Review & Photos by Paul Broome
Midlands, do you appreciate just how good you’ve got it at the moment? Do you? Because sometimes I think you take this shit for granted. You, my friend, are at the very epicentre of what is fast becoming another golden era for home-grown earthy, noisy, honest, loud, intelligent rock music. There is a rich picking of young talent out there, some great venues, and we also now have more independent record shops, independent labels, artists, and all-round enthusiastic bods in our borough than we’ve had for years.
The fact that two out of my current three favourite bands (in the whole wild world) were on the bill tonight – and they are both local bands – is more than a thrill. It’s an inspiration. It’s the fuel to keep this mother burning, and there are many highs to come yet.
Them Wolves are a mighty prospect at the best of times, and even given the short straw of kicking proceedings off, in the confines of the Vic’s upstairs room their power was instantly compelling. Bassist and vocalist Greg battered his mic into submission, careening the aural juggernaut with finesse down the craggy canyons of Noel’s intense percussion, while Stuart darted in and out of the spaces with slathers and smashes of vicious guitar – spitting his vocal responses across the stage at Greg. By the time ‘Wolf Song’ completed their all too brief set, the sweat was dripping in the crowd and on the stage.
God Damn. What can I say about God Damn that hasn’t been said before? Not much, but given the way they have risen over their recent history and setbacks there’s always an eagerness to welcome them back to town. Their performance was truly sublime. Ash and Thom have really found a way to make the band work in its current reduced form, and while I know everyone is keen to welcome Dave back to the fold when he’s fully recovered, he must be so proud to see the lads doing everything to keep his place warm. The set list was jam-packed solid with songs that are already classics, with the Heavy Money tracks especially standing out. ‘Red Checker’ and the closing ‘Dangle Like Skeletons’ were… well, I’ve already used ‘sublime’. But they were that.
But where are my manners? Cracking on like this about our prodigious local talent – breaking headline: Wet Nuns will soon be no more. This was to be their swan song in the city of Birmingham. Never shall they return again. (Or shall they? Well, we’ll see…). So the Nuns took the stage in a sold out venue already warmed to Krakatoan levels and proceeded to blister the audience with a set of their classic noise blues punk anthems. The atmosphere was surprisingly light and jovial, and maybe the audience struggled a little to work themselves back up again after the highs of God Damn’s set, but Rob and Alexis gave it 100% and that trademark tightness between the two of them was plain to see. Recent single ‘Hanging’ sounded great live, and hinted at a direction that they may have taken had they but persisted beyond this first album.
Who knows, maybe the split is an elaborate ploy – we can but hope, because I just get the sense that they could have gone from being a great live band to being something really quite special.