“Excuse me but what are you wearing?”
“It’s a zarape, great for cold weather!”
“Oh, I thought you were in fancy dress as a Mexican bandit from The Wild Bunch”
“Yeah, that too. A Sheffield porter, please. Pint.”
It’s a strange affair when you go to The Shakespeare two nights in a row, with two completely opposite line-ups going ’round. It’s the beauty of variety, I guess.
Whereas the day before was a pleasing serving of Americana and Gothic music, Saturday 27th of October was a night of pure, 57.15% proof rock. It was a fancy dress affair, with some people going for the fairly popular zombie get up, the ones going for the famous monsters of celluloid (Captain Spaulding!) and people who just seemed to be in fancy dress but turned out its their usual look (apologies to the woman I thought was dressed up as X-men‘s Rogue).
The first band was Cry Havoc, a four piece following the path of shouted vocals and double solo attacks. ‘Pigs everywhere’ was cathartic, with a wah wah solo that gave it a lot of class and ‘Wolves’ was the lost theme tune to Liam Neeson‘s recent venture into feral canine punching. Impressive start for the night, we are already pumped.
Next act, a band playing a darker shade of surf and punk. The band is called Los Pecadores and they are rocking the fancy dress. Holy Frijoles, one of them is dressed as Mil Máscaras! Their sounds are like surfing the Styx and Acheron on a windy day. The groovier sounds reverb slowly, seeping through and leaving a mark. I’m pretty sure there’s a little homage to ‘Peter Gunn’ in there. Noir.
Cavorts are another loud band absolutely giving their best. The fact that they were on fancy dress too and managed not to pass out of heat prostration (the place was getting full by now) was proof of the stamina the band had through their lightning quick set, with rapid-fire riffs and screams that catalysed the reaction that the previous two bands had created. The wave was getting higher, the riptide was pulling the foolish enough to try to swim away from it, not with it.
Flaming Skulls. Fuzzy and noisy. A duo, with a woman on guitars and a guy on drums. The severe loudness of the drums sometimes drowned the stringed sounds, a hard feat to pull as must songs were heavily overdriven and fuzz-ed out. Think of a place between Queens of the Stone Age (for riffs) and Helium/L7 (for the grungy vocal delivery) and you could create a congener for this band. It rocked hard and heavy, punishing the ears of the uninitiated, delighting the ones who craved for a loud-as-fuck spectacle. Consider me already happy (and guilty of planning to steal their stuffed crow).
It’s been almost a year since I’ve last seen Wet Nuns. The place was absolutely packed and there was a rapturous applause for ’em good ol’ boys when they took the stage. Rum libations (straight of the bottle!) were offered to the lucky ones in the front. The old sure-fire hits were there (‘7 year itch’, ‘Laura’), the recent stretch of delectable hits too (‘Throttle’, ‘Heavens Below’, ‘Why you so cold?’). All delivered with their usual gusto and their sense of humour.
But it’s not all about the jokier parts of their shows what makes Wet Nuns such a great act to see live. They do create a complete musical experience because you know they are absolutely devoted to their trade. They are easily one of the hardest working bands and this last year of unforgiving touring has pretty much galvanised them as a band.
My evidence for this gushing? My two fave tracks by them: ‘All the young girls’ & ‘No death’. The songs have evolved so much that whilst speed as been sacrificed, the emotion remains raw and unadulterated. And, hey, it’s impossible not to join on the “woo hoos!” of ‘All the young girls’.
Moshing happened. Some randy motherfucker was dressed up as Doc Octopus and sacrificed his appendages for a quick pagan altar. A deadly surgeon and his girlfriend were taking pictures of each other all the time and pestering Wet Nuns for ‘Throttle’, telling them that they never play it live. They left before the song was played. My camera ended up drinking half a pint some threw. I got kicked in the shins twice. Completely worth it.
Five bands, five precious memories had. Thank you all.
Words: Sam J. “Sticky Zarape” Valdés López
Cry Havoc Myspace.