Sunday, May 19, 2024

Future of the Left + The Wytches + Them Wolves, The Institute, Birmingham 09/11/13

Early doors and an early curfew don’t always bode well for a gig to really get going, but this show certainly didn’t suffer from these circumstances, and ended up being one of my personal favourite shows I’ve attended in 2013.
Thankfully in Them Wolves, the perfect band were chosen to open up and clear the early evening cobwebs and make the crowd stand to attention, with one of the loudest sets (even with earplugs in they still made my ears ring!) I’ve heard this side of My Bloody Valentine!
From the guttural and barked out vocals of Greg Coates, alongside his crunching basslines, which vibrate through and into the mix of heavily pummelled within an inch of its life drum kit of Noel Campbell, and with Stuart-Lee Tovey’s scratching, abrasive feedback driven guitar riffs, the band produced an all-out assault on the aural senses, taking in tracks from their debut EP ‘German For Duke’ as well as a handful of new songs. When Steve Albini rolls into town with Shellac in a few weeks, an introduction to Them Wolves should be made; he would be the perfect guy to work with this band.
With ears slowly adjusting to life without the intense noise, the hotly tipped and talked about band The Wytches were ready to take to the stage, and with it the room certainly seemed to get busier. Whilst barely a word came from the band on stage, what they lacked in conversation they more than made up for with their twisted, dark self-proclaimed ‘Surf Doom’ doing all the talking needed.
The vocals, wretched to a point of packing in, add to the intensity of their music, especially on upcoming single ‘Robe For Juda’. With the bass set up high in the mix, together with pounding drums and vicious guitar riffs, and little or no let-up in between songs, it gives the angst of the music time to build up to heady levels, none more so than on set closer ‘Crying Clown’. The drums, which began with a sluggish tempo, a sinister guitar sound atop, vocally despairing, slowly the band and song’s pace building up into a flurry of noise, the wretched vocals returning, before being brought down to its climax.
On the road in support of their 4th album How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident, Future Of The Left rolled on to the stage accompanied with a jaunty backing track, before getting stuck into opening track ‘Arming Eritrea’. Once finished, a request from lead singer Andy Falkous to the sound guy came, asking if “he can lose the yawn monster in his monitor” and “this has to be the worst sounding room ever,” ‘Small Bones, Small Bodies’ followed, alongside a handful of tracks taken from the new album ‘Bread, Cheese, Bow And Arrow’ ‘Future Child Embarrassment Matrix’ and ‘Johnny Borrell Afterlife’.
‘Beneath The Waves An Ocean’ saw the crowd nodding furiously, the bassist really standing out as her instrument throbbed like a heartbeat throughout. As anyone familiar with the band will be aware, Falkous is a master of on stage banter, tonight’s subject being Metallica fans. Highly sarcastic, yet incredibly funny, it’s part of what makes this band special.
The set finished chaotically, with a mix of ‘Lapsed Catholics’ into McLusky ‘Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues’ followed with a jam, singing the lyrics of Wham ‘Club Tropicana’ through it. During all of this the guitarist entered the crowd, taping a beer bottle to an audience member’s head, picking him up, and pouring the beer into his friend’s mouth, who was lying on the floor!