Bad Mannequins // West Thebarton // Holy Piranha // Lucids – King Tut’s -- 13/08/18
Headliners Bad Mannequins were professional in sound and performance, yet still manage to have a palpably great time on stage. Bouncing off each other, the two-piece do what a good piece should – sound bigger and better than they have a right to. Blues, grit, and blistering tempo will give the reader a rough idea of their sound. The songs were catchy, and the fast-paced lyrics found in songs like “I hate You” and new single “Roller Derby Wrecking Machine” were choppy, percussive, and added an extra rhythmic element to the music. Every square inch of the sonic wall the guys produced filled the room well, thanks to the space-age looking pedal set-up used by frontman Ross Hamilton, where he combines two guitar amps and a bass amp. Switching tastefully between amps during the songs requires a separate skill to simply being good at guitar, all the while delivering complex vocals. In turn, drummer Jamie McGrory drives the beat religiously, keeping things simple and allowing flourishes of chops and prowess to appear here and there, to add some flavour. Decent melodies and punchy tracks go down well with any live audience and King Tut’s was no exception. Catch Bad Mannequins whenever you can, a delightful band to watch.
Garage/Grunge South Australians West Thebarton are a unique band, more like an extended collective, since there are seven of them on stage at once, and can have up to five guitars screeching over each other, a smaller band cannot compete with that noise, power and attitude. The drums are fierce, the bass is menacing, and each guitarist has their own feel and part to play within the music. Singer Reverend Ray has command of the stage, and partnered with his nail-gargling timbre, this band gave a proper go at a highly saturated genre in the international music scene. Everyone on stage rocks out hard which increases the temperature noticeably in the room, all seven members are tight to the beat and to the melody, a real triumph, it’s not surprising they have a good name in Australia and have landed some prominent festival and small venue headline slots across the UK this summer. Go and see them, but bring ear plugs.
Second on the bill, Holy Piranha provided a classic three-piece grunge feeling to the evening. The drums, by Nicky, were loud, and the bass, from Bat, pumping. Claw had an interestingly twangy sound to his guitar, reminiscent of 60s surf vibes, which was a welcome twist to an otherwise cliché sound. It’s hard to move a relatively empty room early into the evening, but the guys played their set with pride and authenticity.
Lucids were the opening act, and four nicely turned out guys played some very soft atmospheric shoegaze-esque pop/rock. Unfortunately, in the local live setting more delicate vocals don’t have the desired effect over cymbals and guitar amplifiers, but the guys managed a relaxed set which included single “The Fall” available on Spotify and other streaming services. Washy guitars can be nice, but sometimes too many pedals can water down the sound that reaches the ears of the crowd. There was perhaps a lack of ‘oomph’ to their set compared to the other acts on display, but the songs themselves were nicely written. No doubt the guys will continue to play and grow and further perfect their sound.
Overall an excellent night with a whole range of sounds on display, the Australians were a real treat, and Bad Mannequins showed the rest of us exactly how it’s done.