“It’s Record Store Day,” announces Menace Beach’s Ryan Needham to the cheers of The Old Blue Last. “I feel like there’s been some people moaning about it being monopolised by the major labels,” he continues, a glass-collecting basket held aloft in the far corner, before taking a slight pause. “Oh fuck off, you miserable cunts, it’s just a bit of fun,” he finishes to yells of agreement before Menace Beach carry on proving just how much fun Record Store Day can be, as they headline a special DIY RSD party.
Leeds two-piece Bruising are on first, bulked up by the addition of two extra members, and their head-rattling scuzz is much more potent for of it. The vocal harmonies cut through their noisy rhythm with finesse, acting as a constant pendulum swing that grounds the whole affair. And it’s an anchor the band relish, as the tumbling thrash of their music swells and crashes without apology or warning. It’s a rowdy marriage that fits The Old Blue Last like a glove and as ‘Honey’ draws things to a pointed close, all hypnotic melodies and crashed dancing, they’ve drawn the audience close to their fire, desperate to hear the details of the story’s end.
Simmer on the other hand keep the crowd at arms length. With a four tap count in, the Cheshire four-piece dive into ‘Douse’ and don’t really come up for air until they finish. Choppy instrumentals make for a rugged landscape and their vocals push up against it, bleeding together in an atmospheric whir. Racing through their set, guitars are tuned while the rhythm section leans into the next song, helping Simmer create a fraught ambience that underlines the fragility of their rattling rock. New material from an upcoming debut is aired and sees them take a more dynamic turn, with the playful loud/quiet contrast giving richer colour to their pallette. As they bring things to a close, instrumentals are already half-off, they haven’t wasted a second of their time onstage and they’re not going to start now.
It’s a feeling that’s echoed as Menace Beach take to the stage and fall into ‘Tastes Like Medicine’. From its opening kick, the mood of the packed Old Blue Last changes into one of celebration and Menace Beach are in their element.
Their debut album ‘Ratworld’ is only a few months old but already the band are straying from its beaten track. The tightly wound pace is relaxed in a live environment as the band toy with contrast, giving the polished, jangling abandon some teeth. ‘Elastic’ emerges as a ready-made festival anthem, built for crowds of cheering, rowdy people and tonight that’s just what The Old Blue Last provides while ‘Dig It Up’s’ dual vocals, hunched and upright, gives them a shaking, stuttering brilliance. A closing one-two of ‘Drop Out’ and an extended ‘Lowtalkin’’ sees the band lead the room in an eye-closed wander through atmosphere before they explode with screaming vocal loops and bratty reckless snarls, highlighting their dynamic wonder and bringing Record Store Day to an end in superb fashion.
Photos: Carolina Faruolo
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