- Uber Rock Live Review
Goat Leaf/ Zodiac N Black/Trigger McPoopshute - Abertillery, The Dolls House - 21st April 2013 Written by Johnny H (the fake one) Friday, 03 May 2013 03:40
When my junior comprehensive maths teacher (a guy we affectionately referred to as Egghead) told me back in the early eighties that I’d never be any good at his chosen subject it made me so determined to pass that exam that years on I believe my hair actually fell out as a tribute to my teenage baldy longhair mentor. All joking aside though what that teacher actually did teach me was the hard and fast of how appreciate what I truly had within my grasp and to also live within my means. To seize the day, so to speak. I’m pretty sure he did also teach me how to do algebra at some point too but I’ve long since forgotten all that stuff.
So why bring this up now? Well here’s a simple piece of maths for you. For every arena rock show you buy a ticket for, at say £60, think of how many other nights out you could go out and enjoy with your mates watching local or touring bands playing a club or pub near you, for say £5? That’s potentially eleven more gigs you could go to a year, before you even start to think about the extra money involved in getting to an enormodome. Then when you do start to consider all of the extras involved think of the fact that T shirts at a club/pub gig normally cost £10 instead of £25, a pint of ale normally cost £3 instead of £6, and hopefully by now you are starting to see where I’m coming from.
That’s why when Johnny H (the real one) guitarist of Goat Leaf first approached Gaz E and myself about helping promote a five date club/pub tour he was putting together with Zodiac N Black we immediately leapt at the chance to help what we see as the real rock ‘n’ roll underground! Taking in venues in Nottingham, Edinburgh, Sheffield, London and of course Abertillery Rock City the maximum you would pay to see the bands on any given night was £5, and that really struck a chord with our DIY “keeping music alive” ethos.
It’s a shame then that with all the efforts made by the bands promoters and of course all of us here at Uber Rock to plug this tour that the date in Abertillery home of Uber Rock is perhaps the lowest attended show of the tour so far. It’s still a decent turn out for a Sunday night though, and everyone else’s loss is our gain, it’s just so cool to be able to mix and mingle with old friends and three bands who actually give a fuck about local live music
So with the maths and musical politics behind this Uber Rock endorsed tour out of the way let the music commence, and filling the local support slot tonight we had Abertillery’s very own sonic terrorists Trigger McPoopshute. All the old favorites were present tonight, Plug’s House’, ‘Mr. Motherfucker’, the evergreen ‘Sheep’ and the band’s signature tune all sped by faster than a Corsa driven by tangerine coloured teens. But it is the band’s newer tunes that once again show how much Trigger have developed as songwriters by simply getting out there and playing loads of gigs. Newest track ‘Race Card’ is a little heavier and darker than the likes of ‘Salty Dogs’, ‘VAT Night’ and ‘Skid Marks & Spencer’ but the same self deprecating twisted view of life is prevalent throughout, and that is what makes Sutton and the McPoopshuters so unmissable live never mind how many times you have to suff…sorry I mean watch them.
As Trigger prepare to once again saddle up and spreads their wings, (and no doubt butt cheeks), to play a series of shows much farther a field, tonight proved to be the perfect warm up for their further adventures – expect to see them soon at a XX X cinema somewhere near you.
With the evening warming up nicely and the superb sound system in the Dolls House blasting out a quality soundtrack, it was up to London alterno mob Zodiac N Black to set the bar for their Northern touring partners. Emerging slowly through a sea of swirling dry ice and subdued lighting frontman Jad lingers just out of sight before finally his three band mates unleash the beast known as ‘Bastinado’ in a blur of energy and heavy-duty riffage. Anyone who has heard the band’s uber approved debut album ‘The Aftermyth’ will pretty much know already what to expect from the ZNB team but to yours truly (yeah I admit I’d not managed to really get into the album at this point) I’m actually stunned by just how intense the guys sound live. Case in point ‘Only The Lonely’ which in the live setting overcomes the rather obvious initial doff of the cap to RATM to become a sweeping epic much more akin to say Soundgarden or Pearl Jam. Yup it’s arena rock at pub prices, and you certainly don’t get this every night of the week.
