22nd September | Crofters Rights
Photos: Michael Brumby
Let’s play a game of No Violet bingo. Moshpit? Check. Crowd surfing? Check. Fuzz-infused headbangers? Check. Looks like we’ve got a full house. No Violet are currently killing it and putting Bristol on the grunge map. It was the last date of their UK tour, so naturally a sell-out gig was always bound to happen. In celebration of their EP launch, the four-piece fuzz-rockers serenaded a boisterous crowd with monstrous sounds and dynamic song structures, leaving everyone in awe, or alternatively, headbanging for their lives.
Support came from forefathers of math-rock, Chiyoda Ku, performing an enigmatic set which was filled with insane breakdowns and slurred guitar riffs. There was footage of a train heading down a railroad track being projected on the back wall, although in hindsight, it should’ve been POV footage of a white-knuckle ride. Chiyoda Ku were tantalising, with an aggressive kick drum and a bass line which was teeth-chattering, along intricate time signatures.
We were totally stunned and probably upset for not checking them out sooner. There was even a point where the crowd were singing the main riff – something I thought that was impossible to do with a math-rock band. There were chips of wood flying from drummer, Toby Green’s sticks, a sure enough indication that these guys have a sound that’s so massive, it’s likely that it registered on the Richter scale.
No Violet then entered the stage. The projection on the back wall depicted their logo, with singer Ellie Godwin gesturing the sign of the horns (you know, the gesture that Gene Simmons tried to trademark). The band were silent; the funky bass intro to ‘America’ was played, the tempo slightly picking up with intense guitar riffs and dynamic time signatures. Ellie’s distorted vocals were haunting, especially during the latter half of the song, where the tempo slowed down to a slurring waltz. There was a Dilly Dally vibe about this song, which along with some math-rock elements made for a mighty opening track.
Along with kicking ass and performing gutsy alt-grunge tunes, No Violet have been teasing with other genres. 70s-style tune ‘She Goes Her Own Way’ was a swirling western soundtrack number which showcased a more delicate side to Ellie’s diverse vocal range. A much more mellow arrangement, with a crooning lead riff which then built to a massive crescendo resulting in crashing drums and shrieking vocals, and of course the obligatory crowd surf from a thrill-seeker in the audience. The song ended with Ellie saluting the crowd with “mad tings, yo.”
‘Be My Friend’ began with a simmering whisper, a song with some serious No Doubt vibes about it. Twanging Gothic guitar with a funky bass riff from Kerry, it slowly transcended into a manic jam like outro, a repetitive riff with the lyrics ‘are you gonna be my friend’ aggressively being sung in an Alanis Morissette manner. It wouldn’t be a killer gig without a mosh pit right?
The night ended with ‘Pushing Me’, in which Ellie and Kerry switched instruments. A foot-stomping anthem with distorted vocals and an unforgettable outro with Kerry using her mobile phone as a slide, shredding ferociously. No Violet stood exhausted, whilst a roar of applause and cheering filled the room along with one final round of feedback, to end a truly manic night.