As a foreword, I’d like to first make it very, very clear that this will undoubtedly be my most decrepit live review ever. My memory was, on this night above others, reserved mainly for vibrations and sensations, nothing solid and easily digestible, so to take a stab at delivering a totally sound and accurate “journalistic” review of this gig would be to stab in vain with a knife made of sorrow. Have a look at the line-up for just one second. Now you know. Proceed.
I arrived late into Venus Sleeps’ set after alighting from the bus too early and getting caught in one of Grafton Street’s infamous human floods, those bastard teenage girls must be out to fucking ruin me. I eventually get to the venue and am instantly treated to what can only be described as some orthodox, Sabbath-worshipping Doom metal for frying brains. It was my first time hearing Venus Sleeps, but it didn’t take much of their set to convince me that these guys fit on the bill like a hand mark on a cheeky step child’s face. I wish I could have heard them from the beginning, but as they say; ‘arrive two hours late to a Doom gig, first band are still on’. Regardless, Venus Sleeps appeared like a well-oiled machine on the stage and with squealing lead guitar work and monolithic tones and battery behind them, they served up enough swollen riff pie to keep me humming for the rest of the night, I think.
Next to the party was Wild Rocket, and by Christ you could get whiplash watching their momentum since the release of Geomagnetic Hallucinations in early July. The only thing stopping this band from taking off from their stage launch pad came in the form of some minor but annoying sound problems which at one point saw the vocal mic cutting out towards the end. Other than that, it was every bit the extraterrestrial wall of sound the crowd had been hoping for. It’s not often you see people dancing, swaying animatedly even, to music in a predominantly metal venue. That’s exactly what you get at a Wild Rocket gig. Animate enough to move slightly, too fucking spaced to move entirely. One of my friends turned to me and gave me ‘the nod’ during their set, this most sacred of nods is reserved for when a band has reduced your brain to a warm dew clinging to the inside of your skull. He was most pleased, we were all most pleased.
During Wild Rocket’s space-synth spiked rock n’ roll trek, I began to fall in love with a gorgeous redhead shaking it in the front row. I never did get her name, as lady alcohol had already dug her nails deep into my flesh at this point and rendered any words I may have had for Red completely useless. If you’re reading this, Red, I bet I can bench more than your boyfriend can. No, no I probably couldn’t.
At this point I can’t remember exactly what space shuttle Slomatics arrived on, but I could certainly hear it landing from the smoking area. Slomatics are more than just rivals to Conan’s colossal and barbaric sound, they bring so much more to the table and that’s very apparent tonight. Splicing cumbersome Doom weight with spacey drones and passages, Slomatics are essentially the sound of a fully operational death star, and it translates to the live arena with fantastic ease. The tracks from their new album Estron are played at harmful, poisonous levels, and those powerful vibrations were rattling us all up like human cocktail shakers. I’d love to give you a definitive set-list here, but I’m afraid that even attempting to pinpoint when one song ended and another began would serve only to send my already fragile mind right into a portal of madness from which it will not return from. There’s no point in trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together in the dark.
I was legless at Headless Kross, and as such; I have only memories that manifest themselves as blurry dream sequences for evidence that this band destroyed. I was definitely punching the air at some point and that can only mean good things. The fact of the matter is that Headless Kross delivered the first time I saw them (It was dangerously close to the same line-up as tonight’s gig as well) and they certainly delivered this time as well. Filthy, rawboned Sludge riffs ricocheted off the walls and provided the perfect drinking soundtrack for those of us beyond help. Headless Kross are a majestic kind of bestial, they make knuckle-dragging Sludgery sound almost regal at times and even though my head certainly wasn’t all there, it’s very, very hard to miss something as polluted and pronounced as this trio from Glasgow. Their sharp as a knife but drunk as hell grooves were the perfect way to end the gig and top off a night defined by pints of Jägermeister and surreal and heavy soundscapes.
According to my long-suffering friends, I ended up striking death poses all the way up the hill to my mate’s road. Death poses, though the body lives on, God help us. If these bastards come back again next year, I may not live to write about it.
Written by Liam Doyle