Church Of Misery Barfly, London, 09/10/2005

Tue 11th October 2005

Support from Ramesses, Moho


Having spent the afternoon pounding the crap out of a drumkit recording a spectacularly tuneless demo, I was up for some tuneful rockage. Hassles on the train/tube meant that I got there halfway through Moho's set, but what I saw was great - slow and heavy, fast and heavy, good evil shouting, and a drummer who played like he hated his drumkit with every fibre of his being. They were different enough to keep me listening, but familiar enough for the songs to feel like old friends. Lots of hair and rocking out, occasional heavily-accented muttering - Spanish stoner/doom: who'da thunk it?

Next up were Ramesses. One of the people I was with has been banging on about Ramesses for months, but neither of us other two had seen or heard them. Yet another friend launched into a tirade about how much she hates them, so we figured the only way was to see for ourselves. More hair, including ill-advised Noddy Holder chops for the drummer, some rocking out, some heaviness, but it really didn't do much for me. No big riffs to get hold of, and the changes in speed seemed more of a formality than an exercise in dynamics. It's good to see a British doom band on the circuit, and respect to them for having divided the audience, but by halfway through the set, I was thinking about finding a seat.

Which brings us to Church of Misery. My first thought was "Blimey, that bass player's got his bass slung awfully low" - it was literally around his knees, and he played it halfway up the neck, but technique aside, the sound was a good one. The guitarist flung out riff after riff, the drummer bashed away from behind his curtain of hair, and the singer flailed about like Ian Brown crossed with a denizen of Moria, but making noises more orc-like than simian and thumping away on a keyboard and effects. There was a mix of material from 'Master Of Brutality' and 'The Second Coming'. I don't know the new album well enough to comment on it, but the older material rocked. The only exception was 'Megalomania', which proved a bit of a struggle for both guitarist and drummer - perhaps they were just having a bad day. Other than that, though, things sounded fairly tight. The audience was unusually polite for the Barfly (because it was Sunday?) although there was much punching of the air and shouting of random encouragements. At the end of the set, Church of Misery were persuaded to return for an encore, and then we all headed home, annoyed that the tshirts only came in XL, and cheered by a gig that was good, but not great. Would I go again? Absolutely, even on a Sunday.


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