Moriaty / Lost Dawn / Honey /The Red Cords – Bunters, Truro 17/08/2012
And this is how it should be. The B-side at Bunters wallahs are currently in the middle of a run of Friday night gigs that are fast becoming unmissable. Not since the Lyceum in about 1981 has anyone served up so much bang for your three quid. Tonight’s throwdown featured a four band rock’n’roll brain melt that left condensation on the walls and tinnitus in the inner ear.
Openers the Red Cords drew us in, summoned irresistibly by volleys of Jeffrey Lee Pierce style yelps and hoots, spliced to a backing that resembles Thee Oh Sees giving it some dirty, over-amped shoegaze. The recently formed trio have only played a handful of gigs, having debuted at the end of June, but already lock together with the tightness of a frozen scrotum. Thus far, only a tantalising live demo is available to check out, but we’ll be keeping an eye out for they.
Honey, of course, is what brought us here. This is the re-tooled line up featuring new bassist Ele and not-quite-so-new drum titan Sammy. It seems the jigsaw is complete – the new rhythm section affording the high-octane power trio a visual and sonic symmetry that gives extra depth and resonance to existing favourites such as the pounding ‘Feral’ and coruscating ‘Rapunzel’. Songs about Genghis Khan and Hollywood shake the air as Ele completes the perfect triangle by locking together with her rhythm partner, while providing a vigorous vocal counterpoint to Sarah’s gravity well magnetism.
Given that this was only the trio’s third gig, the manner in which all the new components meshed into the already impressive template was little short of breathtaking. An as yet untitled new track gave hints as to the way in which Honey may well continue to transcend their previous incarnations; a liquid bass defines a submarine mission (for you, baby), while a driving tom-tom assault is defenestrated by a guitar sound that evokes a pensioner being pierced by a jagged, rancid aluminium cloud at a lonely bus stop. Honey have reached escape velocity – now it gets truly exciting.
If messrs Bolan and Peregrine-Took had grown up in some kinda bayou, eaten Jimson weed and listened to Lonnie Donegan, they might have sounded something like Lost Dawn, a duo who delivered a rolling, shambling, ultimately engaging set of backwoods boogie with laid back intensity. There’s a lyrical and musical subtlety at work here, which effectively underpins their ‘trailer rock’ grooves and is well-displayed on their recent ‘Strange Town’ EP, available via Bandcamp. An island of relative calm between two sonic maelstroms, Lost Dawn seemed to have brought a fair few in to specifically catch them, and on this showing it’s easy to see why their particular brand of aural moonshine slips down so sweet.
Finally, headliners Moriaty showed up and quite simply tore up the place. Another duo, comprised of Jordan (vocals, guitar, filthy noises, bouzouki) and Matthew (drums, backing vocals, ginger hair), they erupted onto the small stage, an eight limbed mass of flailing, churning, powerhouse cheese-grater blues, all wrapped up in skin tight suits. The tightness of their increasingly sweaty apparel was matched by the way in which they meshed together with staggering confidence, swagger and skill to deliver a blistering set that raised the temperature of Bunters to a level only suitable for pygmy volcano dwellers. These boys have big balls – they spliced ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ to Michael Jackson’s ‘Black and White’ as an encore, and pulled it off.
Bursting out of the Teignmouth Delta, Moriaty got together in 2010 and have released one EP thus far (watch this space for a review), citing the likes of Son House and Willie McTell among their influences. Of course, any duo citing such reference points will immediately invite comparisons with the White Stripes. As someone who caught Jack ‘n’ Meg very early on, I’m not at all sure if I wasn’t more impressed with Moriaty. In any case, they remind this reviewer of a better, more fully realised version of Sub Pop sweeties Mr Airplane Man. Seek them out. Hunt them down. Moriaty will make your pores bleed. Fuck it…. you’ll be hearing more about them here, too.