22nd November | Crofters Rights

Anybody still trying to promote the line about the death of rock and roll clearly hasn’t had their ear close enough to the ground. Deep within the seedy sweatboxes lining the veins of our country’s fractured psyche lies a vivid, beating heart that continues to amplify, a call to arms that proves hard to ignore, that is unless you want to.

Straight off the bat, Bristol’s own Sapphire Blues careen onto Crofter’s Rights’ intimidating stage with all of the force of a bull breaking its paddock gates. Fresh off of the back of their recent single, ‘Good Morning Britain’, Samuel Jones and co land as a whirlwind of visceral, sardonic wit, backed by a mammoth force of percussive strength. Sharp, angry and ever-so-sarcastic in both their attitude and creative output, Sapphire Blues are truly an act that demand every fibre of your being to stand to attention and accept the torrent of musical force quickly rushing towards you. Forever dancing upon the wire of juxtaposition the band offer shades of delicate melody, interspersed with roaring pillars of guitar, hypnotic rhythms pirouetting amongst venomous diction and intelligent lyricism, delivered with charm and humour.

Approaching their craft with a slightly different tactic comes Damefrisør, a many-limbed outfit conducting monolithic compositions with all the aggression and passion of a rabid preacher. The band’s spacious, shoegazing drones provide a distinctly ambient foundation on which to build deeply emotive lyrical progressions and grandiose passages of powerful musicality. There are vivid memories of Mark E Smith in some of the poetry that froths from this beast’s mouth that seems to dance and meld beautifully with the ‘No Age by way of Arcade Fire’ sound design permeated by the rest of the band. Damefrisør seem to excel in their idiosyncratic ability to contain the expanse, to control their existential screams and to hypnotise with their astounding talent for violent empathy.

Finally comes Talk Show, the London-based quartet that have taken the spirit of punk to an unapologetically modern arena. Frontman, Harrison Swann lumbers to centre stage as if he were Atlas, though the world upon his shoulders seems to bring him no pain amongst its weight. Hurling themselves into recent singles, ‘Fast & Loud’ and ‘Ankle Deep’ prove to agitate the sold-out crowd into a harmonious eruption, cultivating an air of hedonistic unity that can almost be tasted if not physically felt amidst thunderous blankets of bass and percussion.

Talk Show thrive on tight, aggressive rhythmic blueprints that seem to have a primal effect upon not only those in attendance but also the band themselves. Harrison and bassist, George Sullivan provide the band’s visual focal point, sharing a camaraderie and a showmanship that perfectly encapsulates the humanity of the band’s output. Watching Harrison dive into the flailing arms of the crowd before him can do nothing if not produce a smile upon your face. Experiencing an artist achieve self-actualisation off of the back of blood, sweat and tears is truly a beautiful moment and one that should be experienced with much more regularity.

See the band play ‘Fast and Loud’ in session here: