Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Thee Oh Sees, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 04.06.10

It’s about a million degrees, and following an uncomfortable two-and –a-half-hour coach ride we’re absolutely melting. The term ‘chronic sweatz’ is coined as my pants fuse into my legs. This heat is helped briefly by a torrential downpour as we’re about three streets away from the venue, but this soon evaporates as we make our way into the sweatbox that is the Brudenell games room.

We’re in Leeds to see Thee Oh Sees; umpteenth reincarnation of John Dwyer, restless spirit of american underground. He has spent the best part of the last decade joining and leaving bands like Pink & Brown, Landed, Yikes, Burmese, Sword, Coachwhips and The Hospitals, needless to say we’re excited! To say this was an ‘intimate venue’ is an understatement, the games room has no windows, no ventilation, and a bar that isn’t (beer is bought through from the main room) – two snooker tables to the right of the room, and a lady at the back with a dog.

Opening proceedings are local garage punks, Blood Crips. They sing about skateboarding the Yorkshire dales and pulling sickies. They consist of a well tuned rhythm section and pounding drums. Their songs are break neck and scruffy, but in a good way. Toes are tapping and heads nodding as the room gently fills and the air turns to steam. By this point we’re willing the last song on to go outside and waft our armpits.

We decide to give next band Cowtown a miss in favour of a few beers, but manage to catch the last few songs including Power Blingers which Dan unashamedly sings the chorus back word for word, before blushing ‘I gave the Cowtown lady a hug’. Fan boy.

More wafting of armpits ensues..

Finally Thee Oh Sees take to the stage.. when the band shout ‘ACID’ and John necks a Corona, head back, hands free – you kind of know you’re in business. Before then declaring ‘if you like it, come in closer!’ – we duely oblige, and shit goes off.

The band have no bassist, but a second guitarist tattoed from the neck down, drenched in reverb, thuds along like a demon. Female keyboardist haunts and echoes, and provides vocals laced through the set while an earnest drummer keeps it all together. John bemoans an amp he bought in France somewhere, but it sounded good to me.

Though I knew most songs, I can’t remember the setlist or track order – but tracks like Block of Ice and Enemy Destruct featured in amongst a set which played heavily on new LP Warm Slime. Of which opening track of the same name (a 14 minute or so behemoth) warps along taking us all with it. Highlight for me.

This was quite easily the moistest I’ve ever been at a gig, and was the most fun I’m ever likely to have. I love Thee Oh Sees. I love the sound they have arrived at and how every song is a frayed out, frazzled nugget of psych-garage brilliance. Easily my gig of 2010.

Still sweating. Gross and awesome.


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