavy and the crowd were loving it, as seen in the headbanging formation that occurred mid-set. Their slightly ‘Alternative Metal’ edge mixed with their love of ‘Grunge’ mean that they can appeal to a large cross section of heavy rock fans. Lyrics such as ‘I’ve worshipped false idols all my life’ perfectly fit the music and Smith sings them with such disdain that you can buy into his artistic torment. Their brand of stoner rock is music to grind your teeth to and get worked up about. Angst is the order of the day and ‘Damn Craters’ are certainly serving it. They plan to continue gigging throughout the Midlands, as well as get the creative juices flowing for a future LP.
Glenn Campbell – Wichita Lineman
Kyuss – Demon Cleaner
Queens of the Stone Age – Mexicola
The Beatles – A Day in the Life
Guilty Pleasure: Dolly Parton – Jolene
Second on the bill was London-based psyche-rockers ‘Derelics’. Consisting of Reno on Lead Guitar/Vocals, bassist AB and Rich behind the kit, ‘Derelics’ play a set that’s indebted to the fluid guitar style of Hendrix and the crunch of Led Zeppelin. In a move that seems to be mirroring the Spinal Tap cliché, the band are on their 7th bassist in five years. AB certainly proves his worth though, as his bass grooves mingle nicely with Reno’s riffs and lock in perfectly with Rich’s drum fills. Mid-song jams were the name of the game for the trio and Reno got a chance to put his multiple effects pedals to good use. Once again the crowd was hypnotised and their necks were probably still stiff from the previous set. Reno’s soulful vocals soar in a style that’s reminiscent of Robert Plant and Sly Stone. They have upcoming plans for another EP, due out in March, and there’s a preview single available now: ‘Summer Song‘.
Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Sly and the Family Stone – Love City
Vulfpeck – Beastly
Led Zeppelin – The Song Remains the Same
The Mars Volta – Take the Veil Cerpin
Guilty Pleasure: Toto – Africa
Last but not least, were head-liners ‘GNOB’. They have a mixture of influences, many of which aren’t the usual suspects for a heavy psychedelic rock band, which include Thai and Greek music. Lead singer/guitar Nick is the main songwriter in the band and often composes demos at home on his acoustic guitar, before bringing them to Mort and Ben, on drums and bass respectively. They’re a band who often record their jams and Nick states ‘without the iPhone, this band wouldn’t exist’ – which is as good an advert as any Apple TV spot I’ve ever seen! Their worldly influences shine through in their set, which consists of groove-infused jams with exotic melodies left, right and centre. Nick’s wordless vocals, which are often improvised, become part of the blistering sound rather than a focal point. Many songs are performed with a wah pedal, giving them a textural feel and allowing Ben’s bass grooves to be more prominent in the mix. The drone-like nature to many of their songs puts the crowd into the sort of trance not felt since those Hacienda days. ‘Midnight Sun’ is a perfect example of this Eastern influence and the band’s aesthetic follows, as all three members are donned in kurtas and floral clothing alike. ‘Curse of the Jester’ is cut from the same cloth (pun intended) and has Mort performing a drum-roll that would be just as fitting for a battle field as it was for a Thursday night gig in Nottingham. Their set was a triumph and once the lights came on, the aftermath of their rip-roaring intense performance was all to visible; sweaty brows and stiff necks galore. GNOB plan to continue touring around the UK and even have a gig lined up in Paris. Their latest EP ‘Shrunken Head’ is currently out on CD and will be available digitally in September. If you like being put into a delirious stupor state and don’t fancy a date with your local anaesthetist, the GNOB are the perfect fix for you.
Manolete – Yawning Man
Rabih Abou Khalil – Blue Camel
Pink Floyd – Echoes
Atomic Rooster – Black Snake
Guilty Pleasure: Duran Duran – Rio
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