Taint, Manatees & Dross -The Tunnels – 02/08/10
The on-line advertisement of this gig was pretty much what made me decide to attend – although I hadn’t heard of the bands, the blurb contained mention of Isis, Melvins and Neurosis so I thought it would be worth checking out. For some reason as I’ve got older I’ve found myself listening to a lot of this kind of thing – I thought my tastes would inevitably mellow but it’s gone kind of the opposite way.
Anyway, when a gig ad mentions that ear plugs will be provided it’s sometimes worth paying attention to – I already have poor eyesight and baldness to my credit so hearing aids I can do without. With this in mind I came along armed with my rather useful fitted earplugs that an oil company kindly provided me with some years ago and which I have somehow managed to avoid losing. Unlike the foam type plugs being dished out on the night, they are designed to only cut out harmful frequencies, so are ideal for music listening purposes.
First band on stage (well I say on stage, the vocalist decides to opt for prowling backwards and forwards in front of the stage) are local act DROSS. Heavy riffing was offset by a variety of roars and screams but the music seems at odds with the vocals – that’s not to say either were bad, just mismatched, to my ears certainly. I don’t mind that vocal style when it fits in place – see the sparing use of such vocals in the work of bands like the aforementioned Isis, Neurosis or Japanese band Envy – but in this case I found myself listening to the music while zoning out from the vocals. In terms of performance, it seemed like a pretty good first gig and I’ll probably head along and see them again, you never know, the vocals may click in my head eventually.
Manatees were on next and ended up as the band of the night for me. A 3-piece who make an incredible racket. The bass is down-tuned and bowel-loosening. The drummer is a big guy and plays big drums, sticks break and fly but he barely misses a beat. He has a second floor tom mounted on the kick drum and still manages to avoid being dwarfed by the kit. Some songs sound like ‘Black Sabbath’ if it had to be heard above a jet engine. Some sound like Sunn O))) jamming Clutch songs. The guitarist and bassist share vocal duties, although the vocals largely take a back seat to the I was mighty glad of the earplugs as I stood stage front throughout, which I don’t think would have been an option without them. All I had to contend with was my insides rumbling, which was strangely pleasant. Apparently they have played Aberdeen before – I’m hoping they play again.
Last band on were Taint, who ran a pretty close second to Manatees. I didn’t really get the Isis and Neurosis comparisons for this lot personally, I heard a lot more of the stoner blues-rock of Clutch on their self-titled second album, mixed in with occasional bursts of Kyuss. In fact the singer’s shaggy hair and beard combination made me think they were reminiscent late 60’s proto-metallists Blue Cheer if they had had access to amps that could be set to the volume level marked ‘insane’. The closing song was a jam worthy of Earthless. I liked them.
There was a pretty healthy (and very hairy) crowd here tonight, especially for a Monday, and the 5 pound entry was well worth it (although the merchandise stand left me near 30 quid lighter by the time I stocked up on some Manatees and Taint CD’s). Well done to the 2 Dave’s who put the gig on. Godzilla Blues