This one has long been on the list of must-attend no excuses shows. Regardless of what else might be on a few miles away as tonight Matthew the hills are alive with the sound of music. But, there was only one place RPM Online was going to be. With all due respect to other venues in the region and other events taking place this was the only Rodeo we were interested in.
First up – Red Light Syndrome. Ably led by Craigy Rees on vocals and guitar this four-piece are somewhere between Husker du, Lemonheads and early Soul Asylum and to be fair they have crafted some really excellent songs that on first listen sound epic. Opening with ‘Stop’ the quality and passion were evident. In their brief set, they managed to impress those clued up people wise enough to come to see all the bands on offer and it’s obvious they have an understanding of the music that inspired them to put these chords together and write music. Bands like The Replacements spring to mind – sure it’s early in proceedings to lay such mammoth role models upon them but if you’re going to aspire to anyone it might as well be the best in the genre. The excellent ‘See Things Through’ was a highlight much like the closing ‘6 Feet Bellow’ and ‘Heartburn’ what a great opener.
Deathtraps. what can I say about the band who I’ve seen more than my own kids recently – everywhere I go they seem to be as well (not that I’m complaining mind), getting on the bill of some great shows lately and every time I see them they improve on the last time to be fair. (Regardless of that being the night before in this case but you know what I mean) With a decent crowd in front of them, they get to work on demolishing some of their finest tunes (and a few new ones to boot). To be fair the band are hot (not in that way) – na, make that red hot at the moment and playing all these shows are turning people onto their uncompromising Action Rock and Roll as they hammer it home. It’s good that Both Fraser and VJ share vocal duties to mix it up as they motor through the setlist lurching from the bulldozer punk rock not quite as speedy as a Zeke more your Rocket From The Crypt with some of the chord-heavy chops like the outstanding ‘Cool Kids’ which again sounds excellent. I can assure you that Rock and Roll isn’t anywhere near dead with bands like this knocking it out and playing plenty of shows with a variety of bands will win them an ever-increasing following. More of the same next time, please (which I’m sure won’t be far away).
DC Spectres are on next and a twist on the Rock and Roll melon man with their garage fuzz fix high on the menu. With the heat in the venue meaning the walls are perspiring its nice to relax with some Psych fuzzed up surf punk (if there’s such a genre). Imagine The Fuzztones jamming on The Cramps inspired by those Stooges and your somewhere in the same ballpark. As the set got going they really hit their groove and for about ten minutes they were on fire until the dreaded technical hitch sidelined them briefly. Those damned guitar string breaks and the momentum is halted. By the time the band have regrouped and got going again, there wasn’t enough time to regain the same momentum I do think they did enough in half an hour to impress the ever crowd that had gathered and joined them on their journey. The highlights were ‘Later Than You Think’ and a new song I believe was called ‘I Gotta Know’ Which was most excellent. I look forward to seeing them again and what they come up with to follow up the excellent ‘Vibrations’ album.
So, onto tonight’s headliners The Hip Priests. what can possibly be said that hasn’t already been splurged over the internet about our favourite east Midlands fuck ups? Now with brand new six-stringer Ben in situ? I took my place and waited for the sonic solution to all this turmoil around us in society. As I waited to have my hearing interfered with by an hour of the finest Rock and Fucking Roll I was pleased that there was a good turnout considering everything else that was happening in a ten-mile radius of the ‘Port these boys deserve it for always playing South Wales even when South Wales hasn’t turned out in force – maybe the tide is turning and these fucking boys finally get the kudos they thoroughly deserve.
Anyway. tonight begins with a tsunami of sound washing over the attendees but with no lifevests needed as we were all going down together this latest incarnation of the Hip Priests sounds absofuckin’lutely huge! I kid you not. With their best album under their belts, they have every reason to attack these shows with a cocksure swagger (not that it’s stopped them before mind) but this time seems different – if they could bottle this it would be lethal. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll keep on saying it – when you see some bands getting great tour slots and people falling over the sound of some plodding rock like its the second coming of The Stones or the New Stooges has finally arrived it’s one of those scratch your head times as to how can’t others see or hear what you hear. ‘Stand For Nothing’ is the finest loud record recorded by any band on Shit Island in a decade – no question about it. Whilst their audience is slowly growing I can’t believe it’s not exploding.
Anyway, with the dual lead guitar swinging on either side of the stage the band aren’t fucking about and get on with the job of leathering the shit out of the new album. Sparks fly and song after song spills forth from their instruments. from the minute ‘Motherfucker Superior’ attacks you it’s like your being chased down by a pack of rabid dogs such is the ferocity of this current line up.
It’s great to hear some fresh new songs sprinkled throughout the set as ‘Stand For Nothing’, ‘Shit Island’ and ‘Social Hand Grenade’ blend in seamlessly much like the new youf on guitar. With Oz and Ben things seem like they are pushing each other with each song to be better than the last one and they’re rising to the challenge and it seems to have worked superbly well. Weaving in and out of the songs new and old. ‘Deja FU’ and then ‘Cheers To Me’ was a particular high point in the set which only left ‘Sonic Reproducer’ of in the main set.
The audience felt it and I’m sure the band felt it there was something a little different tonight something a bit special was happening and when Von Cruz offered an extra number be it Iggy or Hip Priest original it was the original Hip Priests song that got a louder cheer surely it was a sign? I don’t know what for but I’m sure Lee Love was seen smiling which must be a sign so get out of here and get excited because when the Hip Priests come to your town – which they will do then you make sure you’re there and you’re ready – now, people of Shit Island and further afield what are you going to stand For? Stand for Rock and Fucking Roll and Stand for The Hip Fucking Priests who’s time is now, Right Now!
Author: Dom Daley