A love story with two of the most underrated local bands
Greeted at the door by several members from both bands, I was immediately made to feel warm and welcomed and yet, poor souls, they didn’t even know I was there to review them! The comradery between them all was palpable. The laughs and jokes begin and I'm immediately pulled into a conversation about exceptional guitar players before banter starts over the merits (or not if you ask this writer) of Richie Sambora. I firmly put my foot down for the only decent Ritchie (spelt the right way too) in the guitar world…Blackmore. And fair play; they agreed with a shudder of “She knows her stuff, quick lets go get her a drink!”
And this my friends begins a love story with two of the most underrated bands I have ever had the fortune to, not only meet and banter with, but to hear play in the most intimate, sweaty and sticky floored environment. As I am led down the stairs to the basement amidst plastic palm trees and lurid orange walls, I wonder if is this going to be the best place for a rock n' roll show? Will it draw the admittedly small crowd needed? Then what is that I see before me…Southern Comfort? I mean, no, sorry, Jimi Hendrix stares back at me, to the left I see Dave Grohl…Ohh it gets better. Perhaps this is a hidden, very well hidden, gem?
The crowd goes from empty to packed within minutes as Goddamn Electric (GDE) begin their warm up set, a great mix of old, young, men and women some dressed to the nines and others rocking jeans and t-shirts leaves me totally unable to pin what to expect. Yeah, I have heard both albums and love the both of them but album and live are two very different things.
And then it starts and GDE are off, from the start my ears prick up, like the proverbial bat listening to Sonar, I was drawn in, the constant bass and thumping drums are enough to keep me entertained and begin some fair to middling thrashing around but then the vocals kick in and well….I’m gone. In a little bubble of rock and roll heaven just heavy enough to keep the Black Sabbath Queen in me entertained without overpowering the venue or the crowd. Looking around we all love it, every single head is bobbing around, some arms are up in the air and the crowd is going wild.
The chemistry and comradery off stage is demonstrated perfectly on stage, the four piece are a dream team, they all bounce off one another, one never overshadows the other, the love that they all have for the music they give us as well as each other is amazing. The amount of talent they have is quite frankly ridiculous and surely illegal?
Giving us a host of GDE classics from their album Snakebite; Burn the Rope, Scarecrow and Something More each perfectly balanced, combining catchy riffs, gravel flecked, chest thumping vocals that will leave you wanting more and more. And then the hip grinding eargasm that is Too Dirty hits and the sweat levels in the room increase; think latter day Poison, only infinitely better. An engaging, enterprising treat straight from the ear to the passions with sleazy rock mischief tinged with hard rock honesty.
Ending their set to the inimitable Loyal To The Sinner, frankly the only way to finish what has been an outstanding performance, with its heavy bass, thumping drums and growly lyrics in full force with a predominant catchy riff seeping through your brain and grabbing onto the sense to haunt you as a dazzling earworm full of grinding and ear pleasing guitar solos that transfer so very well from CD to stage in a move that is not only bold but impressive, in this venue there is no room for errors and there were none.
A fitting end to the GDE foursome as we know and love them as Tommy leaves GDE are an immensely talented vocalist down. Good Luck to them finding someone, I really hope they do as I want to see them again and soon.
As a standalone act, GDE are immense. Supporting Bigfoot they are a hard act to follow and I really do not envy Bigfoot for having to do so, but it is their launch and on they must go. The energy in the room dense with anticipation as there is a brief wait for the guys to get going.
"Bitch Killer is aggressive, thumping and most certainly a crowd pleaser, this is one helluva song. It will get you up, you will have no choice."
And get going they do, from the off the bouncing energy is thrown out in to the room like a boomerang coming right back at them all for them absorb and thrash it right back out there, a never ending atmospheric Bermuda triangle that increases in vibration exponentially as the set continues.
Commencing proceedings with the grungy crowd pleaser that is Tie Me Down, lead singer Ellis bawls out a growly intro to get things started and set the stage. The tonality and dirty grinding guitar is a bloody good start and sounds better live than on the album with more rough and tumble growlyness as per my review comments, this pleased me immensely and really showed what the guys were made of from the off. In The Gutter, Trapped In Paranoia, Stone Soldiers and Room 64 make up the middle of the set and whilst not on the album I reviewed are all bloody good. Every single one is worth a listen each one leading to the next effortlessly, making the set flow smoothly and etching the professionalism these guys have in stone.
Bitch Killer in real life, aggressive, thumping and most certainly a crowd pleaser, this is one helluva song. It will get you up, you will have no choice, a classic in the making, the impressive dual lead guitar strikes again. Just amazing.
Come Down My Way; a slow, acoustic melody as an opener here allows the crowd to see the softer side of the groovy riffmeisters, the melancholic, country inflection pronounced yet subtle in a lovely juxtaposition leading me to lean forward and listen intently. Well played, well sung and all around well-presented I am in awe of how quickly the atmosphere changes to a softer swaying momentum allowing the guys to shine.
To finish they execute Other Side Of Paradise perfectly, a huge riff laden, rhythm monster I referred to it as previously and I stand by that with (cow?) bells on it. Great on the album but down right fan-bloody-tastic in real life. The Led Zep influence roaring to life to fill the basement with a cacophony of melodic, rampant, guitar fuelled naughtiness. With a guitar solo to rival the best and adrenaline pumping drums it is a wonder I was still standing when it ended quite frankly.
If Tina Turner and Mick Jagger had a bastard love child, lead singer Ant Ellis is it, the dancing is legendary, combined with the head banging guitar work from Mick McCullagh and Sam Millar, the sonorous bass work supplied by Matt Avery and all perfectly supported by the Animal like drumming from Tom Aspinall.
They showed immense amounts of talent, chemistry and style but most of all fun. Yes, fun; they all love doing what they do and you can see it, what is more you can feel it, the feel good factor dragging you in and holding you captive from the beginning to the end smoothly and without hesitation. The gig was one full of talent, energy, rip roaring music and bloody good fun.
So boys done good? Hell yeah, the stood out next to GDE, they neither swallowed them or allowed themselves to be swallowed, they circled the differences between the both and ran with it, full pelt with chicken neck style thrusts and bloody nailed it. Yes they worked well together but I am damn sure they could hold their own and positive they will do soon.