The Amazing Snakeheads, John Knox Sex Club & Pinact – The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen – 06/10/14
Three fresh bands at The Lemon Tree tonight and we have newcomer Akira Fox along to give us her review of The Amazing Snakeheads performance.
Another wet October night, where you find yourself thinking “och I’ll just say in and watch ‘Breaking Bad’ again”. I’m glad I pushed that thought aside, not because it was some ground breaking, musically complex, mind opening experience, but because it was an evening of cathartic rage the likes of which I have rarely experienced in the Granite city .
I watched intently as the Glaswegian three-piece took the stage, the singer (Dale Barclay) in black suit trousers, black patent leather shoes, topless apart from the Fender telecaster, bejewelled with copious amounts of sovereign rings, I was expecting an angry show, and they did not disappoint.
Opening the set, was the song ‘Flatlining’, I thought Joe Strummer had been cloned by the University of Glasgow and released back into the wild, I kept hearing punk and blues combined in this strange dark fury filled song.
Next up we had the track ‘Where is my Knife?’, this was a song where I found it hard to keep my jaw off the ground, Dale taking control of the stage like a coked up mafia boss forced to participate in some kind of phsychodramatic therapy, this is a song you could dance to, it was sexy, dark and gritty.
‘I’m a Vampire’ is a song that sounds like a resentful divorce and I like the fact the whole piece has bugger all to with vampires. It discusses a conceited woman knowing she is good-looking, that she is it, and we all know one of them don’t we…? The Vampire of the song title a metaphor, perhaps? Probably just a snazzy title, though.
‘Here It Comes’, is probably the bones of the set, the most popular song with the audience, I’m starting to find my mind wandering into this strange dark rockabilly goth, punk world. Not hating it, but at times fearing there may be no way back.
By the point where ‘Storm’ is played the crowd are adequately pissed up, myself suffering from the reality of sobriety, well I’m starting to find the show a bit samey. It would be difficult for a new listener to discern differences in the songs. Dale at this point vocally resembles some ghostlike banshee.
‘Bullfight’ brings the silk and leather mixture vocally, of the fantastic Laura St Jude, this was a clever move as it perked up my interest again, right at the point where I could have happily nipped out for a fag without regret. She remains with the band for the next track ‘Swamp Song’, I’d say the best song in the set for me, but I love vocal dynamics. This band is about more than vocals though.
When they get to the song ‘Memories’ I can see the bass player (William Coombe) gesturing to the Drummer (Jordon Hutchison) and I feel like something is about to happen. It never does, not detracting from the agonising, dirty goth, rockabilly catharsis of Dales vocals and lyrics bringing the song to its crescendo with him on his knees in front of the drums.
The last song in the set ‘Can’t Let You Go’ is where I make my mind up that The Amazing Snakeheads are a band you must see live first, before listening to a record. Coombe (bass) punches ceiling tiles that come crumbling down on to the stage, the whole band and audience in some kind of transcendental state, waiting for a climax that sadly doesn’t quite come. This band is well rehearsed, lyrically interesting, all accomplished musicians, they put on one hell of a show, and not one you will forget soon, but I can’t get past the feeling that they have no agenda, when if they did I would find them a more valid band.
If you love your music, cathartic, rageful, psychological and still want to dance, this band are a must see. If you like comparisons then imagine if the stooges Dr Feelgood and the clash all did coke and listened to the sensational Alex Harvey band then made a record. You’d be close but seeing, and hearing, is believing.
John Knox Sex Club
Words by Akira Fox, pictures by Still Burning.
The Amazing Snakeheads Facebook
John Knox Sex Club Website