THE WEEK OF WHELMED PT2 – TROPIC, HAZE & WARMDUSCHER – THE EXCHANGE BRISTOL
Still processing Monday’s top night at Hy-Brasil with SANS & CRACK CLOUD The Shoracle contacted me asking if I wanted a ticket to see Warmduscher at The Exchange on Thursday, at the time I couldn’t remember anything about them at all and had to trust that ‘I’ve played them to you and you liked them’ was a true statement.
Sadly The Arbiter could not attend due to Arbiter related work but as fickle as we are as an organisation we were able to replace it him with a special guest DJ Wired for the evening.
The Exchange is now a regular venue for us to attend and will feature heavily in the impending series of write-ups, if you want to know more about it look up our ‘venues we love’ section so we don’t have to repeat ourselves all of the time.
A top notch trio to kick the night off with some rockabilly infused indie tunes featuring a cutting and clean Wilko Johnson style guitar, funky baselines and solid drumming. Vocals were delivered in a lounge, nonchalant sort of way giving them a big room sort of sound. Despite a slight technical hitch with the bass to begin with the performance was solid with some delicious scratchy guitar solos and an overall tight rhythm section. I believe they’re reasonably new as a band so keep an eye out for them and show your support!
I was so happy to be exposed to this band on this particular band, they were thoroughly enjoyable. Their sound featured inspiration drawn from bands that I love like Parquet Courts (they captured the angst through a stream of consciousness delivery of vocals and stop start song structures that I love, love,love) Stump (bendy and peculiar guitar nuances, off-kilter drums and a wonderfully animated performance) and Bogshed (thick, heavy driving music with a lighthearted touch). They were as angry as they were jovial with the happiest bass player we’ve seen in some time. It offered a wonderful juxtaposition to come across musically quite pissed off but physically chill and enjoying what they were doing. It made for some very unusual thought processes as you weren’t sure whether to happy dance and think of things like knowing there’s good bread at home or whether to kick off and think of impending bills. In the end I thought of both which led to a very bizarre sandwich when I got home. Lots of signature changes that are symbolic of a group of people who are perfect for making music together, very tight and technically excellent.
Like a bible-belt church band gone rogue, these guys waltzed onto the stage with the cool confidence of used car salesmen. I think their appearance certainly warped my perception but what I loved is that they gave me so much to go on. These are without a doubt one of the most American British bands I have ever come across, I love it. Everything about them springs up images of 50s America, but the sleezy, grubby aspects. You can imagine these guys running a con whilst travelling the road trying to make it big, you can imagine the singer’s dad wanting him to be a preacher but he had none of it. You can envisage the pissed off fiancé of the drummer who wants him to pack it up and take the job at her father’s flooring store, hence his apprehensive look as he rocks out on stage, aware that he loves what he does but has to commit and compromise. You can easily imagine him sneaking out of a screen-door of their perfect, picket house and leaping into an old truck being driven by another band member.
Their sound is one so utterly done before and systematically so unique at the same time, a very enjoyable piss take off rock n’ roll and the concepts that surround it. Whether it’s the tempo, a dud note or an off-tuned track there’s something that keeps it rooted to the shadows of alleyways down the side of bowling alleys rather than in the bright, innocuous light of some rock bands.
There is also a preachy, red right hand quality to them, in the way they arrive on stage and a recording tells you that you’re going to love them, in the desperate motions of a singer possessed by his own battle of self-destruction and self-gratification, a fist reaching for the ceiling whilst his other hand is wrapped around the microphone as if channeling an energy from a higher place through the equipment and into our ears. The whole time there was a niggling feeling in my brain that I was being conned, or indoctrinated like we had popped in on the off-chance and were leaving as part of a cult.
But as these former aluminium siding salesmen tricked us as much as they did we also let them. Foolish audience! Totally worth it though, I mean any band that can so seamlessly come across as one thing whilst you know that they’re not is a clever and deceptive outfit. We negotiated post gig whether or not it was a send-up, there was no way of knowing… we’re aware that the band members have solid music careers so is this just a bit of fun? Or is this really them? Which way up, if any, was it?
All I knew for sure is that I really fucking enjoyed it, I loved the sleeze, the grub and the reminded that I’m a disgusting human oozing out of their hypnotic, raw and possibly completely farcical facade as a jilted US rock-band, consuming everything in front of them in the pursuit of success and fame.
As I went to buy their album at the end of the night I saw the singer hand one to a guy and say ‘that’s genuinely the last one we have’ and my heart sunk, then he reached around and pulled out a bunch more and I thought ‘shit I’m right, they are brilliant con artists’ but it transpired to be a different pressing which re-instated the doubt. I bought it anyway and it’s fucking wicked, gold and everything. Tacky, tacky gold, like an old watch. Excellent. It’s a journey through gritty American imagery with Standing on The Corner a track destined to become the intro piece of a Guy Richie movie (you can imagine the monologue over the top ‘this is Stan, he was the getaway driver etc…), 1000 Whispers is the type of crooner number you’d expect to see in the lobby of a seedy hotel through thick smoke, it’s a real smorgasbord of visualisation that ties in nicely with the personas (maybe) that they’ve adopted! Well worth a see and a listen!