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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@TheButtcheeks at @TheNestBath

Satan's Buttcheeks back stage at The Nest, Bath

Like Christmas, Satan’s Buttcheeks appear but once a year and like moths drawn to a UV painted glowing appendage the crowd assembled at The Nest, to “Get weird” as the lyrics of the opening song go, with a band who jokingly, but some would argue deservingly, call themselves “Bath’s ‘Greatest ever band'”.

This was a one off gig at The Nest, not part of their usual weekly schedule and full credit to them for booking a band who rehearse once a year, seldom have the same line up, stick their lyrics to the lighting rig, come with NO support acts and have a rider of chicken breasts, whiskey and tabasco sauce. It was a gamble on their part and one that paid off, because there is no better way to describe this band other than, awesome!

Ross "The Boss" Brown drummer for Satan's Buttcheeks
Ross “The Boss” Brown

If you’re expecting poetry exploring the nature of being then you’re going to be disappointed. “Breath in, breath out, eyes front, balls out!” that’s the level we’re at. However, when compared to James Arthur’s cryptic love yodeling, “I held your hair back when you were throwing up” Satan’s Buttcheeks can be considered veritable laureates.

It was clear what type of gigs this was going to be as audience members started to cheer while the band, though obscured by a curtain, took to the stage. “Buttcheeks!”, “Whoop, whoop!” “You suck!” were the calls; showing there was to be a definite degree of in-joking and audience participation.

Whether on purpose or accident the farce began immediately as “Balls Out” started, then crumbled as various members of the band came in at different points, then stopped; and then started again, paused; and then carried on as if nothing had happened. Whether this was accidental, due to the aforementioned one day of rehearsal or intentional to add to what is a chaotic mass of day-glow shenanigans the crowd loved it.

However ludicrous they may seem their music is astonishingly good with ear-bending guitar solos, complex song structures and dynamic and progressive melodies which build up to earth-shattering crescendos, with added penny whistle. Whatever weird voodoo they’re transmitting, it seems to be working as the audience threw themselves about in euphoric adulation.

Oli Fenton, Ross Brown and Dan Gildersleeve from Satan's Buttcheeks
Oli Fenton, Ross Brown and Dan Gildersleeve

At one point, the band attempted a vocal harmony… The least said about that the better.

With names like “Satan is my osteopath”, “I am ham”, “Rot in Pieces” and “Rambo McMango chutney” their songs could be likened to pre-pubescent school yard limericks, however they clearly weren’t written to be analyzed by literary scholars, so who cares?

But that’s enough generalization, lets get personal.

The lead vocalist, Alex Good, while not demonstrating a fantastic range is a great front man and will happily play the ring leader when it comes to peer-pressuring audience members into performing acts of a questionable hygienic nature. (I’m just going to leave that for you to wonder about)

Satan's Buttcheeks audience members
Some of the audience

Next up, the lead guitarist, Oli Fenton, whose guitar work is extraordinary. Many of Bath’s music adoring public will have seen him performing his magic in other outfits, such as: Thousand Monkeys and The Guitarlai Lamas, but none of those acts compare to the ferociousness of his finger-play when soloing during the song “Put it in your mouth”. Don’t believe me? Listen to it here from 1:25 – 1:45. It could very well make you appreciate having ears more than you ever thought possible.

Oli’s grandstanding is only made possible by the solid lump of muscular rhythm that is Dan Gildersleeve who is as staunch in appearance as he is in his underpinning of the songs. Though it has been said he can benchpress anyone and for years the band have been threatening to have him do it on stage, yet again the audience were not to witness the feat.

Since the departure of Ben Butcher, one of the founding members of the band, who went to Sydney to scare patients of ERs by greeting them with the line “Hello, I’m Dr Butcher”, there have been a number of bassists who have donned the war paint and stepped in to the UV light of a Buttcheeks gig. All credit to Dan Spink, who learned a full set with only one rehearsal.

Finally, Ross “The Boss” Brown, who though difficult to see, thundered away at the drums from the dark at the rear of the stage, supplying the explosive percussion that topped off what cannot be denied as being the most interesting, exciting and fun gig of the year.

It’s a pity they only come once a year, but maybe that’s what makes it so special and also how they always manage to pack out whichever venue they perform in. They named the gig ‘The curtain call’, hinting that after a decade and nearly 13 gigs, they might be calling an end to the band, but we certainly hope not as nowhere near enough people have experienced the beauty and glory of Satan’s Buttcheeks.

Written by @LordSkitch 

Reviewed on 3rd December 2016

Find more photos on the @BathGigs Facebook page

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.