A queue has formed outside the Bodega Social on Wednesday, October 29th. It’s just 6pm. Doors ain’t gonna open for another 90 minutes. There are just THREE tickets left for one of the HOTTEST gigs in Nottingham this year. Three bands. £7. JUST SEVEN QUID. To the relief of a couple of guys looking for tickets, it turns out that three at the front of the queue already have theirs safely tucked away. They just can’t wait to get in, and get to the front. It’ll be loud. It’ll be chaotic. They already know that.
“Too sly, In your ways, You said you never did nothing, But I’ll debate, In your eyes, On your face, We were waiting for something, Out of place.” “Opaque”, Eagulls.
As 2014 comes to a close, music zines, record stores, etc., etc. are compiling their Top 10s of the years. Eagulls’ self-titled debut album seems to be somewhere near the top of most lists. Opening up with a new, untitled song shows a measure of confidence and strength in their song-writing, and their need to continue to tackle the detritus and despair present in life today; everyday themes for everyday people. The crowd is warmed up. Next up is “Tough Luck”, words dealing with birth defects, and it all kicks off in the mosh pit. Young and old-ish get involved.
George Mitchell’s vocals are screeching at times, imploring, beseeching, calling out, demanding to be listened to. Guitar work by Mark Goldsworthy and Liam Matthew is exceptional, delivering ridiculous speed with accuracy, supported by driving basslines and drumbeats by Tom Kelly and Henry Ruddel. Eagulls have achieved the knack of 1980s-type perfect sub-four minute punk songs. And then they stop. And then straight into the next song. Highlights were “Opaque”, a catchy enough tune, but supported by lyrics dealing with despicable deceit, and a seemingly non-stop, frenzied “Soulless Youth”, Mitchell crying out, “When all that is wrong has seemed right.“ And the pit, and everyone else, went mad for it. “Possessed” followed, and then it was all over. Come back, we want more, we need more. Eagulls are more than a drug in the blood…much more permanent than that…
“Wait to come next then I drop down the road, like a big dead weight falling through the devil’s claws, To you, to you, to you.” “Seizure”, Autobahn.
Preceding Eagulls, fellow-Leeds band, Autobahn brought their dark psychedelic, punk-inspired bass with riffs and reverb to Nottingham for the first time. Echoes of Joy Division and Bauhaus are ever present, and in final song, “Seizure”, Craig Johnson’s strong vocals are reminiscent of Peter Murphy on the Bauhaus cover of Brian Eno’s “Third Uncle”. A seven-song set, opening with “Missing in Action” and “Pale Skin” seemed too short by far. Autobahn deserve your attention, and check out “Force Fed”, with its Hookey-esque bassline and Curtis-inspired delivery. Brilliant stuff.
“I was falling apart it seems, emotions haunt my dreams, R.I.P. on your status update, show the world you care before its too late, recycled, redundant, we eat our own tail, recycled, redundant, destined to fail.” “John Says So”, White Finger.
White Finger kicked off the evening’s festivities. The hometown band wasted no time getting into their stride, performing to a decent-sized crowd. Recent support, which has generated strong reviews, to the Sleaford Mods (twice) and Kagoule ensured a good gathering. With Pissed Jeans / Ex-Cult influences, White Finger’s intentions to pulverize, smash and destroy were signalled with the opener Slow Patty to their own seven-song set.
Lead singer Bell made use of the stage like few others do. Closing track, “Waste City Records”, had Bell shouting out, “When I get home, I want to smash it up, no control now, I am a complete mess, so what?”, and bouncing around – forwards and backwards, clambering over guitarists and drummer alike, leaping Banshee-like into the crowd, falling, lying face contorted, and back up again – he is hooked up, virtually, to pure adrenalin. Most bands grab a cold beer or two after delivering a pumped-up set – someone should get these guys a massage and a chiropractor too.
And, finally, a big shout-out for The Bodega Social’s booker. THREE TOP BANDS for SEVEN QUID. I’ve never seen it so packed out.