‚ÄėNotes on a Conditional Form‚Äô, the fourth album from The 1975 has gone through a chaotic gestation period. Initially being promised as a quick-firRead More
Monday 22nd February is a life affirming day or, to be more specific, night for yours truly. It demonstrates something I had been longing, nay needing, to believe for a long time. That rock and roll; pure, undiluted, enthralling rock and roll, so often reglected from mainstream consciousness, is, in fact, alive and breathing; you just have to know where to go and see it! The co-headlining tour of Californian psychedelic rockers Bigelf & Canadian stoner rockers Priestess provided a metaphorical slap to the face to those who believe rock is dead .... those reports have been grossly exaggerated.
For a pre-pay day Monday night, the Cathouse has a solid turn out, around 150-200 bodies are crammed into the dance floor in front of the stage. Priestess take to the stage with a minimum of fuss, clearly they have a strong support amongst those attending, the ĎPriestessí chants echo around the room as soon as the lights drop. The band are currently supporting their sophomore album, ĎPrior To The Fireí, and have a wonderful bluesy-stoner hard rock sound that effortlessly segues from slow and lumbering to fast and thundering. They tear through a mix of material from the new album and their debut, ĎHello Masterí. To describe them as dynamite on stage would be about accurate. All are clearly having a ball and it translates to the crowd who return the favour aplenty. Lay Down (you may know it from Guitar Hero III ... yup, the track you thought was awesome but didnít know who it was.. yeah itís them ;o)), Lady Killer, Racoon Eyes are all standouts to me, though there is no lull in the set; itís not long enough to allow that to happen! An honourable mention should go to lead guitarist Dan Watchorn, who head bangs ... like .. properly head bangs! Weíre talking full body action, his head practically smashes into the floor at points such is the range of his movements, itís text book stuff ... I doff my cap to you sir! Priestess deserve to be huge, they have all the necessary traits to get there, they have the tunes, the chops, the skills, and hereís hoping they keep going because I want to say I saw them here first!
Bigelf have a big job to follow Priestess, I really hope they can deliver, as this is a band I have only recently discovered and am getting into serious fandom pretty quickly. I neednít worry. They do. Itís amazing to me that Bigelf are playing venues like the Cathouse. They have a sound and style that is begging to be recognised on a larger scale; itís big, epic and bold, heavily influenced by the classic rock bands of the 70s, think Pink Floyd with a Sabbath-y, stoner edge. The band clearly have an eye for iconography, they have a great image, with band leader Damon Fox sandwiched between 2 mellotrons with his huge top hat; he is a demented mix of the Mad Hatter and Willy Wonka, in fact, many of Bigelf songs would not be out of place in the Ďtrain sceneí on Willy Wonkaís Chocolate Factory. The band draw on tracks from a their most recent ĎCheat The Gallowsí opus, as well as a variety of others from their back catalogue (which is, incidently, exceptionally difficult to get hold of Ė get it sorted lads!). The chunky ĎPain Killersí and (appropriately) ĎMad Hatterí from Hex slate the headbangers thirst for riffage, while ĎMoney, Itís Pure Evilí and ĎEvils of Rock & Rollí appease those who enjoy the more psychedelic and progg-y elements of the bands repertoire. Also, in a humbling and genuinely heroic gesture, Damon Fox profusely apologises for the bands tour T-shirts reading ĎGlasgow, Englandí, thanks to a printing error. By way of an apology anyone who picks up Bigelf merchandise at the show tonight, also get a free Bigelf t-shirt (not one with the tour dates on I hasten to add!). Itís a really nice touch and shows a band who genuinely care about their fans and how they are perceived by them.
The tide does appear to be turning in Bigelfís favour, not about time as the band has existed since the early 90s, Alicia Keys of all people has been recently waxing lyrical of the band, the rock press are finally giving them column inches they richly deserve and Mike Portnoy of Dream Theatre has made it his mission to raise the bands profile. It wonít be long before they are playing the huge halls they should and we can see the full theatre this band clearly want to be able to present!
Rock and roll is alive. If you donít believe me, check out Priestess and Bigelf. If you donít like them, Iím sure X-Factor starts again soon.
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