Live at Joseph's Well on Monday, 25th August 2003
First up at The Well tonight were local sleaze punk rockers Buzzkill. A favourite in the local scene, Buzzkill have developed a popular status and rightly so. The last time I saw them, was at Punk Night in Skipton, and they appeared there without horns. After having listened to the songs recorded, I was interested to observe the effect that live horns would have on their sound.
In all truth, I was disappointed and I perfectly enjoy the raucous sound that Buzzkill offer, horns or not. Loud, fast and energetic, Buzzkill are truly a Rock 'n' Roll outfit. A greased up, 50's-esque demeanour is projected in their music, and on stage, a kind of caustic coolness is defiantly presented. It isn't a cartoonish effort either. They played extremely well, and created a great atmosphere to start the night off.
I'm looking forward to the direction that their music will take next, and I sincerely recommend going to see them play around the Leeds/Bradford area, because their style makes a refreshing change to the Nu metal/Emo/Hardcore and Punk scene which is prominent in Leeds. The live experience is overwhelmingly more exciting than that of some local Indie Bands for sure.
The touring bands this evening are both from Seattle in the U.S, the birthplace of modern grunge and alternative rock. A lull in the scene during most of the 1990's seems to have been replaced by a new breed of Alternative American bands, which are not so quietly answering to the media and fashion frenzy that has exhausted New York's Music scene over the past two years. A better thing too, that these are real alternative musicians, making genuine efforts to create progressive yet listenable music. Not some pretty young lads dressed up to look refreshing and new, when in fact, all of their songs are based on Heartbreakers and Jam riffs.
The Blood Brothers are one of those things that exist in the world which can be accurately described as strange and beautiful. To give a simile; like a gnarled and rotting tree, which you find almost irresistibly perfect and amazing.
The whole show is a grating, screaming, and brooding affair, but somehow I know that underneath, the people who make this noise are polite and amiable gentlemen. Unstructured and messy they appear to be, and yet it all makes sense. Scratchy and angular guitars are stitched together by an experimental and proficient quasi-Drum and Bass rhythm section, incorporating synths and keys that murmur and rumble on amidst the agitated dual vocals. This, I think, works very well indeed. The welcome addition of Wurlitzer organ mid-set provides an extra element in the maelstrom of definite white noise.
Whichever world they are trying to impress upon us, whichever part of the psyche their bitter hurting is attempting to present, the ends eventually justify the means. Blood Brothers are the nightmare you want to keep having again and again and again. And they not the death of nu-metal either. They are the rebirth of punk.
And so, welcomed by hungry applause, Pretty Girls Make Graves take the stage at around 10pm, the Well is packed, as it has been all night. Congratulations to the Collective AKA boys for making it so, (again).
'Speakers Push the Air' begins a wonderful set, which is permeated by a few technical difficulties, but continues on with much appreciation from the crowd assembled. PGMG's brand of fiery post-Emo if I can shamefully use the term, is probably the best form of alternative music available right now. Each song, especially 'Ghosts in the Radio' and 'Three Away', is formulated with such precision skill and individuality, the quality is hard to beat. Andrea Zollo's vocals are accompanied with such a natural style, you could almost say that the sound and performance is organic. It never gets too much. Sweet and sour balanced in perfection, the rhythms and melodies entwined and inverted, not repetitive or monotonous, but simply enjoyable and inspiring all the same.
Although the gig they did last here last year sounded better, (sorry Jock), I wasn't at all dismayed, because the energy and attitude was still retained. Guitars and Drums are spun like a spider's web, woven in an aural cocoon around Zollo up front, who happily delivers her voice over the top of it all.
Pretty Girls Make Graves are one of my favourite bands. The songs from the last album showcased abilities in both composition and technical ingenuity. Live, it's even better. I ardently expect that the new album will gain them the widespread respect they deserve for carrying Punk music forward in such a revitalising manner.
punk garage rock