Show Me The Body + Island Of Love + Nailbreaker + Piss Machine @ Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes – 28th June 2023


On what promises to be a night of heavy music, Northamptonshire’s Piss Machine set the bar extremely high with their monstrous sound. They’re a three-piece who sound far bigger that their constituent parts, and with no place to hide, each instrument comes to the fore and gets up close and personal. Drenched in feedback, everything is amped up to the max, and delivered by a vocalist whose veins threaten to pop out his neck. Life can be tough for openers, but Piss Machine soon win over the crowd and final cut ‘Not In The Kitchen’ bodes well for future exploits.

Maybe it’s urban desolation, a once proud town now a shell of its former self, but Northampton has been birthing some heavy bands, of all persuasions, of late (see above) and now you can add Nailbreaker to that list. Delivering an earth-shaking and nosebleed-inducing sound, Nailbreaker are a duo who go straight for the jugular, and its only a few technical issues that halt their seemingly unstoppable juggernaut. Vocalist sings from the floor, which only increases the confrontational air that surrounds them; they’re like a fine malt liquor that’s been constantly distilled to its purest form, and the result is highly flammable.

London’s Island Of Love are a pleasantly difficult act to pigeonhole, just when you think you have a bite on them, they veer off on an unsuspected tangent. However, garage-rock would be a loose shoe-in, yet there’s an ambition on display tonight that will find them busting out of any lazy categorisation. Scuzzed-up and fuzzed-up, Island Of Love put the (distortion) pedal-to-the-metal and rarely let up over the course of 30 furious minutes. The band don’t take themselves too seriously, and this provides a litheness that contrasts well with their heavy sound. This quintet display an obvious chemistry and handle the neat time changes with an enviable ease, and this means their set flows smoothly and seamlessly. Having just released their eponymously-titled album via Jack White’s Third Man Records, it seems that the world is Island Of Love’s oyster. Believe the hype.

An amalgamation of several forms of extreme music, New York’s Show Me The Body aren’t for the weak of constitution, and the band’s backdrop, three coffins set ablaze, burning angry yellow flames, offers a frightening glimpse of what’s to come. It sends a prophetic message, one that is both enticing and fear-inspiring. A sense of anticipation crackles the air, and it is stretched to breaking point by an elongated intro that tests the patience of many present. This means that when the band take to the stage and the first chord rings out (and I mean the very first chord) the crowd erupts like a primed bomb that’s reached the end of its taper. ‘Out Of Place’ is the opening shot, and it is the cue for all hell to break loose in the pit with bodies slamming into each other like dodgems at a fairground. With the band wound up tighter than a drum, there’s absolutely no filler here, and Show Me The Body take the most direct route to what the f*ck it’s all about.

As the band blast through a career-spanning set list, they leave absolutely nothing in reserve, and not since the Rollins Band, London, 2001, have I felt such energy radiating from a stage. Show Me The Body play like there’s no tomorrow, as if this is there very last show (thankfully, it’s not) and they leave it all on the stage. Imagine classic Madball jamming with Minor Threat, and you’d have something approaching the ferocity of this New York mob. At just 55-minutes, this set is relatively brief, yet Show Me The Body have packed more into this show than most bands pack into an entire career.