Toxik Ephex, Kontroband, Brothel Corpse Trio – The Moorings – 30/4/11
I had been talking with FnS’s own Still Burning at one point this evening (just before he baled out early) about how sometimes you can go along to a gig with no expectations and somehow everything just magically clicks into place. You end up being impressed, surprised, blown away, shocked or whatever and end up having a cracker of an evening pretty much out of the blue.
Tonight sadly ended up being almost the complete opposite of that for me for one reason or another. The first Toxik gig in a while….., in my favourite bar in Aberdeen……, with a bunch of my mates in attendance who I also hadn’t seen in a while….. The evening promised so much.
It started off well enough, catching up with the aforementioned mates before the Brothel Corpse Trio took to the stage. After the usual quick Moorings line check they started off their set and by midway through the first song, the mix was sorted and, typically for The Moorings these days, they sounded really good. The band play a sorta horror themed, double bass driven punkabilly, with a nifty line in toe-tapping, singalong tunes……for a while. For the first five or so songs I was really enjoying them and then the next five songs sounded like the first five songs. Then the next five songs sounded just like…..well, you get the picture. Individually, the songs are fine. I could randomly pick any track off their album and be assured it was a goody but for me there’s just not enough variation in the sound to sustain a lengthy set in one sitting. By the time they finished, I was ready for something different.
“Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it”. How many times have you heard that old saying? Well it was certainly true tonight. Sometimes with Brian Fudge’s eclectic booking policy, you get a mixed bill that really shouldn’t work on paper but, on the night, it all mysteriously gels together somehow. Tonight it didn’t. The next act, Kontroband from Glasgow, with their Hendrix fixated 70’s rock, soon had me checking my watch and wishing the Brothel Corpse boys would return to the stage. It’s not that they were particularly bad. They are obviously very talented guys and play well together. It’s just that I’ve already been bored to tears with their chosen genre once before in my youth (when the style was at least semi-relevant and contemporary). I don’t need to relive it again in the 21st Century. Bored, bored, bored.
Of course by the time they had guitar-wanked their way to the end of their set, my companions were all getting pretty well oiled and, to my designated-driver ears, their conversation was degenerating accordingly. Therefore it was with some dismay that I heard the announcement that there would be some delay and Toxik Ephex would not now be onstage until 11:45. Particularly galling as I had to drive back to Peterhead and get up for work at 6am next morning. Still, there’s a price to pay to keep the punk rock heart beating and I’m generally pretty willing to pay it. By 11:45, things weren’t looking good though. Still no-one on stage and various Toxik guys were outside The Moorings making frantic phone calls to errant singer Dod who had failed to show up for tonight’s gig. Inside the bar, the whispers that were going around of “Who knows the Toxik lyrics?” were only half-joking I suspect.
Some time after 12 though, the band minus Dod take to the stage and start without him, making some vague reference to the possible appearance by a special guest later in the set. I had my doubts. With Inspector Blake assuming vocal duties, they perhaps unsurprisingly kick off proceedings with a cover. What is surprising though, is that it’s not their traditional opener – Wild Side Of Life – but an entertaining run through the Red Lights’ Never Wanna Leave, a pleasant enough wee tune but hardly classic TE fare. Still, it gets everyone going down the front so serves its purpose I guess. Next up we get a bit of a blether from Inspector Blake, a bit of a tune up from the rest of the band, a bit more of a blether from the Inspector about a possible forthcoming single which may include this next track and they launch into….another cover. This time it’s Dylan’s The Times They Are A Changing. It’s a song that’s been often covered before and, to be honest, a song I’ve never really been a fan of, so I hope the new recording – if/when it comes off – will contain some self penned tunes as well.
Lengthy between song banter, arguments, tune-ups and general fannying about are all synonymous with Toxik Ephex gigs across the years. It’s generally accepted as part of the show and, at times, can be almost as entertaining as the songs themselves. But with the lead-up to this, the main event, having provided few highlights, I’m finding the lengthy bass intro to Police Brutality, with the band trying various chord sequences over the top, seemingly till they find one that fits, a bit of a chore. They finally settle on an approximation of the right one and kick off the song. It’s at this point that you realise just how badly they miss Dod. Fred can sing, no doubt about it, but he doesn’t have the strength of voice and, more importantly, the passionate delivery of the missing front man and the song suffers accordingly.
Fallout Shelter is up next and the same problems are apparent. Fred is also struggling with the lyrics too and there are a couple of fluffed lines here and there, the odd missed beat from Chiz on the drums. It’s a valiant effort from the guys given the unforeseen circumstances they find themselves in, and the crowd down the front are 100% behind them as usual. I’m getting really knackered though and the conversation from my cohorts is getting evermore incoherent, and my mind starts wandering to my 6am rise for work. When the band starts the intro to their hybrid cover / rewrite of the old Foster & Allan hit, Maggie, I decide it’s time for me to hit the road. I feel bad about it but what can you do? Sometimes adversity and / or real life takes over. I’m sure Toxik Ephex know that more than most.
New York Johnny
Toxik Ephex Website
Brothel Corpse Trio MySpace