It’s not usual of me to attend more than one show of a tour (unless it’s a band I’m absolutely obsessed with, or a stream of festival/mini-festival events hosted by an organisation, such as Beat:Cancer.) However, with Industrial duo Psydoll once again travelling all the way from Japan, and a slew of incredibly promising support acts joining them, I had to make an exception! So, last week, I found myself attending two of their gigs, back-to-back. First off, at Percy’s Cafe and Bar in Whitchurch, Shropshire, then at The Wagon and Horses in Birmingham the following night.
Being as I attended multiple shows, I decided to try something a tad different, and combine it all into one mega-review, rather than separate reviews for each evening. To be honest, it kind of makes sense, as it felt like a mini-festival weekender, only with a lot more travelling to different venues. Hopefully the way it’s presented makes sense…
KURO (Whitchurch, 28.03)
First up, on the Thursday in Whitchurch, was KURO. I have to say, I was extremely impressed with this set, and it was a hell of a way to get the party going! The electro hooks were slick, and the live bass was gritty, giving the music a real edge. The fact that Kuro utilised vocal manipulation to change the pitch of his voice at certain points added an interesting dynamic, making it feel like an instrument in itself. It came across as quite experimental, and it was great to see an act do something different from the rest of the crowd.
Tankard Haus (Whitchurch, 28.03)
Next to take to the stage were Tankard Haus ,and this was a pretty big moment for them, as it was their first ever time performing live to a crowd. You wouldn’t have thought this was their first show, however, as they performed with superb professionalism. Nathan Price’s synth playing was on-point, Tom Yorkshire delivered some slick bass lines, and ‘Aro’ Owen was brilliant on vocals. His charismatic personality really resonated with the crowd too, his humour making the crowd laugh on many occasions. With belters like “Stalkers” and “When I fall” on the setlist, it’s unsurprising they went down a storm, plus there was a fantastic cover of Apoptygma Berzerk’s “Non Stop Violence” added in for good measure. It was an impressive live debut, and I cannot wait to see how they continue to evolve on-stage.
Dead Happy (Whitchurch, 28.03)
Dead Happy continued the energy with an absolutely bonkers set. The beats were high-octane and the melding of genres as insane as ever. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, there’s a definite Mindless Self Indulgence influence to their sound and persona, which is in no way a bad thing. Except this is MSI turned up to 11, and with a lot more experimentation (again, a great thing!) This style was received extremely well by the crowd, and a definite highlight of their set was a cover medley of popular, cheesy tracks from the 90’s. There’s not many bands that could get away with doing that, but if anyone was going to pull it of, it’s Dead Happy.
Adam & Evil (Birmingham, 29.03)
The openers for Birmingham on the Friday night were Adam & Evil. I had once been invited to one of their shows, but sadly had to bow out at the last minute due to illness, so I was glad to finally be able to see them. I wasn’t disappointed either, and I was surprised by their unique style. They utilised a combination of acoustic guitar and drums, but presented in a dark Gothic style. This resulted in a sound that had a medieval folk feel to it. I found myself utterly captivated by their set, especially with how well Emma Obsidian’s ethereal vocals, and Wilm Eden’s hypnotic guitar melodies complimented each other. Additionally, Dale Austin’s drumming added an extra richness to the atmosphere. It was a mesmerising start to the night.
Wrapped In Plastic (Birmingham, 29.03)
No strangers to the Birmingham scene, Wrapped in Plastic confidently stepped onto the stage next. At first, I was shocked at how tame it all felt. Their harsh edge was as prominent as ever, their presence dominating the room, but where was the usual debauchery that we were all used to? It turns out that they were just building up to it, as props were smashed against the floor and Mr. Hate ended up in various states of undress as the set progressed. Their gritty sound was brutal, guitarist Squeaky delivering some savage riffs, the overall sound bringing forth a moody, powerful atmosphere. This also came with the shock news that this was their penultimate performance, with a show on 28th June being their last. It goes without saying that I’ll be there! It’ll be sad to see them call it a day, but it’s bound to be one hell of a send-off, if their track-record is anything to go by!
Psydoll (Whitchurch, 28.03 [headliner]; Birmingham, 29.03)
From my experience, Psydoll’s shows are always something to look forward to, and these shows were no exception. They put on electrifying sets on both nights, their lively sound really getting the crowd moving. Imagine the razor sharp industrial edge of early-mid Nine Inch Nails, mashed together with the bouncy energetic feel of Japanese music, and you pretty much get what they sound like. Only Psydoll take it all to a new level and own it, making it their own. There’s a very retro vibe to it, yet it seems very fresh at the same time. They were enthusiastic throughout and it made them a joy to watch.
Attrition (Birmingham, 29.03 [headliner])
Last, but by no means least, Attrition wrapped up this action-packed weekend of music. Being pioneers of the electronica scene, having formed in 1980 right next door in Coventry, they had a lot of experience. This experience truly shone through, and they put on a moody, yet stunning show. It was more of an ambient nature, but it still had enough of a strong beat to get people dancing. There were high levels of atmosphere, to the point where one could probably cut through it with a butter knife. Sonically, it was easy to get lost in the sea of sounds and rhythms, making it the perfect finale.