We’re just over three weeks into 2020 and tonight I’m ticking off gig number three just 24 hours after a BellRays show that will probably end up in my gigs of the year by heading across the Severn estuary for a night of bovver rock courtesy of Italian stallions Giuda and UK (angelic?) upstarts Hard Wax.
Also on the bill and opening proceedings tonight are local(ish) four piece BullyBones who take the stage looking like villains from a long lost episode of The Sweeney and specialise in a brand of 60’s garage rock perhaps more akin to last night’s headliner than tonight’s. A sneaky cover of Gary Glitter’s ‘Do You Wanna Touch Me’ mid set though manages to win over pretty much anyone who wasn’t on the side of the BullyBones bad boys. Driven by the powerhouse rhythm section of drummer Owain Casey and bassist Illy Webster (who somehow manages to wear his Rickenbacker even higher than Joey DeMaio) guitarist Aaron Lee paints a very Pebbles-y picture over which singer Charlie Pullinger lays bare his Iggy meets Jack Daniels (as in Alan Lake’s character in Slade In Flame) soul. The lads have a new 7” single due soon and I can’t help but wonder if it’s time to dig those old turtle neck sweaters out of the sideboard as we might be about to witness an all new Beat generation with BullyBones leading it.
Quickly swapping my Chelsea boots for some 14 eye oxblood Dr Marten’s and I’m all set up for Hard Wax to deliver some of their solid gold bovver rock anthems, having really enjoyed the band’s ‘This Is The Sound’ album released at the tail end of 2019. Live, though what this still relatively “new” Hard Wax line up might be missing in both stage craft and attitude is thankfully made up for by those songs, with the highlights being the title track and ‘Have a Good Time’. It is, however, the tracks I’d not heard before, like ‘Bootboy Stomp’ and ‘Kings Of The Weekend’ that actually stand out, which makes me wonder why I’ve not yet ventured further into the band’s back catalogue?
A band I’ve very much been with from the start are tonight’s headliners Giuda, I remember when ‘Racey Roller’ first graced the deathdecks at Uber Rock Towers (as was) a full decade or so ago and it just made all of us stop in our tracks and ask “what the fuck is this?” Very much a band out of time, I’ve witnessed the rock ‘n’ roll fever that the Italians have been spreading at festivals across Europe and at selected UK headline shows, but never before tonight at a gig within a half hour drive of my home and never before in a venue as tightly packed as Bristol’s Louisiana.
With the prospect of the band’s boot stomping anthems delivering the upstairs venue into the bar below I take up a place near the edge of the front few rows (which is refreshing to see is about 80% female) safe in the knowledge that if I’m going to re-enact the ‘Shake Your Foundations’ music video then I’m going down dancing, and from opener ‘Overdrive’ (with all its glorious and rather apt AC/DC overtones) for the next 60 minutes that’s pretty much what everyone does. There’s no time for chat it’s all about great music as the likes of ‘Back Home’ and ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’ whistle past our ears like rock ‘n’ roll rockets and I defy anyone to not have their thumbs in their belt loops for the likes of ‘Number Ten’ and ‘Teenage Rebel’. The only problem is it’s all over way too soon, and after a four song encore we’re left to all wander off down the banks of the River Avon all Warriors-like to the strains of Joe Walsh’s ‘In The City’ booming from the PA. Still as endings go that’s as near perfect as they come, I just wish nights like this could go on for E.V.A (Ouch).
Author: Johnny Hayward