Four bands for less than £20 on a Bank Holiday school night I’ll have that especially when it’s Australias Clowns and the last-minute addition of Pizzatramp. Six thirty doors with a star of 6.45 is like a straight edge mega bill set up and only a few minutes late Pizzatramp take to the Exchange stage and proceed to plow through some of their best material and a few new ones. As per Jim is on form as he regales the Bristol crowd with how he’d carry out the demise of Suella Braverman to howls of laughter and much applause. Of course, we’re treated to the awesome ‘There’s Been a Murder’ and the awesome ‘Millions Of Dead Goths’ but it’s the intro and execution of ‘I Do My Own Research’ that gets the biggest cheer and once again Jim is spot on. It’s a short and brief set but it shows the best of Pizzatramp and their on-fire brand of Hardcore. Let’s wait no longer and have a new album of new material please gents. What a way to open a night of loud raucous punk n metal, now follow that!

Skin Failure have the unenviable task of following Pizzatramp and these southern thrashers waste no time in getting down to business and thrashing out. I was unfamiliar with these gents but they certainly do no harm by just turning up turning on and thrashing like fuck. Frontman Will got off the stage and in the pit to engage with the punters as drinks were spilt and bodies began to pile up. Their Slayer meets Power Trip with some municipal Waste thrown into the party is about as Thrash as you can get and they did it so well getting local metal heads out in force seemed like a good choice and to top it off they had some bangers and Will is in possession of one Hell of a thrashers scream at times he was truly remarkable – Great stuff. ‘Meat Pond Down By The River’ and if you doubt me check out ‘Give R By The River As Bridges Fell’ step aside Tom Arayer Will is in Da House.

The main support is the hard rockin’ March from those there Netherlands and a Belgian bass player I believe. Mashing up some hard rock with a bit of punk rock attitude they went about their work with diligence and a professionalism that the previous two bands might have been lacking but for some reason, their set seemed to go on longer and didn’t grab me like the previous two. Maybe its the lack of speed and thrash or that I wasn’t familiar with their music as with Pizzatramp, who knows? That’s not to say they weren’t any good because that wouldn’t be fair they did have some really good tunes. Fleur was a very able frontperson no doubt about it and the musicianship was good with Bass player Jeroen thumping some great runs like ‘All On Red’. ‘Second To Destroy’ and ‘Reapers Delight’ went down really well.

Onto tonight’s headliners and a band I’ve managed to see quite a few times over several of their albums and this is the second time supporting the new ‘Endless’ album and to be fair the highlights of the current set are indeed tracks off the epic album. ‘Formaldehyde’, ‘Deathwish’, and ‘Bisexual Awareness’ are all superb but the show stopper has to be a magnificent ‘I Gotta Knife’. Fear not long-term fans the band still chug out plenty of early tunes from ‘Bad Blood’ and ‘Lucid Again’ and even without Hanny J they are a formidable beast that rocks like fuck and Stevie Williams is still an amazing ball of energy spending time in the audience being carried around or screaming his lungs out its a beautiful thing.

I dare anyone to leave a Clowns show and not be exhilarated with what they’ve just seen and heard and Melbourne has birthed a beast of a hardcore that just seem to get better and better. Catch them in a sweaty club whilst you can – Clowns ain’t no joke they simply rule. Top night even if I didn’t get home until the wee small hours due to cancelled trains and then a train strike taking effect. but boy was it worth it, I’d do it again tomorrow.

Author: Dom Daley

The first taste of live music in 2024 is a trip across the border and into the Exchange for a night of Cider and black and guyliner n Goth for Swedens Agent Side Grinder are opening tonight’s show in support of the most excellent Then Comes Silence.

With a healthy turnout Agent Side Grinder takes to the stage bathed in a sea of Fog (as you’d expect) and turn up the electronic goth tones for a forty-five-minute take on some very impressive Soft Cell meets Depeche Mode whilst absorbing the Gary Numan back catalogue synth Goth (if you looking for a yardstick to measure their sound then these seem like the perfect touching point) This three piece (Two Keyboards and one vocalist) deliver a modern twist on ‘Speak and Spell’ meets ‘Non Stop Erotic Cabaret’ hailing from Stockholm and already having delivered six studio albums in their almost twenty year existence I’m almost ashamed to say this was my first time seeing the band.

Supporting their 2023 album ‘Jack Vegas’ the band got on with business and aided by the most excellent PA in the Exchange they were able to turn it up and dive in. Songs like ‘Waiting Room’, ‘Madeleine’ and ‘Wolf Hour’ sounded excellent and bringing Alex from Then Comes Silence up for a few tracks added another level to their sound that came to life with the additional bass guitar, giving the songs more depth and a big bottom end. Emanuel led this synth trio through an impressive set and I’m glad I was there early enough to catch the perfect opener to ease you back into the live arena after a few weeks off from live shows.

Then Comes Silence are back to a three-piece and take to the stage and proceed to spend the next hour or so delivering the perfect guitar-based Goth Rock currently doing the rounds anywhere. The three-piece kicks off with ‘Ticket To Funerals’ and roll straight into ‘Flashing Pangs Of Love’. Hugo is whirling in circles as he throws out the Brian James Lords-inspired riffs drenched in delay and chorus that evoked memories of a young Daniel Ash at his prime so much so that I commented he played the riff of ‘Fashing Pangs’ at about two o’clock that afternoon such was the delay on the overdrive. However, the sound as per usual in the Exchange is second to none, and Then Comes Silence are playing a blinder. A well-oiled machine that they are they throw out banger after banger touching on Goth greats Such as the aforementioned Lords Of The New Church as well as a host of other post-punk bands who dabbled in Goth. It’s no surprise that Wayne Hussey holds them in such high regard with songs like ‘We Lose The Night’ and ‘Warm Like Blood’ dripping with sheer class and a hint of The Mish in their DNA.

A frenzied pit of Gothness broke out mid-set and a more polite and gentile mosh pit you won’t find anywhere this side of Hades. The fuzz of ‘Strangers’ gave me goosebumps and the relentless attack on my senses was further heightened as the fantastic ‘Strange Kicks’ played out. There wasn’t much in the way of banter between songs more preferring to let the music do their talking and to be fair they sounded fantastic as we headed for the final Hurrah as ‘The Rest Will Follow’ made way for the inspired ‘Animals’ and without fanfare, we were done.

That was nothing short of awesome. How this band are playing small clubs is a mystery, they should be rolling through towns with trucks hauling their gear and large concert venues being laid waste with plumes of dry ice and the sound of distorted decaying riffs ringing through your ears.

This old Goth can go out into the cold winter air happy in the knowledge that 2024 got off to the best possible start gig-wise. I only hope 2024 sees a new album and more live shows from my favourite Swedish Goth Rock band. That set my friends will take some beating and its only just January.


Author: Dom ‘Nosferatu’ Daley