Monday, 20 May 2013

Live review: BLACK MAGICIAN, PURSON, MOSS @ The Underworld 15/05

I got introduced to Moss by The Guy On My Left At Work, who's giving me and endless amount of recommendations for doomy, sludgey, droney bands. This time he'd tipped me off that Cthonic Rites had been rereleased for legit downloading, and it went straight on my Monged Sleep playlist. After I heard the title song from their new album, the contrast had me really interested in this gig. I assumed they'd mostly play new stuff, but amused myself imagining they'd alternate a song like Horrible Nights with half hour stretches of BURRR for their whole set.

Got to the Underworld with plenty of time to catch all the bands this time. Definitely worth it. Black Magician  set a good impression with some period wear and a waxed moustache, then began hooking me in proper with an intro that didn't seem like it was going to end. I had plenty of time to settle into the ridiculously detuned trad riffing (as low as Moss, like) and organ that sounded like concussion. It worked for me. What really stood out was the singer, sounding like he could've been an estranged cousin of Celtic Frost's Tom G Warrior; once that clicked in my head they had my undivided attention for the rest of the set. Listening to their album Nature Is The Devil's Church afterwards, I've realised that they destroyed my time perception at the gig - I had no idea these songs were clocking in around the 10-15 minute marks. Had been gripped all the way through to the cool galloping bits at the end of each song.




Having Purson on second mixed up the sound of the show nicely. I'd caught a couple of their songs before tonight, turns out they're definitely the kind of band you'd want a warmup to. They took me back to Matt Berry's gig the previous Sunday, in that some well-chosen instruments brought out the best in the songs, and this was perfectly executed at the Underworld. Catchy riffs and motifs, and a vibe that hooked you and frequently made you wanna get stuck into a boogie (I would've if I knew how to) were held together by an excellent bandleader. A great singer, leading each song with memorable guitar lines; charismatic, with a whimsical air that suits the 'twisted nursery rhyme' vibe some of these songs carry. Felt good watching the band rock out together during the instrumental parts, they seemed to be having as much fun as we were. I loved it, my favourite songs from the set have been picked out on the album, and there's quite a few. Already been raving about Purson to my mates that don't do the Really Bluddi Heavy thing.



The evening got back to high quality Black Sabbath worship when Moss got onstage. This set was powerful, maaaan. I've seen people moaning about the heavy similarity between Olly Pearson's current vocal style and Ozzy Osbourne, but fukinel was it working with those great riffs to make an impact. Turned out afterwards that almost all the set had come from the new album after all. Wasn't really surprised, and had a hunch during the set, at one point thinking "wish I knew this stuff already". Y'see, I'd ordered Horrible Night but it didn't turn up til I got back from London. I knew the title song but there were songs like Dark Lady which were heavily engaging during this first listen.

One older song got played (Tombs of the Blind Drugged), someone was yelling for The Gate ("Part I...then play The Gate Part II!"). The response..."We can't remember how it goes!". Oh stoners :-) the front started reeking of weed during one song, no surprise I can't remember which song, trouble with this genre is that there's no way the crowd could jump around and sweat enough to hide the smell from the band. Hope they shared with them after the set though.


No regrets hearing Horrible Night for the first time at this gig. Been trying to figure out what was so stirring about the set...I can just put it down to the stripped-back setup allowing powerful songs to have the maximum impact. This time, they felt uplifting whilst being crushing. It sounds contradictory in words, but I guess you just had to be there. Real glad that I was.





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