Monday, June 18, 2012

Gig Review - The Mother Fuzzers Ball -'Northern Invasion'

If you're not a native of Dublin, then this wee rant will probably be wasted on you, but I'm gonna say it anyways.Dublin Bus sucks.It sucks so much that if it were a film, it would star Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy , with a soundtrack by Nickelback , with a script written by Stephanie Meyer.Without going too much into it, Dublin bus suck balls, and made me late for The Mother Fuzzers Ball, as a consequence , this review contains no No Man's Land , or for that matter Chocolate Love Factory, so major apologies due to both bands.But onwards and upwards. . .

Despite it not being the prettiest venue in the world, no one can deny the charm  of The Pint, cheap beer, friendly staff, and a superior sound set up to a fair few more 'prestigious' venues in the city (coughTheAcademycough), not to mention the small matter of bands like Orange Goblin, Napalm Death and a slew of top class ,not to mention wildly diverse,  Irish bands gracing it's modest  upstairs stage over the last couple of years.It's on  this stage that Dublin stoners Electric Taurus kick off the evening (well for us tardy Nihilists anyways) with a somewhat loose but still eminently enjoyable set of prog-tinged , down-tuned  fuzz-rock   that starts off a tiny bit shaky sound-wise, but slowly draws you in, the band's lo-fi  , stripped down approach putting one in mind of a less narked Winnebago Deal, or a a gloomier Nebula.Front-man Matt Casciani is an inventive guitarist, and the band's best moments tend to be their forays into warmer, more psychedelic territory.

Engines Of Ruin are a band that has had a troubled time of it the last couple of years, with various line up changes resulting in the band slimming down from a quartet to a two-piece for a while , with guitarist Adam Brewer making the transition to vocal duties after a brief flirtation with a Karma To Burn style instrumental sound( listen to the band's EP Triquetra for a lesson on how to make instrumental stoner rock actually rock) , helped along by powerhouse drummer Johnny Brewer , and joined recently by bassist Keith Walsh to bulk the band back up to a trio. And it has to be said, tonight the band are a revelation, ridiculously tight , with a steely confidence that translates into a determined, but not OTT, stage presence.The band's secret weapon is drummer Johnny , a sticks-man so well practiced  that during a fantastic rendition of Kyuss' classic 'Green Machine', which he also sings on, he is  able to keep a beat, imitate John Garcia's primeval howl  AND adjust  a shaky mic with one hand.That's mid verse by the way. Let's see Lars fucking Urich do that. The band as a whole have never sounded better, and their short set is pretty much flawless, a vicious tear through of oldie 'Hellectrified ' rattling the skull in all the right places.

 Belfast's Baleful Creed make their debut appearance in Dublin tonight ,and despite some technical gremlins making an inevitable appearance, the band put in a strong showing, front-man Greg 'Fin' Finlay displaying an easy and accomplished stage craft,and a way with light-hearted crowd banter.The big surprise of tonight's set is just how heavy the band are live , tracks from their recent EP sounding astonishingly raw in the flesh , and the band garner a great reaction from the small but rapt crowd ,the likes of 'Suffer In Silence' as catchy and addictive as they are tooth-looseningly heavy.Their sound rests somewhere between the bluesy , celebratory vibe of bands like The Answer and The Black Crowes, and the grittier riffing of COC, and one senses they've won a fair few new fans tonight with their no nonsense , no frills hard rock.

A prior engagement elsewhere means that we have to leave for the last few minutes of Mu Cephei's set, but what we do see is solid enough.Probably the heaviest band on tonight, their Horn Of The Rhino -esque psychedelic doom dirges aren't to everyone's tastes, but persevere , and you'll find a more subtle approach than first impressions might reveal.However, the nature of the band's sound and style  does mean that there are moments where tedium does set in, but there also moments of monolithic power that say, Sleep might be proud of. A good, but maybe not great performance.

All in all, transportation issues aside, it's been a hell of a night, and the general quality and consistency on show is a testament to the strength of the Irish stoner/doom/hard rock scene right now. As an aside, you'll struggle to find an event with a more laid back, pleasant atmosphere as The Mother Fuzzer's Ball, and even if there wasn't quite the numbers tonight that the bands may have deserved, there's no doubt in anyone's mind that it's been nothing but a roaring success.

Dublin Bus on the other hand, can go fuck themselves.

Stephen O ' Connor

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