30th October | The Louisiana
There’s something so obviously unrelenting about a punk show that it’s difficult to quite place how its going to make you feel in the long run after the show has concluded. The caustic nature of it all can be empowering and vitalising and it can also be darker and more personal, exploring the depths of something more destructive and complicated. London trio Slowcoaches have thrived for a while now providing a whole lot of both. Their first full-length, 2016’s super charged and gritty Nothing Gives, explores personal grief through broad social commentary that ferments in the very heart of modern day mundanity, whilst sounding utterly vivacious, reminding everyone that maybe everyone isn’t so alone within it all. Live, this dynamic balance truly comes to the fore, the trio delivering an intense and irrepressible set that aptly lets their intensity loose.
Modern Rituals round out a bunch of shows around the South West with an opening set that is politely watched, but definitely deserves a deeper, more considered listen. Their music is brash and lingering live, the group exploring a varying range between reciprocative noise and a more considered, atmospheric disposition that certainly adds a thicker layer of mysticism to their sound. In the context of this show, it perhaps feels a little too weighted, but it’s enjoyable none the less, the band animated and technically excellent as they delve into the active fluidity they have as a group.
Birdskulls are always a liberating live proposition, their passionate punk holding a looser, more raucous essence when delivered on stage. It’s particularly evident this evening, as the trio rip through songs old and new with feral vivacity, the emphatic hooks coming to the fore through the minimalism of their set-up. ‘Over It’ is a more focused bout of powering through existential dread, Jack Pulman tearing from his throat as he exhales with gritted utterance, while the bass rattles with pace and the drums teeter under the controlled chaos of Sam Rack to make something unbound and assertive in equal measure. When they are playing with this seamless sense of freedom, the songs really shine – ‘Good Enough’ is an antagonistic beast, channeling self-depreciation and anxiety into a biting chorus that will stick with you like a mantra for defiance, while ‘Rolling Tongue’ remains the complete highlight, a shout along anthem that takes its fuzzier notions and channels them live into bracing vehemence that distills what was always so great about them in the first place.
It leads well into Slowcoaches’ fierce show, one that sparks with exasperation and deep provocation as the trio bound through a sharp performance. Heather Perkins is incensed and occupied within the brittle nature of their music, delivering with a deep drawl that lingers around ‘Raw Dealings’ acute and surprisingly melodic rhythms as the fluctuating bass rollicks to and throw. Their hooks shine brightly throughout their set, the turbulent nature of their sound only intensifying the melodies as the band display their distinct togetherness. ‘Living Out’ is a blink and you’ll miss it moment, Perkins locking eyes with the crowd as the band speed through its compelling foundations, while latest single ‘Complex’ is a brooding notion, the serious thematic direction purposefully not lost live as the minimal opening instills a sense of optimistic influence in the importance of having a voice and how you can use it.
A sharp and unambiguous band, Slowcoaches don’t hide behind anything, and it makes for a supremely gratifying live show, as they rip through the renunciation chant of ‘We’re So Heavy’, this truly comes to the fore as the band proves themselves to be one of the UK’s most underrated punk prospects.
Watch the video for ‘Complex’ below.