God Damn + Youth Man + Them Wolves + Victor + Swerve, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham 18/01/14

God Damn
Before the year even had a chance to begin, five of the Midlands’ maddest bands were thrown into a room for the entertainment of quite a few music fans. People are looking to Birmingham with their ears before their eyes for a fair few reasons but tonight five bands are broadcasting a new message (loud enough to be heard in space).
Taking place at the Hare & Hounds, a venue which has no doubt seen various local music cultures come and go over the years, the wheels of the night were grooved into motion by the rather unhinged five piece Swerve.
Swerve
These dudes are as much about wigging out as they are making a racket and that shines through in the noodling guitar lines that spiral forth from the three-headed guitar beast that makes up the front line of the band.
Victor
After getting eased in with some head-nodding distorted freakiness from Swerve, Victor took to the stage and took the night in a colder, harsher direction. You think bands are all about expressing themselves; then you see Victor and you see a band expressing themselves. Suffering never sounded so good.
Them Wolves
Them Wolves provide some light relief from the noise in the form of some accent impersonations but that’s only between the barrages of bass-heavy rough stuff of their own. Discordance is how Them Wolves roll but every now and then during their set, they lock into some solid riffery.
Youth Man continue to put on shows that both win over new admirers and keep the existing fans present at their shows. How people can stand still when watching the three piece perform is a mystery to me. Fair enough you might not want to bang your head as hard as Adam the bassist due to the risk of whiplash but their music makes you want jump on a bed so hard that you bang your head off the ceiling.
Youth Man
It turned out that Youth Man were the perfect pre-cursor to the main event. God Damn have been restoring audiences’ faith in the showmanship of rock music since 2010. Gigging in and around the West Midlands they have become a part of local legend for many a reason (the house parties, secret warehouse shows, the RAWK).
God Damn
They always tend to have an effect on the people that go to watch them. It’s the relentlessness of their in the red, blues-driven rock metal hybrid that whips people up. A smattering of new material makes up the most part of tonight’s set but the crowd are pleased to hear they aren’t moving away from the angst, at all.
God Damn
From two songs in onwards, the mosh pit is kept going until the last note of the night rings out. Crowd members attempt to surf on other gig-goers but most people are too busy being boisterous to bother catching them so one poor devil ends up face-planting the floor. One endearing part of the pit is the couple who stand directly in the middle and snog each other.
The couple aren’t the only ones doing the snogging either, as Carlo from Birmingham Promoters gets friendly with some of the crowd until he is picked up and crowd surfed against his will. Some gig goers clearly treat the gig like a religious experience; kneeling before the band, howling the words to ‘Heavy Money’ straight back at the band.
Carlo from Birmingham Promoters…
The most triumphant climax of the night comes when lead singer Thomas puts down his guitar and beckons a figure from the crowd onto the stage. The room erupts with adulation towards the return of Dave, God Damn’s famed guitarist who was recently in a car accident that forced him to take some time away from the band throughout last year.

God Damn
Thom, Dave and Ash power through ‘Dangle Like Skeletons’, the slow-burning anthem that some might say is the God Damn Power Ballad. And for the first time during their set, the moshing comes to a stand-still as everyone reels in the moment.
God Damn
Goddamnit it’s good to have you back Dave. Long live the long-haired rain of God Damn over all their nutty disciples.
Photographs by Andy Hughes.