Baby In Vain at Moles

Andrea and Lola from Baby In Vain performing on main stage at Moles, Bath, 10 October 2017

An auditory assault met my ears as I descended the stairs to the Moles main stage. “Was this going to be a pleasant experience?” I wondered. It wasn’t going to be gentle that was for sure.

One of the best things about Moles is its story. When you watch a gig there, you’re not just seeing a band, you’re sharing in history.

Other venues come and go and yes, they show some great bands, but at Moles, you’re joining an institution that stretches back decades, you’re becoming a member of those ‘who were there’, those who stood in the same place and watched the likes of Oasis, The Cure, Radiohead and many more on their rise to stardom.

The main event that night was Baby In Vain, a 3 part band from Copenhagen. They’ve already started to make a big name for themselves across Europe and have also toured the states, supporting The Kills. Moles was the halfway point of a 16 venue tour of the UK, taking them from Aberdeen to Southampton, Cardiff to London, and everywhere between.

Meekers at Moles October 2017
Meekers at Moles

Alas, I’d missed the opening act, Swamp, but Meekers, the main support act, had just started as I arrived. They proceeded to pelt out a series of speedy songs with hardly any breaks, giving little time to reflect on the last song before they blasted into the next.

It was simple, brutal and amazingly enjoyable, and also held some fine musicianship; but what was even more gratifying to witness, was how they embodied the spirit of grass roots rock, punk and garage bands the world over, those who don’t care if they get famous or not, they just want to have a good time and share it with others.

When it comes to Baby In Vain, the uninitiated could be forgiven for thinking ‘Oh, this is going to be a fun little set’. Bene, Lola and Andrea look harmless, but before the first note finishes, you will have no doubt that what stands before you, is nothing short of a musical leviathan.

Baby In Vain performing at Moles, Bath, October 2017

Their music is a guttural, savage, twisting of grunge rock, which doesn’t bother with a bass guitar, but features switchable rhythm and lead guitars and vocals, punchy percussion and a bit of synth.

The swapping of vocals causes you to constantly change your focus throughout the set and the effects ladened guitar shredding had me and other audience members nodding in appreciation.

They’ve been likened to B.R.M.C., and while that theme is definitely there, I was also reminded of Nirvana, not just for the sound, but for the raw emotion which comes through their songs, which are dark and often a bit sinister.

Their music isn’t pretty, but that’s what makes it beautiful, like a work of art made from burning car tyres. They’re one of those bands that ‘When you get it, you get it’, and as soon as their set had finished I wanted it to start from the beginning again immediately.

I spoke to them briefly following the set, about how music had brought them together, and was glad to hear they were taking a break and spending the following day in Bath, before heading on to Southampton for the second stage of their tour.

Please come back soon, Baby In Vain!

I’ll be back at Moles soon, for the Meeking album launch! 

Written by @LordSkitch 

Thank you to Soul Media for the photos

Reviewed on 10 October 2017

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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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Upcoming gigs at Moles

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.