12th May | The White Rabbit
The White Rabbit is a venue revered the town over for its… pizza. Apparently, it’s also a great little spot to catch the best of Breakfast Records for the bargain price of £3. Who knew? Well apparently quite a few people, actually: the label are infamous for hosting nights at the White Rabbit and they’re usually packed out, Saturday being no exception.
So, even if Great Western Rail let you down again and you turn up three songs into Langkamer’s set, being greeted on arrival by Joe Sherrin himself, cheeky grin and stamp akimbo, makes you feel as though life has dealt you a good hand.
With the colourful lurches of surfer-grunge emanating across the room, a condensed sea of oversized t-shirts and ankle grazers swamped the area and a hum of satisfied approval matched the warm hue of the fairy lights. Saturday promised a night of cacophonous, lurching guitar, shot through with webs of crystalline melody and a whole lot of beer.
Though it’s not exactly an original comparison in the current musical landscape, Langkamer’s music harks back to that of early Pixies – in that it’s bloody great and it’s also a lot of fun. On top of that, they’ve got some real gems stacked amongst their set, such as penultimate number, ‘The Earthquake’: a delicious amalgamation of Fleetwood Mac and Dinosaur Jr.
Cagework’s Samuel Bedford has a voice so distinctively alike Jack Steadman’s, that upon hearing them you’re momentarily transported back to a haze of early Bombay Bicycle Club-like distortion and shoegazey warmth, but with shedloads of cymbal action and a touch more edge. “I don’t know if any of you have ever been in a band with people you really hate – it’s very testing,” quipped Bedford. Everyone was a joker on Saturday at the White Rabbit.
The atmosphere was jovial; everyone seemed to be smiling about something, and it didn’t much matter why, because the mood was contagious. We were all wearing silly grins by the time Slonk took to the stage. In a setting like this, and following on from the effervescence that Langkamer and Cagework had drummed up, experiencing Slonk felt like watching a long-awaited homecoming show.
Sure there’s a lot of low-fi, emo withdrawal in the tracks, but in a live environment, the folk really comes through and there’s no denying that brothers Joe (Slonk) and Harry Sherrin (Flat Rufus) are a charismatic set of fellows with a lot of dedicated followers in the local music scene. “It’s going to be 70% tuning tonight,” laughed Joe, and though this turned out to be half true, it did nothing to encumber the proceedings, only increasing the intimacy of the whole affair.
With violin gliding poignantly across the hammering set, Slonk delivered track after track with mounting animation, including latest release, ‘Guarantee,’ old favourite, ‘I’m Pursuing a Career Outside Of Conveyancing,’ and ‘Jane’s Boots,’ in which Kate Stapley accompanied them on stage. By the last song, Slonk seemed to have grown by about 50 members and it became very clear why the t-shirts had sold out so quickly. It’s on rare occasions that you get to be part of such a supportive and stimulating environment, and this is what makes Breakfast Records’ gigs so alluring (that, and the talent, of course).