Live (Mercury Tilt Switch / Grozny)
Opening act Grozny are a young trio who make a lot of noise that belies their initial timid stage presence. With repeated guitar riffs creating a cyclical effect and a large military based drum sound, the songs quickly settled into a pattern of guitar freak-out, vocal screams and drum fills taking the track back to the guitar leads.
The bass lines were consistently good, at times overshadowing the lead lines that were running over the top of them, but as the set progressed, the music got tighter and the stop-start flow found its rhythm.
With the vocals featuring at ear piercing levels it was hard to make out the lyrics but the track titles including ‘Was R. Hess Deceived In Or Out Of His ME-110?’ and ‘Cambodia 1975’ its clear there’s a lot more going on than the standard new guitar act. With a demo CD available, repeated listens of Grozny may herald newfound appreciation of music and history.
Mercury Tilt Switch are a bunch of crunching rockers from Dundee who seemed at ease playing to a different crowd and city and spent most of their set engaging in banter with the crowd. The vocals were clear and loud from a singer who spent most of the set prowling the stage and the front of the crowd. The entire band’s stage presence was different however, with the majority of the band spending a lot of the show with their backs to the crowd.
The music was akin to a lot of American rock with early 2000 bands like Filter sounding as though they were an influence. In between songs the band themselves debated whether they were metal or just rock as it’s one of those thin lines in music these days. In the greater scheme of things though, it really doesn’t matter mater too much.
The band excelled when the guitar lines dropped down a gear and performed at a lower, bass level. There weren’t really any choruses that stuck in the mind but the overall quality of the songs was of a fairly decent level.
Headliners Household had the start of their set delayed by a drunken fan falling through their keyboard. Not only did this delay the start of the show, it manifested itself in further sound problems with the guitar tuning in and out.
When the songs arrived, the initial tunes sounded like a cross between Ash and Bloc Party but evolved to a more experimental post-punk sound. There was a lot of use of feedback that worked well and the previously damaged keyboards filled out a lot of the songs. The drums were also an integral part of the groups sound with the rhythms and fills slotting in neatly, driving the song on.
Musically, the band was on form with notable leanings towards Mogwai but sadly the vocals didn’t live up to the backing. High pitched and screamed, and at times sounding like Anne from Little Britain, the lead vocals mainly rubbed against the music that weaved behind it. When the vocals were shared, the effect wasn’t too bad and the harmonies worked but overall, the vocals didn’t work for this reviewer.
On record the Households’ may be able to carry their songs better but on this showing their sound offers many challenges to the listener. Of course, this isn’t always a bad thing, it just depends what you’re looking for in a band.
Guest article from Andy R.
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