Wed 6th January 2010
Support from Winnebago Deal, Gin Panic, The Dead Beat, Blind Tyrant
The low turnout at Kingston’s premier rock watering hole is not much of a surprise given the chaffingly cold outside temperatures and the pub’s proximity to, well, not a lot. Still those who brave the freezing winds are more than rewarded throughout an excellent showcase of rock, punk, stoner, funk, metal and psychedelia; and for a mere fiver.
The organisers are running a tight ship, and Blind Tyrant launch face-first into their opening riff bang on 7pm. Playing to a mere handful of mates, they waste little time in settling into a strong stoner-metal groove, not unlike COC, Orange Goblin, Clutch or Black Label Society, and seem to be having a lot of fun in the process. Tectonic-plate shifting they ain’t, but some nice solos and grooves are well complimented by an entertaining frontman.
The Dead Beat are 100% classic punk rock, and despite being a strange-looking bunch and going through 3 microphones in their quest to smash, bash, thrash and scream, they have a good set of original songs and keep the slowly growing crowd happy.
Gin Panic are something of an unexpected revelation. Comprising two buoys and two gulls, their mellow-to-crushingly-heavy prog rock is both rather satisfying and refreshing. Coming across as reminiscent of Baroness, Russian Circles and Torche, their three-track juggernaut set is halted only by equipment failure on the final number – a real shame considering their song writing throws several entire genres into one highly interesting pot of music.
Winnebago Deal turn up the volume, pace, heat and head-banging rage in the tiny side-room with their 30 minutes of frantic thrash-punk. The two Bens are now so experienced in destroying tiny pubs that this small crowd are no match for both old classics and new material from their yet-to-be-released third album. The power-duo’s enthusiasm even seems to win over a few new recruits to their fanbase.
Many appear to have buggered off before the evening’s centrepiece, LA’s Tweak Bird, swing into action. Why they chose to do so is a tad dumb-founding as the guitarist-drummer duo (accompanied by a live flautist/trumpeter/saxophonist and what can only be described as a giant gong) are nothing short of sensational. Their approach to tracks from their two existing EPs is not only barely recognisable, but richer in layers of sounds, improvisation and overall musicianship. Indeed a lot of new material is also on show as the two brothers Caleb and Ashton Bird explore avenues of fuzz-guitar driven-rock, through psychedelic wailings, via bursts of orchestration and rumbling basslines. “Jazz-fuzz” was a phrase that popped into my mind! Exactly why a band, who were hand-picked by Tool to support them on their Summer 09 trek across the US, find themselves performing to 25 people in a Surrey metal-dive is the most heart-warming mystery of the evening.