Tuesday night in Bristol and The Fleece is packed, those who had decided to venture out were good judges as they were in for a master-class in showmanship. The majority of the crowd are still outside enjoying the early evening sunshine, smoking and shooting the breeze when openers The Rock-it Dogs get the ball rolling, or rather rockin’. It’s been a while and a change of personnel since their début album caused a bit of a stir on the Psychobilly circuit and beyond. There is another album on the way and it promises to be one worth the wait as the trio are a polished and confident unit who by the end of their self-penned set had drawn most people inside to witness it, front-man Kris has excellent stage presence while the rhythm section nail it.
The Koffin Kats appear to be permanently on the road, and it shows. Their music has a touch of Horrorpunk about it in but is by no means morose, the stage show they put on is jaw-dropping. The bassist appears to be able to defy gravity even playing his instrument held upside-down with one hand at one point, but it is near the end of the set that had the crowd gasping. With a deft switch bass and guitar are in different hands and the band plays on not missing a note. The Koffin Kats would no doubt be forgiven if this swap was in the midst of a relatively basic tune, but it’s not, bass player and guitarist appear to be as proficient in either instrument, in playing as well as climbing tricks. Their set comes to an end in a crescendo of flaying limbs, bass and guitar and a pit at boiling point.
The Creepshow had a lot to follow but they are a different beast again and did so with ease. They are another band whose act is well-honed and had the confidence to blast headlong into some of their better-known material. Their organ caressed pop-hook infused psychobilly transfers well from recorded to live and was lapped up from the off-set. Sarah Blackwood was all over the stage and belied her diminutive size with powerful voice and guitar playing., unsurprisingly a pit had developed down at the front and before you knew it she was straight into it. From my vantage point it was as if she’d been swallowed in a quicksand of sweaty moshers, my ears told me she was still alive and playing though then my eyes confirmed as she appeared in all her glory on the bar at the other end of the room. A mention has to be given to the sound that appeared to be spot on for all three bands with no a hint of feedback despite the animation on and off stage.
The antics had the crowd clamouring for more only for a string to be broken a most inopportune moment, where is a roadie with a back-up guitar when you need one? A bit of ad-libbing with a couple of jokes and a replaced string later and they hurled back into the set regaining what little momentum they had lost with the audience seemingly knowing every word to every song. They were in for a bit more participation with Sarah heading back into the Bristol pit, it was an eddy by this point as opposed to the whirlpool it had been as spooky dead-girl revenge girl tune ‘Sleep Tight’ was harmonised by the band with the singer twanging away in the midst of some extremely sweaty and well-chuffed punters.
The best time they have ever had in England claimed the band, I know we’ve heard it all before but this time I’m pretty certain they meant it having proved to a room full of extremely happy people that Tuesday nights are indeed worth going out for.
The Creepshow’s album ‘They All Fall Down’ is out now on People Like You records.
(c) Simon Nott