Friday, September 28, 2012

The Catharsis / Black Shapes / Sexwolf @ The Actress & Bishop, Thursday 27th September

It’s been a few months since I attended a sweaty pub gig and by Satan’s horns I’ve missed ‘em. Especially when they’re as ear shreddingly, bone crushingly, eye ball gougingly good as this one, set in the delightfully shabby chic...well, shabby above the Actress & Bishop.  

First up Sexwolf. Never had sex with a wolf myself, or any wild animal for that matter (not that I can remember anyway) but if you were inclined towards a little mild bestiality the music of the ‘wolf would pretty much make the perfect soundtrack. Readying himself for the onslaught the band’s lead singer removed his trousers revealing a rather fetching pair of Hawaiian shorts mismatched with a well worn Bad Brains t-shirt. Hell, this ain’t a fashion show though, right? From the very first note the ‘wolf slayed it, mashing up rock, punk, metal and screamcore into one huge great slab of noise. Pick of the set was the boiling nihilistic rage against the machine of We Were Bought Up To Fuck Up, an anthem for the misshapen, lost and lonely amongst us. Awesome. Kudos to Mr Hawaiian Shorts who repeatedly risked tearing his nut sack in half thanks to some particularly vigorous scissor kicks too.  

Next up Black Shapes, all the way from that there London. As black and doom laden as their name suggests they frankly they terrified some of the audience thanks in no small part to the lead singer’s primal, wounded animal vocals and the band’s attempts to summon up Beelzebub himself. Hard, heavy and veering wildly from full on 200mph rock outs to slowwwwwwwww, skull grinding breaks it was the musical equivalent of being violently blended (hmmm...can you be unviolently blended?) in a liquidiser...and all the better for it. The drummer’s well worth watching too, how that dude avoids serious brain damage each night’s beyond me. There’s head banging and then there’s seriously attempting to separate your skull from your spinal column. Good work there my friend...neat drumming too.

Finally headliners The Catharsis. Look up catharsis in the dictionary (oh you must) and it’s defined as being an act of ‘purgation, purification and clarification’. Certainly The Catharsis tick the first two boxes with the band’s vocalist ripping his throat to shreds in an effort to get whatever’s possessing him out of his body. Of all tonight’s bands they were the only ones who really strayed from the stage and got up close and personal with the audience which, let’s face it, is an important part of this kind of gig. Adding a second guitarist to the mix really beefed up the sound too (not that the sound needing beefing up tonight...ears were well and truly beaten into bloody submission early on), most evident perhaps on arguably their best song to date and pick of an incendiary set, Empty Lungs, the kind of track Gallows (the new or old version) would happily sacrifice a kidney or two for. A crowd pleasing Pantera cover (sadly my knowledge of Pantera would fit onto a plectrum) also clearly hit the spot giving the band the chance to really show off their musical chops. Impressive. Full on, throttle heavy metal/hardcore heaven from Sabbath Town. Be afraid very afraid. 

PS: Big up to the lovely Rhi Lee and Distorted Tapes for putting on a cracking show. 

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