3rd December | Crofters Rights

Photo: Simon Moyse

On a night when Shame, Nadine Shah, Miles Kane and Tony Wright from Terrorvision (TONY FROM TERRORVISION!!!) were all scheduled to play shows in the city, the presence of Drahla represented further proof that Bristol on a Monday night is the only place to be. The Yorkshire-based post-punk trio have had a growing buzz surrounding them this year, touring with Ought and Metz, and performing at Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival. While maybe not the hottest ticket in town on this particular evening, this show was, to a certain audience at least, certainly the most intriguing.

Speaking of hot, Bristol’s Radiators provide a nice, warm welcome to the building on a cold December evening. Their edgy, psychedelic-tinged take on garage rock gets heads bobbing effectively. Leeches come next, and the Bournemouth trio’s performance does nothing to suck the blood out of proceedings. In fact, this is a band that really look like they could step up to the next level, moving effortlessly from the grunge-tinged ‘Regular’ to the alt-rock of ‘Inside Voices’ to some psychedelic new tunes. Their strong musicianship and effective dual vocals point to opportunities to further expand their sound. Watch out for this lot, if you’ve not been sensibly watching already, that is.

Then on came Drahla, and anyone expecting cheerful banter from the band during the show would certainly have been well-advised to go to the TONY FROM TERRORVISION show instead, as during the show at least, Drahla are all business, no frivolity. While the origins of their name may be a mystery (‘Al Hard’ spelt backwards, gotta be – the otherwise-unfathomable ‘h’ gives you away, Drahla), though, the steadily-growing buzz around them is certainly not.

They immediately reassert their position as “the most uncompromising new band in Britain” by starting their set a good ten minutes before the scheduled start time, the ruffians. This causes a hasty stampede into the music room. The sizeable Crofters Rights crowd will have been struck immediately by the intensity of Rob Riggs’ pounding basslines, reminiscent of Kim Deal at her absolute best, backed by Mike Ainsley’s ferocious drumming.

If you came for the rhythm section, though, what would make you stay would be the lead performance of Luciel Brown. The guitar, moves effortlessly from soft, almost harp-like movements, right up to intense thrashing where the guitar seems to be screaming. The vocals are gorgeous, controlled, almost spoken rather than sung at various points.

The end result is an intense, intoxicating experience that grips the crowd from the first note, even for those that heard that first note from the toilet. While it’s difficult to pick out a favourite moment from a set that was nothing short of brilliant throughout, it was the noise-rock of ‘Fictional Decision’ that really caught the attention. This had some looking nervously at the speaker to see if the bassline was going to knock the damn thing off its mountings. There were also a lot of very effective unreleased songs here too, though, maybe pointing to the appearance of a debut album in the new year. Worth staying alive for, that will be.

All in all, those who chose this show over the other attractions in the city on this night will not have regretted their choice. After all, Terrorvision will be here in their full glory in May. Could 2019 be any more exciting?

See the video for ‘Twelve Divisions of the Day’ here: