Live Gig Review and Photo Essay: Tractor, Alabaster Suns, Big Naturals, Taint & Kylesa live at the Croft in Bristol UK

A short while ago I visited The Croft in Bristol, UK and saw three bands play. They were Tractor, Alabaster Suns and Taint. The Croft is a great little venue that has a bandroom for gigs that is about 50 x 30 in feet & inches, jut right for a real ’live’ atmosphere. Check the Croft out at www.the-croft.com

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Tractor were first on stage, a band from Bristol who kick out a their own style of noise Rock. They played a fairly short but kick-ass set. All three acts had to clear the band room fairly early, but all three bands made for this with the content of the sets.

Alabaster Suns from London played next and thrashed out an excellent set of their brand of concrete/industrial Rock. Again a short set but mind blowingly magnificent. They have a debut CD named ‘Alabaster Suns’ which has received glowing reviews from Kerrang, who gave it a rating of 4/5 and from Rocksound who awarded it 7/10. Their sound is brutally heavy oozing with deep bass lines, frantically rampant drum rolls and rhythms that make their style roll all over the place with riotously raunchy guitar chords, riffs and licks completing the package perfectly with the such strong vocals to make the sound heavy as you like. Check them Out at http://www.myspace.com/alabastersuns or their main site http//www.iron-pig.com

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After another short interlude Taint came onto the stage and played about six tunes, most of which were new to me as sadly I do not have much of their material as yet. This was the second time I had seen them play and their sets are magnificent, Their unique sound journeys through elements of sludge, modern metal, punk, doom, and stoner Rock. They formed in 1994 as teenagers in the South Wales DIY punk/metal scene, yet are to some degree children of classic rock. They produced a string of demos, compilation features, and split releases over eleven years honouring the British rock underground until their much anticipated first full length album was released in 2005, called ‘the Ruin of nova Roma‘. As a band, Taint have never limited themselves to the influences of their DIY contemporaries but are more inclusive and broad in their tastes and style. In this sense neither are they an amalgamation of the many influences and bands they have toured with. They have skillfully developed a very individual changeable style despite taking many characteristics on board with open minds. Taint are often labeled with the tag of ‘Stoner Rock’ and this mostly suits, it is genuinely difficult to comfortably slot their unpredictable “moving pieces of art” into any specific genre. Aggressive, fast, sludgy, riff-laden, , fierce, brutal, contemplative and melodic are all words that have been used to accurately describe their music in terms of movement and progression throughout. Perhaps non-commercial, certainly involving and diverse, Taint have taken their punk-based riffs to a new level of intensity that successfully carry, emote and intrigue and excite. As Rocksound magazine so accurately pointed out in their album of the month review about ‘Secrets & Lies’ Taint are a and that is keeping British Rock on the worldwide map and it makes me proud to be able to highlight them here.

A personal crisis landed just after this gig, stopping all me in my tracks in all that I do. Then I saw that Taint were playing again at The Croft, Bristol UK, www.the-croft.com so I just had to go and experience the next musical slaying that Taint were promising through their myspace page, check them out at http://www.myspace.com/taintuk or www.taint.co.uk

I just had to return one month later for more, not only for Taint but also to see a new band to me, Kylesa.

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I had seen Kylesa on the setlist in Taints myspace blog and checked their myspace page, and liked what I found so much that I was already smitten by their sound and keen to see them.

When I arrived I found that an act called Big Naturals was also on the list, they opened the evening and got it all going in fine style as I was escorted in as a guest by the very gracious and friendly Jimbob who fronts Taint, thank you so much Jimbob, my first ‘almost famous’ experience.

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Getting back to the Big Naturals who are a experimental psychedelic
Rock outfit who sometimes play as a two piece outfit and others as a three piece. On this occasion they played as a two piece outfit and blasted out an impressive instrumental set of wildly rolling and inventive drum rythyms being beaten out of a relatively small kit accompanied by the bass player who works those strings so hard and creatively to make such a great deeply solid and heavy rolling and driving sounds cape, this band are not to be missed, check them out at
http://www.myspace.com/bignaturalsrock

Another short break for a smoke and a drink outside on the pavement due to our new smoking regulations in the UK and Taint are up on stage blasting out their own self styled fusion of hardcore Rock and Metal delivered with a feel of punk to it, thanks to the joyful ferocity of the delivery and the intensity of drive that Jimbob, Chris and Alex all put into their work.

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The set was about 40-45 minutes in duration and as ever once again that great sound of theirs grips you by the ears before it kicks you in the guts, I love it. I have been blasting their sound out an awful lot recently, I don’t just like it, I need it.

They have been around since 1994 as mentioned so it is no surprise that the two albums they have out have so much skill and experience condensed within them and also the overall sound and style of Taint is so dynamic. Jimbob, Chris and Alex work so well together that they are a cataclysmic formula, Jimbob is the most full on vocalist that I have ever seen, Chris on the five string bass that he works like a demon and assists with the vocals making a great double act in this respect. Taint have an excellent website www.taint.co.uk if you go here and onto the media section you can get four free downloads, each off of a different CD release –

Taint – ‘Hex Breaker‘ mp3 (taken from ‘Secrets And Lies’ Rise Above Records)

Taint – ‘Poison Pen Attack!’ mp3 (taken from ‘The Ruin Of Nova Roma’, Rise Above Records)

Taint – ‘Chevy Chase’ mp3 (taken from the Taint/Black Eye Riot split album, Black Pheonix Records)

Taint – ‘No One’s Saviour’ mp3 (taken from ‘Die Die Truthspeaker’ mini-album, Household Name Records)

If you check these tunes out you will hear why I am so taken by this excellent three piece, they also have a video section where thy are showing Taint at Earls Court – Give It A Name ‘ from 2006.

I arrived at this gig with a head full of personal demons which I had been quelling by listening to ‘Hex Breaker’ and the other three songs on the above list,’ Hex Breaker’ being my aptly titled favourite worked perfectly. The live set finished the process off and then a band unknown to me came on to top the bill, Kylesa.

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Kylesa are brilliant and have a stupendously big sound with two drummers working in perfect syncope with one another, Eric and Carl being the stick wizards.

Phillip and Laura provide guitar and vocals in a fine combination of hard rocking styles, which blend beautifully.

These are plied in a way to create a sound so rich and colourful that it is unmistakable. Corey is the bass maestro providing a flamboyant backbone to Kylesa’s soundscape, with the occasional ‘Townsend’ style leap into the air while firing out bass chords in true Rock style.

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It is so uniquely heavy with two drummers and all the outstanding guitar work melding together and being topped with two perfect vocal styles. If the term ‘warriors of Genghis Khan’ were to be applied to music, then Kylesa would be Genghis’s chosen few. Check Kylesa out at www.myspace.com/kylesa or www.kylesa.com

Ever since I attended my first Taiko drumming workshop I have dreamed about Rock bands with Taiko drum backing, Kylesa are the answer to this, they drive out their psychedelic rock/metal in a truly mesmerizing shamanic fashion that I am looking forwards to hearing much more of.

1 Comment

  1. What an awesome review ,you always have wicked taste in Bands and tunzs….

    What a night that would have been ….

    Wicked Work Nick,Loved it all…..

    hugs xox

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