Thursday 31 October 2013

Live Review : Black Tusk, Alter Ego, Manchester, UK, 9th October 2013

Black Tusk Live Review
Manchester, Alter Ego 9th October 2013

There are a maximum of 30 people in the room. Bassist Jonathan Athon is admirably honest to say that it hurts playing to so few people, it can be demeaning. To travel half way across the world to play to a small cluster of fans can be a harsh reality check. Yet, those in attendance more than make up for the lack of numbers. Drinks flow and everyone can get up close and personal with the band, creating a constant stream of interaction between the two. For a band so used to playing house parties for fun in their home town of Georgia, this was an extension of that.

Main man Andrew Fidler warned me before the show that it was going to be loud. I may have underestimated the statement. In the tight confines of the venue their dirty, snarling sound pinballed off the walls as Enemy of Reason pounded at your ear drums.

Black Tusk are a no frills kind of band and they show they produced exemplified that in the best possible fashion. Their simplistic songs had brilliant driving rhythms that shook the floor and got the crowd moving.

The ferocious Truth Untold draws the best reaction of the night and gets a few more heads banging and Athon jumps into the crowd to make things even more intimate.   

Fidler’s rasping guitar tone and Athon’s booming bass combined to form a giant wall of sound, all underpinned by James May’s (no, not that one) animalistic drum work. It was a set packing enough punch and power to full crowds four times the size as this one, which seemed a crying shame that they aren’t doing that. But they played with full hearts, giving every second, every note everything that possibly had to give. The music industry can be harsh and cruel, but here we witnessed a courage and determination that, if there is any justice, will pay dividends in the long run.

It was, in all, a fantastic show. But, there was always a lingering sense of disappointment in the air, from both the band and the fans. The small audience never quite mustered up the party atmosphere this band required, that the night required to make it truly special.

Words by : Phil Weller

You can read Phil's review of Black Tusk's latest record here