Don’t Play With Guns @MolesBath

Don't Play With Guns performing on stage at Moles in Bath in February 2017

Thursday night STEREO at Moles. We were there to watch Don’t Play With Guns, but first our ears were subjected to two dubious support acts, who exploded a cacophony on stage, while butchering Nirvana and Massive Attack covers.

To be fair, they were enthusiastic and probably quite newly formed, so we’ll forgive them; this time, and review them properly at a later date.

So moving swiftly on from the shaky opening acts, lets talk about Don’t Play With Guns (DPWG). The anti-gun lobbyists, came armed with a camera crew, all adorned with DPWG t-shirts and ready to cover the gig from every conceivable angle and this is important; and we’ll explain why in a moment.

They started with a song called “We are who we are”, which was nice, mellow and smooth, but irritating, because it sounds similar to another popular song, yet we couldn’t place it. The second song, “Before she realizes” was an emotive piece in much the same vein as the opener.

Things started to get a little louder in song three, building up to the second half of their set where the gig got decidedly more interesting. Song four (I missed the song names around this area) was another number which sounded similar to a popular song, but this time we managed to figure out what song it was, “Killing in the name”. The next sounded like Slipknot’s, “Spit it out” with Angus, the frontman, executing a trademark Corey Taylor crowd interaction moment, followed by a rendition of “SpongeBob Squarepants”, another Corey trademark moment.

At this point, we realized just how reliant on other artist’s crowd-pleasing numbers DPWG are. Should we be offended? The answer is “No.”

Yes, a lot of the set was covers, including an actual performance of “Killing in the name” and an excellent execution of “Voodoo Child” and the rest of the songs sounded very much like reworkings of other people’s material; but when you’re competing in an industry where every note has already been played in probably every conceivable order, things are going to sound similar.

What’s more, it’s clever; not ripping off other people’s songs, that isn’t clever, but arguably the quickest way to become successful is to find someone who has become successful and repeat whatever it is they did. Now add the camera crew I mentioned earlier, there to gather footage of the band playing on the same stage Oasis, The Cure and a host of well-known bands have played, including Massive Attack; putting free EPs out for people to grab and asking someone to come and review their gig, makes this one of the smartest bands I’ve seen in a long time.

So many bands believe they will become superstars just through sheer talent. Nope. It takes hard work and a business mentality too.

Don't Play With Guns performing at Moles in Bath in February 2017

But, let’s put business plans to one side and talk about actual talent.

Angus Brick’s vocals are delightful, a cross between Eddie Vedder and Finley Quaye and he has superb skills when it comes to getting an audience involved. We already sang Jack Whitby’s praises in the last review featuring DPWG and it was a solid performance from Callum Brundle on percussion, but a special mention goes to Chris Nesbitt, who absolutely smashed the cover of Jimi’s “Voodoo Child”, along with some other creative moments.

They haven’t quite developed the level of lyrical brilliance of Bohemian Rhapsody, but never-the-less, their lyricism is still a lot better than some of the main stream crud you hear on the radio every day.

The band gels fantastically, but they still have a lot of work to do, there were a couple of dodgy harmonies and they need more of their own material. Their set list could possibly also do with some reworking. The first two songs didn’t match with the later numbers and resulted in a slightly slowish start to the set, rather than an explosion of energy that they clearly have within them. However, considering how recently they formed, this was an outstanding performance and sets them up well for the future, if they have the drive and a bit of luck.

Written by @LordSkitch 

Reviewed on 2 February 2017

Listen to Don’t Play With Guns on Spotify

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Squark 008 at @TheNestBath

Don't Play With Guns performing at Squark at The Nest, Bath

It was Tuesday night and with a couple of hours to spare I decided to saunter on down to The Nest to see what Squark is all about.

The gig took place in what I believe is called the Piano Lounge, the piano might have been the giveaway. It’s a brightly colored, yet dimly lit room with some couches, the aforementioned piano, a small DJ booth and some pinspot lighting on a corner stage.

Don’t Play With Guns were up first. They’re a three week old, four piece, who met on the Bath Spa University commercial music course. Owing to the bands recent birth they can be forgiven for playing half a set of well executed covers. Their originals were impressive and displayed good construction and lyricism and were performed well, but the two stand outs were Jack, the bassist, who clearly knew what he was doing and Angus, their frontman, who had a wonderful husky edge to his voice. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more from this band and in particular what they sound like at full volume.

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Lovebite on a Crutch

Next up was Ben, one half of an act called Lovebite On A Crutch. His set also had a couple of covers in it, one was Purple Rain, a tribute to one of the many recently deceased mega-stars who are being remembered in gigs around the country. If 2016 has done anything, it’s reminded us of the lack of quality in current mainstream music. Ben is an acoustic singer-songer with a good voice, unfortunately, he knows it and I feel he’s copying the styles of established musicians with too much ease. I’d like to hear him step out of his comfort zone and do something, more challenging. How he does that is up to him, but it’s safe to say the world has enough singer-songers.

The poetically named, Hatecrimes were next on the bill and started their turn with some trippy Korg and guitar effects, creating a haunting atmosphere. This was built it up with a dash of looping, some soft vocals and a helping of fuzz, undulating in a way that caused the sound guy to earn his keep as the levels peaked and troughed. The lead guitarist and vocalist resembled a grunged-out Shaggy, from Scooby-doo fame, not the ‘Boombastic’ variety and the music he and his unassuming friend doled out was just what it said on the label “Gritty and truthfull, chilled yet noisy.” – quoting their website. The changes in tempo and volume and the sometimes rambling, sometimes solid lyrics created an engaging soundscape.

hatecrimes
Hatecrimes

Alas, I missed St Leonard’s Horses. It’s the constant issue with midweek gigs, which some venues get round by putting the headliner on a bit earlier. In any case, I’d seen three good acts and that was enough to satisfy me.

Over the years, the venue which is now known as The Nest has had many guises, younger generations will remember it as Back To Mine, while older Bathonians may remember it as The Fez Club. I’m sure there are people who could tell me what it used to be before that, but needless to say its current incarnation is doing a good job for the local music scene. Its multi-staged areas and ability to create different moods from room to room, along with its increasingly impressive performance schedule of up-and-coming and established talents make it an integral part of Bath’s rich artistic scene.

From what I’ve witnessed Squark could be a long-running success for the venue. Yes, there is a free open mic just down the road, but they aren’t showcasing the same level of talent, nor do you have to struggle to hear the musicians above the drinking set. The only way I could see it improving is if they did away with anything commercial sounding and developed the ‘underground’ vibe which the night definitely leans towards.

An initial £3 payment will see you through the door and will get you a badge, which entitles you to a £1 discount on subsequent visits, so £2 isn’t that much for a night of good music. I can see this becoming my weeknight treat.

Written by @LordSkitch

Upcoming gigs at The Nest

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Want a gig/venue reviewed? Let us know. Otherwise if you just want to vent your spleen about something (music related) or give praise for a band or venue, do it here or on our Twitter or Facebook pages.