On the very day that "The Stooges" released their first new album in about 30 years, I'm in a packed venue watching two bands that could be Iggy and Co's great grandchildren, and just like ole Ig, they are ripping the faces off a rabid Welsh crowd of fans and general fuck ups.
Openers are Australian/Brummie rockers "The Scare". They have the garage look down to a tee, but ply a more angular caustic set of wares than say your "Hives" or "Randy" might deliver. So songs run at very odd tangents with an almost "Refused - lite" sort of vibe. In frontman "Kriss Reid" they also have a bona fide star. This is a band who are not only compelling to watch but also to listen to.
Watford's very own "Gallows" on the other hand waste little time fucking around with intricate time changes and the like. With these guys (or is it boys? as they look about 15 off stage) it's shirts off, heads down, and grab a head full of this. Kicking off with the venomous bile that is "Just Because You Sleep Next To Me Doesn't Mean Your Safe", brothers "Frank and Steph Carter" (vocals and guitar respectively) have suddenly changed from the young looking kids I mentioned into absolute crazed tattooed animals. If you could imagine putting a primetime early 80's "Cockney Rejects" crowd on stage with instruments, then this is exactly the aggro-punk they would chuck out.
The passion and commitment of the bands live delivery is never more evident than in "Will Someone Shoot That Fucking Snake" where every swear word (and there are many) is delivered like 'you' are the intended target, and during "Abandon Ship" there really are more band members in the crowd than on stage. Jesus this isn't a gig; it's more like a full on contact sport.
Album faves "Come Friendly Bombs", "Six Years" and " In The Belly of The Shark" all stand up extremely well in the headline slot scenario, and the set at 50 minutes is now twice as long as that usually delivered in "Gallows" history of supporting bands as diverse as "MC5" and "Bullet For My Valentine".
During set closer and album title track "Orchestra of Wolves", "The Scare" rejoin their touring buddies and this allows mayhem as yet unseen in Cardiff Barfly to unfold. People are literally everywhere with different members of both bands singing the songs call to arms outro, then no sooner had it begun it's all over and the madness subsides into the night.
There are three things that elevate "Gallows" above the current scene, these are 1) they have great songs 2) they are genuinely fucking mad and 3) they also are eloquent and honest in their performance and that for me on its own is real punk rock.
Catch these guys before
they get sucked into the masses (Vans Warped awaits them this Summer), especially
if you like living on the edge when you go see a band.
by Johnny H.