20th October | Thekla
Photos: Mar Reyes
There is without question a palpable excitement surrounding tonight’s show at Thekla. Potent stories conjured from of a long, heady voyage around the UK results in a triumphant return for Bristol’s inescapable LICE, a band who have been a stand out fixture of the hungry range of groups that have excelled in channelling anxiety and consternation into caustic music this year. As the iron clad boat begins to swell, the sense of community stemming from the attendees and bands involved is cemented, an appreciation and enthusiasm that is felt from Yo No Se’s introductory thrashing of riffs to LICE’s dedication closer to their mates on this tour YOWL. It makes the show an even more impressive prospect, a feverous celebration not only of home grown music but the body of support it creates.
Yo No Se are releasing their first record ‘Soma’ next week, so tonight acts as a short and sweet preview to not only the record but their own forthcoming Bristol hometown show at the end of the month. What has been consistently impressive about the band’s live show is just how massive they sound. As exhibited tonight and at their triumphant Psych Fest set back in July, the band have this unwavering ability to sink deeply within their authoritative, grooving riffs and make them absolutely crystal clear and impactful. ‘The Master’ is a leering, seething temptation, Alex Studer’s voice grating against the hooks’ sharper edges and consistently evaporating tempo. All together it’s surprisingly compact and biting, their wealth of sound not weighing down the energy they possess.
YOWL, much like their compadres in noise LICE, have revelled in an exciting year, and it’s easy to see why such appreciation has been afforded to them. Their perturbed rock n roll slinks and wrenches in equal measure, an overwrought atmosphere building from within the gnawing, residual bouts of bitter chanting that Gabriel Byrde conducts and controls like a drinking hymn for the damned. Live their intensity is paramount, yet whats still available is the commanding hooks that rive from the floorboards in a subtle fashion. ‘My Headache Likes To Speak’ is a much more needling spark, soliciting the existential dread harkening within, Byrde’s vocal stubborn and adamant as he paces the floor which he has occupied, wringing the track for all its vehemence.
Their live set is an interesting insight into their development as a band, the comprehensive set tonight a display of the evolvement they are taking as they really begin to leave their imprint. The emphasis on severity that exudes from favourites ‘Saturday Drag’ and ‘Teeth’ just adds a further sense of character to their music, the crowd exampling the surprisingly responsive nature of their music as they howl along. It’s a legitimately assertive set, and one that incites the notion of a forthcoming authority to their recorded music.
And so to LICE, Bristol’s unyielding regents of cacophony, who bask in the freedom of headlining as they blaze through a set of undeterminable force. Whats most striking throughout is how fully formed the band sound, they could release a record right now and from the affair on display tonight you’d imagine it would distill the intensity and free-flowing creativity that makes them this good in the first place. Alastair longingly peers out across the crowd as they let loose of all constriction, before speed-balling through the vivacious ‘Stammering Bill’ and it’s conviction in nose-diving ferocity. The band as a whole are also musically excellent – the incessant metamorphosis that emanates from their rhythms, Silas and Gareth directing the liberating pandemonium that is compelling yet never around long enough to procrastinate within ‘Little John Waynes’. Much like YOWL, LICE somehow possess an added strength in fervour, whether it be due to the significance of the event or simply the validation from the animated crowd, and it’s a notable moment. ‘Human Parasite’ encompasses all these elements on offer, their technical proficiency whirling up a storm of bodies as the band’s most arguably captivating track spills with hypnotic potency.
The aftermath of such a show is undeterminable at this point. What can be taken from it is that tonight was a significant juncture for the bands playing, their dominance live encapsulating what an exciting year it has been thus far for LICE & YOWL and what should deservedly come for Yo No Se in the near future.
Watch the live video for ‘The Human Parasite’ below.