|Slugfest 4 : Saturday - Abertillery, The Mount - 30th July 2011|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Saturday, 06 August 2011 05:00|
The despicable, debauched and downright dirty reputation that precedes the Saturday of Slugfest was in danger of faltering as the fourth stab at the frenzied festival threatened to grow up with, potentially, classier bands than ever before and planning that bordered on the professional.
Happily, everything fell out of place and the second day of this gruesome gathering descended into the glorious chaos expected of its bad self.
The beautiful disaster, again, moved itself from the shiny surroundings of The Doll's House to the old school charm of The Mount, a timeless public house but a graveyard's walk away from the previous night's venue. This place has more character than the Woody Allen back catalogue and is the perfect setting for the day when Slugfest, invariably, gets messy.
With a trio of bands falling by the wayside, one curiously believing that ignoring all form of communication is a better way to deal with people than actually doing the decent thing and cancelling prior to the event, the second day of this sickfest rolled with the punches (in more ways than one) and came out smelling of, well, shit as always.
Gallini, the seminal arthouse project of festival organiser Darrel Sutton, opened the day, as is now tradition, with the Boney M classic 'Ma Baker'. Now featuring a former major label artist who I'm sure would wish to remain nameless, Gallini smash out a couple of new tunes in the form of the shredding 'Mindless Self Indulgence' and the poetic 'Fuck The Working Class, I'm A Foreman At Last' before murdering Survivor's 'Eye Of The Tiger' as a pair of lightweight lunatics stand eyeball to eyeball in front of them, the smell of blood flaring their nostrils. Why? Well, the high profile sporting event about to take place outside would explain everything.....
Longstanding differences between Trigger McPoophute, the local anal avenger who gave his name to the monolithic band of the same name, and Marvellous Starvin' Plugster, a crazed local degenerate, have culminated in a boxing match in the humid confines of a pub car park. Three, two minutes rounds of curious cock fighting ensue ending in expected confusion. With one corner believing that they had won by TKO and the other claiming the bell had already rung, it was down to a select panel of skilled judges - three random kids with their faces painted as skulls - to decide who was the victor, McPoopshute getting the nod in controversial fashion.
If anyone was in any doubt as to what Slugfest was all about they were surely, after one mental musical moment and a comedic clash of the titans, learning very quickly...
Filling a band-shaped hole at short notice are 100,000 BodyBags, the hardcore punk outfit fronted by former Funeral In Berlin vocalist Brewer. Turning in a more upbeat set than usual, the band discard some of their moodier material in favour of covers of 'Respect' by Erasure and 'Video Killed The Radio Star', the 1979 hit from The Buggles. They don't dispense with the political sideswipes entirely though and, after castigating BMW drivers, end their set with 'No Problem', a thinly-veiled attack on the South Wales Police. A great performance from an excellent band.
Hacksaw, a dirtily comedic punk rock duo from Bath, had everyone in The Doll's House grinning like fuckwits when they played there in the not too distant past and The Mount is soon to fall under a similar idiotic spell. With demented tunes like 'The Flame Retardant Fist', 'Park Your Bike In That', 'Monkey Glands' and 'Do Not Feed The Geese, They're Dead', this popular beat combo end their awesome set with the legendary 'Bog Roll', the toilet tissue flinging anthem that leaves the venue looking messier than anyone ever thought possible, but not before the guitarist's eleven year old son Angus had got behind the drumkit to play and sing a killer track - fantastic stuff just made for this event.
I suddenly realise that the bloke who left the shitter without washing his hands is one of the two vocalists in OAP - or Onanistic Anti-Peristalsis to give them their full name - who gifts the day's remaining acts with microphone excrement residue. I'd previously seen this Newport-based bunch of noisemongers with their drum tracks playing on an iPod, which duly fucked up meaning an impromptu end to their set. They have, thankfully, added a living, breathing drummer to their ranks and benefit greatly from it. With songs like 'Cauterize The Wound', 'Menstruation Fellation' and the power ballad 'Sodomized With A Barbed Wire Dildo', the band entertain with their fucked up brand of death/grind mayhem.
Dead Radio have honoured Slugfest with their presence in the past under their former guise as Jizzwagon. With a subtler moniker the band surprise by actually turning in a set that is a little more instant, more immediate than when performed under their former name. The romantic paean to lost love, 'Shit On Your Tits', closes things but not before they have once again told us that 'David Gray Is A Cunt'. Good stuff.
