LIVE: Kagoule, God Damn, Savanna Bones, Catbone – The Cookie, Leicester 03/10/14
Leicester’s The Cookie is a coffee shop that, in its basement, houses one of Leicester’s finest music venues. A tiny room that under the right circumstances, like all of the best places, becomes almost unbearably hot, and tonight is one of those times. Even as Nottingham’s Catbone take to the stage to a relatively sparse audience, the heat is rising and their riff-filled disjointed rock only exacerbates matters as the crowd starts to get animated almost immediately. On record Catbone are stripped back bluesy rock and roll with guitars that take a back seat to the melody, but live it’s all about power. The music tears your face off with pure volume and frontman/guitarist Richard Kelsey is a ball of manic energy that adds something special to proceedings.
Leicester’s own Savanna Bones are up against it tonight despite obviously having brought a following with them. Drummer and Vocalist Robbie Hesketh battles against a microphone that is determined to wander off on its own and drumsticks that refuse to stay put, resulting in many impressive displays of one-handed drumming. Despite this and the ramshackle nature of their performance, the sheer force of their personality and their heavy bluesy tunes pull their set out of a potential disaster zone.
Then it’s God Damn’s turn. The night so far has been loud but God Damn take the concept of loud and throw it out the window, instead using a auditory technique called complete fucking bone dissolving destruction. Using a deadly combination of pedals and amps Thom Edward makes a huge bloody racket, while Ash Weaver threatens to annihilate his drums with every hit. Powering their way through a set that includes fan favourite Heavy Money and new single Horus, God Damn are a force of nature. After a member of the crowd ends up on stage following some particularly enthusiastic dancing, Edward invites others up. Amid squalls of feedback Thom embraces the stage invaders, offers up his guitar to one of them, and ends the set to rapturous applause.
This makes you feel sad for Kagoule who close tonight’s proceedings, but fortunately Kagoule are so different to God Damn that comparisons are pointless. Where God Damn are power Kagoule are atmosphere, which is not to say they’re quiet because they still pack a punch, their set stinking (in the best possible way) of mid nineties alt-rock, especially on stuttering highlight Adjust The Way with it’s Bleach-era Nirvana-esque melody. Singer/guitarist Cai Burns stands relaxed throughout, his unassuming voice engaging the audience in an almost hypnotic way leaving bassist Lucy Hatter to be the energetic focal point (unless you count drummer Lawrence English – but don’t all drummers have to be energetic?), her random bursts of energy sending her whirling around the stage.
All the bands walk away triumphant, but if we’re keeping score I don’t think anyone would argue that tonight God Damn walked away on top.