On Tuesday, at the "legendary" TJ's in Newport, four bands took it in turns to play to a crowd consisting of the other three bands, The Boy and myself, and a handful of other people.
Black Cesar played first; they started out sounding a bit like Hey Colossus (another sludgy stoner doom band that no-one's ever heard of), but with a bit of slide guitar, which was interesting for the first three minutes; but a bit tedious by the end.
Next up, Zonderhoof. Zonderhoof have a cool name, and sound a lot like Black Cesar. Their final song, whilst blighted by technical difficulties caused by a recalcitrant bass lead, was a mini doom epic, and made me wonder; if they could do that all along, what was the point in the first three songs?
We saw Johnny Mental a while back, playing with the now sadly defunct Mea Culpa. They have perhaps the tiniest and angriest singer in the world. That is all.
Finally, The Mirimar Disaster took to the stage. The Boy and I have seen these guys before too, touring in support of Will Haven despite having parted ways with their singer just a few days beforehand. They've not bothered to find a replacement, which is good because a) guitarist Frank and drummer Slomo seem to do alright by themselves, and b) they just really don't need much in the way of vocals. The music is strong enough to stand alone, eschewing the tedious verse-chorus-verse formula in favour of something a bit more sprawling and inventive, with just a smattering of crushing riffs; and their new material is their best to date. Not that it mattered on this particular night; they played well and with enthusiasm, but there was no getting away from the fact that this was one of those "one man and his dog" shows. A shame, they deserve better.
Fast forward to Friday night, and The Boy and I are at The Academy, wondering what the hell we have done to deserve having to watch local death metal tykes Trigger The Bloodshed again. Dammit, that's three times now... I wish I liked them, I really do, because everyone else seemed to be into it, they did everything right, and still have one of the best drummers in the country...
Thankfully, all memory of TTB's white noise mediocrity was annihilated the moment that Swedish tech-metal behemoths Meshuggah took to the stage. It should be noted that a certain amount of risk is involved when watching Meshuggah play live, due to their love of odd time signatures and lung-collapsing heaviosity. The chances of the person next to you moving to the same beat as you is as close to nothing as makes no odds, and I now have a splendid black eye as testament to this fact. One of the best live acts I've ever seen/squinted at.
I couldn't find any good photos of the band, but I did dig up some shaky camera-phone footage of the very gig we attended. Thanks YouTube.
I realise that most people won't have the patience to sit through more than the first five seconds of this; but it's got the most amazing space-rock outro. Silhouetted against blinding white light, standing a billion feet tall with smoke billowing all around them, they were as gods to us. Gluttons for punishment can see more of the gig here.
Due to Friday being the usual club night for The Academy, the gig had an early start/finish time; so we had time to zip up the road to the pub, to meet up with Matt and other visiting luminaries. Jeff "The Large Hardon Collider" McDeath was there; and so too was The Infamous Willard Foxton, who entertained us with tales of how in the last year he has tamed lions, faked moon landings, fought in the Israeli/Palestinian war, and been fired from at least one job because he opposed public hangings.
At some point he complimented me on my dragon ogres - Matt had outed me as an emo blogger, and sent him a link. Will expressed a general disinterest in my rubbish life, and my ambitions to own various Japanese sports cars (unless I was going to paint one white, put a giant red sun on the bonnet and crash it into an American aircraft carrier); but he did like my toys. So here's a picture for Will.
BRING ME THE HEAD OF DAN FRAN CISCO