Posts Tagged ‘live’

Written for PORTSMOUTH NEWS.

image

Lissie (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Wire)

Removing electricity from rock to leave behind only the voices and guitars, beckons assumptions that only a raw, atmospheric gloom will remain. On her acoustic tour, Lissie backs this up at least to begin with, during the profane ‘Shameless’ – its erratic rhythm built from knocking on the wood of her guitar.

Her chaotic movement escalate from tapping to stomping during ‘Further Away’, and while ‘Sun Keeps Risin’’ might normally be peacefully layered, its lost volume is compensated for by impressive belting. It is all a great twist on the country singer’s repertoire.

However, the the mood quickly takes a turn. Proposing a toast, wine aloft, Lissie seems to be the friendliest soloist around. With a beaming grin, she tells fans how she holds the UK dear, having found her international break here. Now an independent musician, she feels that she has a “cozy old friendship” with everyone.

The fans clearly agree when they are drawn in to discuss roast dinner and Lissie’s nastiest tour story of her guitar smelling unusual. Brilliantly, tonight feels as much like a performance as it does a Sunday evening family get-together.


 

clutch-1-photo-by-jj-koczan

Clutch (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Opener ‘X-Ray Visions’ is an answer to a detective, asking what happened in a motel. On the album it might be an insane reply, but live at the sold out O2 Academy Bristol, Neil Fallon has risen from an irritable believer in the paranormal, to delivering a ninety-minute sermon devoted to almost the entirety of latest album Psychic Warfare, on how “psychic warfare is real, you’d better believe me brother”. Within two minutes, all band members are introduced brutally in a verse by their star sign (with Reverend Fallon blessed with the fitting sting of being arguably the most furious to fit his scream and growl perfectly – “SCORPIOOOO!”), and it is non-stop fury from here on in.

Really. ‘Sermon’ or ‘gospel’ (just not in the style that one would imagine) might not be an exaggeration, as Fallon’s mannerisms onstage, waving into the crowd, and seeming to cast demonic spells on everybody with each evil cackle during ode to pleasure from hard rock party, and spirited ambivalence towards fame, ‘Earth Rocker’. This only ascends with the rapid introduction of new track ‘Noble Savage’, during which in a fittingly noble and savage way are completely lyrically literal, taking their hard rock high ground, and inviting fans along, due to devout status as being an “unapologetic lifer for rock and roll”. This is all while band members are in deep concentration – almost under hypnosis (‘psychic warfare’ if you wish) – Fallon charismatically emphasizes with pointing, sarcastic grins and overactive suave eyebrows, as though putting down anybody unsure of whether being able to rock so hard, functions as a career. 

Tonight’s scale shows that Clutch’s brand of alternative, almost playful (“Is that a Pringles can? He knows how to get ready to party.”) groovy funk metal, deserves every inch on their CVs. If not, a cowbell and astonishingly angry harmonica solo during ‘D.C. Sound Attack’, followed later by ‘The Mob Goes Wild’, is a rapid hammer to the job centre clerk who has the nerve to disagree. If all 1,600 in attendance aren’t decided yet upon aliens and the Illuminati, the sheer volume and power makes sure that they will at least be decided on the reality of sonic warfare, and will have chosen to whose side they are on. Clutch Cavalry – Assemble!

A SWEARY REVIEW WRITTEN FOR NOISE CANNON

wednesday-13What the fuck was spooky rocker Wednesday 13 thinking, when planning the Unplugged Undead tour? Acoustic horror punk. Even debuting archaic Wednesday songs, in an acoustic form, having never been heard live. What kind of idea is that? Is nothing, not even grisly horror movie references, such as the riveting ‘You Mother Sucks Cocks In Hell’, safe from acoustic versions?

After all, this is the man who fronted Murderdolls. The man who fronted the dress-clad Frankenstein Drag Queens, onstage with a jars of hot dogs and live chickens for no good reason. The man who, prior to performing the spectacular fuckathon ‘I Love to Say Fuck’ tonight, loses count of how many songs in his repertoire contain the word ‘fuck’. As it turns out, there are quite a few. At least seven apparently. Wednesday 13, in deep thought, and sincere sounding Southern English accented suggestions from the crushed audience, is a surreal experience for all.

Joined onstage by two other guitarists, the intimacy of tonight’s show at The Cellars, is instantly noticeable due to micro-budget Christmas window lighting draped behind them, and a light at Wednesday’s feet, in case he felt that a song warranted a slightly darker room.

A lot of work has gone in to translate even his heaviest, fist-in-the-air tracks to acoustic guitar, in some cases getting as loud a racket out of the guitar as possible, at least without smashing the instrument nor growling his throat red raw, but Wednesday sounds very relaxed and sentimental in telling tales of song origins. But this is Wednesday 13, and so still tempted fans to climb onto the bar, to the venue’s dismay.

Tonight is a hilariously awkward clash of jam session and press conference, as Wednesday takes questions, from which level of Candy Crush he was on, to horrifying tour stories, such as an untypeable tale of one water bottle and one tampon. Really. Ew. When discussing his ghoulish cowboy attire, he makes no secret that “there’s a lot of shit going on in my head. That’s why I wear a hat.”.

The show is elegant in being a complete shambles. Not only did Wednesday change the lyrics of ‘American Werewolves in London’ (having felt guilty for calling Piccadilly Circus, ‘Piccadilly Square’), but forgot a verse entirely for ‘Miss Morgue’, choosing to play the missing verse afterwards, and lamenting how he is “a dumb hillbilly”. Quipping that he had spelt ‘Southampton’ incorrectly on Twitter, as though there must then be a presumably fictitious ‘Northampton’ did little to show off his UK expertise.

Wednesday asks “Who’s a fuckin’ tough guy? Who thinks it’s a bad idea?” As it turns out, throughout the last two-and-a-half hours, from opener ‘Transylvania 90210’ to inevitable closer ‘Bad Things’, we have learned that his premiere acoustic set, was a great idea. A fucking great idea. Fuck.

8/10