Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Review: Swampmeat Family Band have nothing to hide at LP Launch

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At 9pm, Cave Girl kick off the evening. Fresh from supporting Bob Log III at the Hare & Hounds (and not the only band on the bill to have done so!) , they have a new found confidence. They’ve not been around long, but this is their most polished performance to date. Bassist Richie James’ amp rocks on its stand as he taps his foot to the euphoric shoegaze. Frontman Ed Quigley gleefully poses and pouts over the front of the stage. A mellowed out cover of Swampmeat’s ‘Right Here’, a live staple for the Family Band that was originally released on the 2016 LP Gin & Tonic, is met with cheers. By the end of their set the room is well and truly warmed up, Quigley proclaiming that “gender is over, gender is dead” through his lipstick smeared moustache.

“We’re not going to play until you come forward.”

Bad Girlfriend are now occupying the stage. The three-piece are known locally for their brand of sloppy, excitable punk rock. If you’ve not heard them before, you’ve at least seen one of their “0121” stickers plastered to a lamppost. Frontman Connor Hemming often describes their music as sounding “exactly how ADHD feels”. Hemming swings his guitar haphazardly across the stage tonight, slamming out punky riffs with relish. Their single ‘The Royals’ goes down well – most of the audience will have seen the grotesque music video they released for it earlier this month, where director Tom Wagstaff covered the band and their friends in blood and whipped cream. Hemming shouted “You motherfuckers better dance to this” before lurching off the front of the stage, causing the front row to draw back hesitantly. He proceeded to surprise himself by being able to play a guitar solo behind his head a-la Hendrix, and bumble behind the sound desk much to DJ Ollie Overton’s dismay.

“Thanks to Swampmeat for asking us to play – they’ll probably never ask again.”

Mighty Young guitarist Joseph Gatsby perches atop his amplifier, crutches leaning against the side. Röbb Cartin rattles away on the drumkit with flourish. Bassist Tommy Hughes seems keen to warm up the stage for his set with Swampmeat next. The Mighty Young‘s brand of garage rock is electric, peppered with rock & roll hooks. Gatsby’s strained vocal is reminiscent of Jack White, particularly on the high-powered ‘Here You Go Again’.

Fraternity of Man’s ‘Don’t Bogart That Joint’ fills the room as Swampmeat Family Band descend from the mezzanine. The crowd is expectant – these gentlemen are a staple of the Birmingham live scene, so they have a lot to answer for with this release. They come out fighting with the rock n roll rumble of Long Way Down and dancing starts. Too Many Things To Hide is a country record first and foremost, and showcases their twangy, melodic sound. However, it’s only live that you can really hear how much bite Swampmeat Family Band have. Rich March’s double bass thuds away relentlessly. They deliver a triumphant set of old and new songs, returning to their roots with ‘Brand New Cadillac’ from the 2016 Swampmeat LP Gin & Tonic before their well-deserved encore.

Emily Doyle

Visual artist, multi-instrumentalist, and scrounger. Always wearing headphones, probably listening to Ezra Furman, Sleater-Kinney or Goat.