Not many people could complain about the lack of music events across the UK on the last weekend of April. While hordes of metalheads descended on Camden for the three-day Desertfest and others gathered at ‘Kin Hell Festival in Leeds, Newcastle was offering its own little slice of metal chaos in the form of Leave Me Here’s All-Dayer of pulverising metal…
To kick of things at 4:30pm, brilliantly named local act Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs introduce us to their carnival ride of psychedelic noise and seasick doom. Made up of some members from Khünnt, the five-piece are an unstoppable force wick with splashes of groovy, leaden rock verses and unerring sections of discordant noise. Matthew Baty’s echoing vocals complete the nauseous yet entrancing experience, leaving the bar raised relatively high for Nately’s Whore’s Kid Sister to follow.
Nately’s do follow with desired aplomb, despite the fact they’re missing percussionist Angus Mason today. The Newcastle act begin with the sensitive build-up introduction of ‘Just Below the Ribs’, eventually crashing into their intoxicating bouts of distorted doom riffage. Nately’s are the less metal-centric in terms of their identity as a band and frontman/guitarist John Edgar pokes a little fun at the whole situation, but it matters nothing when you hear how the band lend heavy distortion for their own fiery conclusions, carving out a unique blend of neurotic rock, doom and droney pop. ‘Fix My Corrections’ is a set highlight that epitomises the strength of the band’s collective charisma and energetic theatrics whilst showing Edgar’s consistency in reaching the higher notes of the performance. Nately’s finish their set with a new song called ‘Silicone Heaven’ – a track with less of an emphasis on big choruses and perhaps an indication of a venture into more progressive territory. We shall see.
Foothair come onstage for 6:30pm and from the off, it’s clear that the day’s going to be full of different sounds for the ears to feast on. Foothair are more punk-orientated than the rest of the day’s proceedings – a brash, lo-fi menace comprised of four local musicians and a frontman who paces through today’s crowd in a cut-off denim jacket and cassette tape wrapped around his head. The presence of the unnamed, bald-headed big fella is entertaining to say the least, constantly tying himself with more tape while he provides a heady assault of reckless and ragged punk vocals. They might not be the tightest band of the day, but their brand of metal-driven punk wasn’t meant to be pretty. Foothair have a good local following and it’s reflected by the sizable crowd gathered for them, who give the Newcastle band a great reception upon their finish.
The usual ‘wall of sound’ description is often used to describe an impenetrable fortress of heavy noise, but in truth, the phrase becomes a euphemism when considering the gut-moving doom of Neolithic. The Sunderland trio are more than a wall of sound – they’re a drone force of thick, viscous texture; the soundtrack to the demolishment of a colossal concrete dam, with every lash of jolting cymbal, barbaric power chord strike and tortured vocal wail conjuring images of destruction. You can feel the extent of Neolithic’s warped distortion rumbling in the intestines and vibrating in the lungs till the last chord rings. Right now, everyone’s wondering how this building hasn’t crumbled into dust.
Yet again, the day takes another turn when Humanfly begin entertaining us with their eclectic shifts from hard rocking charm, spine-tingling atmospheric passages and uncompromising, tom-heavy sludge. The Yorkshire four-piece play through haunting spacey interludes that precisely and progressively shift into barriers of heavy sludge rock, controlled by the unstoppable percussion of Dave Jones. The whole journey is almost disorientating as the talented quartet perform the most diverse set of the day. It’s one of the tighter performances that certainly lives up to the band’s still-growing reputation.
Glasgow’s Divorce bring the noisiest, most unsettling, fucked up performance to the all-dayer as the clock strikes 9:30pm. ‘Stabby (Stabby) Stab’ is as sharp as its title, packed full of eerie noise riffs and dirty Birthday Party-like bass lines that change the atmosphere of the venue into an altogether seedier and debauched affair. Frontwoman Jennie Fulk has an ear-shattering scream that rips through The Star And Shadow Cinema while impeccable off-beat drumming and grating episodes of lead guitar get under the skin and cause an explosion of activity from all in the vicinity. Watching Divorce is a bit like watching a breakdown and as expected, that makes the Glaswegian foursome an acquired taste, but with plenty of people stumbling around them in worship, they’re clearly doing something right.
Conan enter to a few cheers before smashing their way into a destructive set that induces constant headbanging from everyone in the venue. The Liverpool trio are rooted by the rhythmic twists and solid work of Paul O’Neill who guides the gargantuan hooks and boulder-sized riffs of fellow bandmates John McNulty and Jon Davis to great brutal conclusions. ‘Battle In The Swamp’ is as heavy as ever with its charismatic verses delivered in a barbarian-like wrath. A couple of new tracks are played tonight and from the outset, it’s clear that Conan are going to plough on where they left off and produce a slogging doom sound with a few pacier surprises. The intimacy of the venue makes Conan’s return to the venue even better. Bongripper have a lot to do if they’re going to keep the energy up in the latter stages of this all-dayer.
Fortunately, Bongripper have no plans on disappointing anyone and as the Chicago doomsters tear into their immovable chunks of heavy, the crowd are all nodding in unison at the instrumental lords of the occult. Certainly, any Sabbath and Electric Wizard fan wouldn’t be able to resist the flirtation of a Bongripper riff, though the four-piece definitely have their own sludgy goodness to accompany their heavier edges. Tracks from newest album ‘Satan Worshipping Doom’ are performed with pulverising panache and we hear the day’s first blastbeat in the form of the relentless ‘Satan’. It’s at this point when Bongripper really start to get people moving in headbanging unison. Moving through swathes of feedback and making perfect transitions into fuzzy stirs of blinding riffage, Bongripper close the show in style. The Chicago heavyweights had some living up to do in order to top off proceedings and that’s exactly what they’ve done.