Highlight of the band’s set for me was the awesome ‘Better Off Dead’ a track that was as tight as the skin on the faces of the cast of any American cop show on Sky Atlantic right now, again the grandiose nature of the songwriting totally transcending its humble beginnings and current surroundings.
Looking back at my notes now, the scribbling that perhaps sums up just how impressive Zodiac N Black were tonight simply said “these guys uber rock”, plus they are also probably the only band with a five stringed bass player in their ranks that I actually own an album by, and I think that just about says it all.
Quickly picking up my CD copy of ‘The Aftermyth’ on the Zodiac N Black merch table later on, I’m now looking forward to album number two because these guys really have so much to offer the rock ‘n’ roll Überverse.
Talking of visits to merch tables, I must raise a goblet of virgin’s blood to the current batch of devilishly themed Goat Leaf shirts, they are just soooooo fucking cool you can’t just buy one, you have to buy two, and chatting with the Johnny H afterwards it appears I’m not alone in thinking this, as these shirts have literally been riding out the doors on their cloven hoofs on this tour, thus providing the band with much needed fuel money and helping keep things ticking over rather nicely thank you. As I’ve stated before this is real punk rock, the proper rock ‘n’ roll underground, and this folks is what it’s really like to be in a band.
Not that Goat Leaf mind this hard work you understand, they are seemingly as happy as pigs in the proverbial just to have an enthusiastic audience of diehards to play to, people who have either seen the band before on their two previous visits to Abertillery, or have heard about them through word of mouth, and this just seems to suit the band’s ethos, of work hard. play hard, something they like to refer to as “No Class Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
Not that the Goat Leaf guys are anything other than “total class” live of course, as they tear into a set littered with soon to be classics from the band’s second album, like title track ‘A Lack Of Oxygen’, the swaggering ‘Truth Be Told’ or the riotous set closer ‘Wolf Bag’. Being drawn into the maelstrom of soundscapes that Goat Leaf conjure up live is almost like viewing the world through a fish eyed lens whilst your retinas have oil projections burned into them, it’s pretty far out stuff, that never once loses it’s heavy roots, albeit we are talking Iron Butterfly heavy here or Blue Cheer, because Goat Leaf really do echo that generation of original heavy bands, where it wasn’t about the racks of amps or guitar effects that were used to create a sound, it was all down to the vibe or groove of a track, and that is what songs like Monkey Chains & Rat Kings and (perhaps my favourite song by the band) ‘ Ain’t Got Time To Bleed’ deliver in spades. I really could listen to Goat Leaf all night; because once they have drawn you in there really is no escaping.
Not that the band want us to get away anytime soon anyway, as during the sludge fest that is ‘Love Under Will’ frontman Jonny Maycock is professing he’s” buzzing his tits off” whilst around him is total chaos, John Hodgson on guitar is doing his best Ritchie Blackmore impression rolling around on the floor slaying his Stratocaster, whilst perma headbanging bassist David A Main is like a human metronome locked into the rock steady beats of Mat Washington which are holding this Goat Leaf phenomena together like some special four to the floor stoner glue. It’s all riveting stuff that has the audience totally entranced, and the best part being for all of us, it only cost £3 to get in tonight.
Look I cannot in any way attribute my (cough) superb taste in music to my old maths teacher but you really don’t have to be an Egghead to spot total class rock ‘n’ roll when you see it, and this bill was just that.... total class! Something for which Uber Rock salutes you Goat Leaf and Zodiac N Black (plus the five local support bands you added for each of the nights you played together), long may your rock n roll juggernaut roll on into the night and long may you continue to wow audiences just like you did in my home town tonight.
Right on to the real, and death to the fakers.