19th October | Mothers Ruin

There is a feeling of celebration and anticipation in the air as John make their return to Bristol. It’s warranted; a year to the day since the release of their first record, they mark the occasion with a blistering and impactful set that certainly feels like the start of a new chapter for the duo.

Pork Pie sound scrappier tonight. Encased by the smaller stage, they decimate it with rollicking drums and swirling, caustic guitar. Joe Thomas stands and looms over the kit, smashing it about as the band scream and exasperate their voices to their fullest extent. ‘Rule of Thumb’’s dead-pan delivery suits a more mellow turn, yet in this setting, it burns with more venom, as ominous as it is sullen.

New song, ‘Blacksmith’ is their most raucous song yet, the angular turns of melody mashed with harmonic screams. Josh Hooper rocks to and fro with menace, half pain in his eyes and the other sheer adulation. It’s particularly prominent as they share another new track, one that veers into their more punchier territory, Hooper’s vocal dark, brittle and unforgiving.  

Milo’s Planes are insane live. There’s no more suitable word to describe them. Sheer velocity in noise-meets-funk exorcism. It’s difficult to hamper this band with a category. Their seething rhythm section builds on a metal foundation, but with hardcore tendencies bleeding out of them. The whole band spill out onto various parts of the floor, striking percussion on one of side of the balcony and Joe Sherrin enclosed in the middle and incensed, as if mid-seizure.

The crowd teeter with angst as they blister through their set, half invigorated by the pulsing rhythms and half stood in awe, entranced by the demonic level of intensity they are creating. As the band tear into a cover of ‘Sabotage’ to end their set, all hell is let loose. Sherrin dives into the crowd and ends up three quarters of the way down the steep stairs of the Ruin, a crowd member tangled in tow, both thankfully unharmed and no less deterred.

Despite the kick drum pedal breaking as they immediately begin to play, John roll into a barrage of razor riffs and thumping drumming. Vocals are guttural and spat with force as the sweat drips off them, showing their pure power for a duo. Live, they pack even more of a punch; the meatiness of the guitar lingers further and the drum fills fly at you from all angles. The guitar rings brightly for something so deafeningly loud, the melodic intonation of their sound built from the jerking riffs. The drums, meanwhile, sound like they are being played in an aircraft hangar. They fizz uncontrollably yet are the potent force behind their sound.

New song, ‘Western World’, is greeted with a cheer of “finally” from Big Jeff, the desire to hear new material as strong as receiving their most favoured work. Closing out with an intense ‘Local Blood Sport’ and a euphoric ’Homme D’affaires’, John joke around with the crowd about going on tour with THAT band, ensuring some mock jeers are lobbed their way before acknowledging the forthcoming fun that will ensue for them. If anything, tonight proves that John are more than ready to share such big stages with IDLES.