The place is packed to the rim when The Guntys take to the floor and the band appear to feed off the frenzied energy in the room, knocking out possibly their finest performance yet. Opener 'Punk Rock Debauchery' morphs into 'Hurry Up Harry' at its mid-point and the resulting combination of grinning and skanking doesn't diminish until 'The Wild Rover' closes a fantastic set. Throwing new tune 'Street Mosh' in amongst crowd favourites like 'Bugger Off' and the excellent corporate-slaying anthem 'Killing Me With A Spoon', The Guntys simply get better every time I see them and today, seriously, was the best yet. This set would take some following...
The thrown-down gauntlet is picked up in typically bizarre gutter punk fashion by Trigger McPoopshute, returning to the town after their well-received two date 'Bowler's Grip' Welsh tour. Opening with 'Balloon Knot', the fucked up four piece stab out an eleven track set, peppered with classic tunes 'Fry's Chocolate Cream', 'American Manc' and 'Plug's House', in record time. Jamie Delerict, formerly of Teenage Casket Company and The Dangerfields, joins the band for the soon-to-be-classic 'Sheep', and the JD and the FDCs mainman (who has performed with the likes of the Misfits and D Generation's Richard Bacchus) manages to remember the one word he has to sing, delivering it with passion and a fire in his belly. Another guest vocalist appeared with the band for a spunky version of Gluecifer's 'Car Full Of Stash' but I was otherwise preoccupied so would feel uneasy commenting on it. By all accounts, he was fucking awesome. And handsome, very handsome. Trigger's set, closed by their self-titled ode to buggery, is, as one of its members would no doubt say, fucking jackpot.
It is difficult to keep writing about Lifer without repeating myself. The band are consistently brutal, punishing and essential, their songs shake buildings to their foundations and, of all the incredible South Wales bands currently laying waste to ears, speakers and venues, these guys most deserve to step it up a league or two. Managing to keep all five members on their feet this time, the band's frenetic performance illicits a similarly frenzied reaction from the aurally-abused patrons of this now stinking sweatbox of a room. Frontman Scriv delivers another monstrous vocal turn, following on from his sombre stint with Doomchild the previous night and, when the band throw out a furious version of 'Sick Boy' by G.B.H. "for the punks" in attendance, the place goes fucking mental. Who woulda thunk it? As good as it gets. Downstairs in The Mount then closing a stage at the Bloodstock Open Air festival within two weeks - it's a crazy, crazy world we live in.
Up next are Deathbullet, the four piece outfit who fuse a stoner rock groove to heavy duty riffage, churning out an impressive Black Label Society-inspired set of hard hitting tunes. Vocalist Russ is vying with Lifer's Dibble for finest classic horror shirt of the weekend, his Evil Dead shirt attempting to edge out the latter's seminal TCM number. Neither would fit me so the skinny bastards can slug it out between themselves. Let this not take anything away from Deathbullet's performance tonight though; they get markedly better every time I see them and they never disappoint - here's to the next time.
It's no secret that whenever Beddis, frontman of Newport punks Bad Sam, returns to the Valleys things gets messy; tonight will be no different. The most charismatic yet concurrently chaotic frontman there is, this legend, positively glowing in kilt, old dear wig and Mickey Mouse hands, has the unnatural ability to charm and scare in the same breath. That he will croon between songs while blood pumps from his head will not surprise those who have witnessed him or his great band before. With 'Gold Tops' and 'I Love The Port' bookending a setlist that includes 'Dicks With Dogs', 'Christ Betrayed' and 'Valium', the band introduce a couple of great new songs that will no doubt slay in the band's live set for the foreseeable future; 'Black John Wayne' is an ode to Barack Obama while 'Snake With Tits' is dedicated to Margaret Thatcher as Beddis speaks passionately of his time in the Valleys during the miners' strike of the mid '80s. Again, as always, Bad Sam kills.
Strange things are afoot in Abertillery Rock City. Whispers permeate the darkness, hinting that Fell On Black Days, the Ebbw Vale metal crew, are actually going to be performing at Slugfest with their full quota of band members and body parts. People are scared to say it out loud lest they curse the band. For the first time in three attempts FOBD have managed to get to kick off without losing someone to a skateboarding accident, migraine, bizarre lawnmower incident, bestiality arrest, alien abduction, etc - you get the picture. This could obviously change at any given moment so the band, now joined by bass behemoth Jason Morgan, tear into opener 'Some More Than Others' and don't look back. 'Promises', 'Ends With Me' and the FOBD vintage 'Mea Culpa' follow, before the title track of the band's forthcoming debut album, 'Talion', rips The Mount a new one. If the run-through of the classic Misfits tune 'Last Caress' bruises then the appearance of Slayer's 'Raining Blood' (sneakily emerging after apparent set-closer 'Bone Of Contention') decimates. Vocalist Gavin Robinson has, over the last couple of years, grown into a fantastic frontman and tonight he demands attention with a commanding performance. Onwards and upwards for these noisy bastards.
Scutty Neighbours, the Bakewell-based Christian metal outfit, made more friends than the town bike with their crazed turn at last year's Slugfest, being asked to return almost immediately. With support slots with the likes of The Dwarves and a slot at the Hard Rock Hell festival behind them in the year between Slugfestivities, the band reappear better looking, finely honed and with a hot new CD, the sultry 'Swapping Percussion For Concussion', in tow. Promising a couple of tasty cover versions (that surely couldn't top their attempt at 'Soldiers Under Command' at HRH?!) the band hit the floor of The Mount as the clock hands inch towards the witching hour. Louder than Hell itself, television sensation Rusty Chaos struggles to be heard over the band as opener 'Snapback Losers' threatens to deafen the cultured clientele. 'Disco Circle Pit' follows and the bass of Major Tom is so loud that it appears to be snowing inside the venue - not to worry, it is just the ceiling caving in. Worried punters scream for him to turn it down but, of course, he can't hear them. 'Pig Aids' follows, shouldered by 'Beardy Motherfuckers', 'I Like Fire' and the soulful 'Fingerin' You Tonight'. A cover of Van Halen's 'Panama' offers guitarists Frank Butchery and Kenny P (throwing a sickie to attend with his sharp new Ferris Bueller haircut) the chance to shred before drummer Joey Lee gets to make like his namesake Tommy as the band crack a trashy version of Motley Crue's 'Same Ol' Situation' off the wrist. With the smoke from the band's trademark pyro appearing to be the only thing holding the ceiling up, the band close their incredible set with the awesome 'Lemmy, I Wish You Were My Dad', with the song's lyrics changed in homage to a local legend whose name escapes me. By all accounts he is handsome, very handsome. Scutty Neighbours, like last year, own. Have them back every year, I say. Brilliant stuff.
As the first hour of Sunday morning disappears the coolest band to ever appear on a Slugfest poster hit the floor of The Mount. The crowd may have thinned as the lightweights limp off to their Ikea-infected caves but the die-hards are treated to The Hip Priests' arsenal of essential punk rock 'n' roll tunes. 'Young Savage', 'Demon Hooker', the incredible 'Sonic Reproducer', the sleazy 'I Love To Fuck' all tear this stinking joint up as the band get 'Loud 'N' Lewd' in front of a monged-up menagerie of fuck-ups and freaks - 'Outta Ma Head' never sounded so appropriate. Skintight Tim and Lee Love are the perfect rock 'n roll rhythm section and Nathan Von Cruz the perfect frontman, full of attitude and assuredness. Guitarist Austin Rocket is the coolest person in the room, head down, chucking out tasty fretwork with ease, the kind of trashy rock 'n' roll six stringer that we love here at Uber Rock. As cool as they come, Rocket only looks up once, laughing as he solos while directly in front of him a rotund local punk legend yanks on his flaccid penis, pulling it to ridiculous lengths - juiced up 'n' loose, indeed. As the remaining crowd members do their best to knock seven shades of shit out of each other, the few of us actually left concentrating on the music of this most awesome of bands look at each other, marvelling at the fact that this bunch of garage punk 'n' roll reprobates are possibly the best band to ever play here. If you missed them then you missed a total fucking treat - shame on you.
....and so it ends. The second day of Slugfest, the Saturday spoken of in hushed tones due to its notoriety for insanity, is done, dusted and without disappointment. The music incredible, the atmosphere electric, the company warm, this festival never fails to amaze. Heads will ache come Sunday morning, ears too. Bones will have been broken, wallets emptied and friendships made. Slugfest is a gang and today it inducted many new members.
"My name is Legion, for we are many..."
[Photos by Ian Cates]