Emmet wishes for more Bats in the belfry…and more Terriers in the ?…answers on a postcard..
Anyone who dared venture up to the venue area of The Pavilion Saturday night was met by a fierce onslaught of squalling guitar and feedback, wed to some pretty strong percussion and the unmistakeable whiff of METAL.
Now I’ve had flirtations with thrash and metal but I can’t say it’s a genre I unequivocally stand behind and, while there will always be a part of me that revels in its uncompromising and direct force, I must fess up to something. I felt old at this gig.
It just seemed like the teenager in me would have gotten more out of it and that’s not to denigrate the musicianship on show, or to suggest that the genre only applies to the young. This is simply not the case but I guess it’s just a personal thing for me. My interest in such unabashed hardcore elements has waned in recent years so as chaotically enjoyable as it was, it left me cold.
Beginning with a tempestuous and brief set by Terriers, who musically whip up an infectious storm, the power was there from the fore. A stomach-rumbling, beat-heavy set that musically hit a sweet spot with melodies emerging every so often like whales breaking the surface. However as enjoyable a musical unit as they are, when approached on a sheer instrumental level, the vocals let the band down. A mass of shouts and screams, it’s a shame the same nuance given to the music can’t carry over to the singing as it takes sophisticated sonic constructs and places unclear tantrums on top of the mix. Still there’s no denying their tightness and while I wish they’d seize on some hooks a bit more, rather than discarding them as they sometimes did here, as my second time seeing them I can say I enjoy their energy and feel they have only improved from that promising first show.
Bats were not short on energy themselves tearing into a set with a fervour that was admirable but it felt a lot more messy to me and didn’t quite excite in the way it should. While very impressive as musicians and instrumentalists, it all felt a little generic or personality-less and I found myself tuning out as the guitars were being turned up. Thematically concerned with scientific terms and subject matter, that quirk was too buried in the mix to fully connect but the math rock flourishes shone clearly giving the band a much needed edge and was a showcase for impressive musical about turns. That was the best aspect of the gig, the experimentation in structure which was engaging when it wasn’t just descending into a pummelling riff cliché. When they embrace the wilder and weirder, I find Bats a far more interesting prospect but, I’m sad to say there just wasn’t enough bats in the belfry for me this time out.