There are venues and bands that perfectly fit together, fuzzy shoegaze or garage rock and the basement of the Sunflower Lounge are definitely a fine match. Make that basement busy and hot and the match just gets better.
Vulgarians are from Hull, maybe that is where the vocal snarl comes from, maybe it’s just coincidental. From the start to the end this band stalked the stage with little acknowledgement of the audience, instead favouring an atmospheric and at times intimidating set. Musically this is a band who understands how to combine rhythms and notes into ever increasing walls of considered mayhem. Feedback and distortion were used sparingly and as a result seemed powerful and important to the overall sound and vocals combined confrontation and fragility.
A combination of post punk and shoegaze merged with occasional hints of Britpop and indie created a style which combines accessibility and artiness. This is no easy combo; this is a band with a serious eye for song writing and clearly a very talented bunch. They are a hard band to pin down but I would liken them to experimental garage rock ear of MC5 and The Stooges, although there were similarities to a much simpler Black Peaks –no gloss and pure lo fi jams.
In many cases this was the first time the audience had experienced Vulgarians and it is unlikely to be the last. It was an incredible and succinct, dynamic performance – a perfect introduction to the band and laid the gauntlet out for Weirds.
Weirds took to the challenge and met it in a head on collision. With many of the same styles flowing through both bands, this was a lineup that really went together. They flew through two songs to open the set and after a breathless thanks to the crowd burst into another at a furious pace. With each song it became harder and harder to know which of the band to look at – the stage presence and general interest created across the stage was fascinating.
The shades of garage, lo fi, postrock and postpunk were patched together with organ/synth sounds which created a completely different building sound. This psychedelic aspect, contrasted with building soundscapes, combined with vocals which, at times, tore through the sound creating a read intensity and drama.
As the set developed into a dramatic end, Weirds grew into and eventually took over the venue – starting with vocals on the bar and ending with the entire band in the audience for the finale. It is in moments like this that bands create lasting live memories and in such a small venue this may be the last time this audience see Weirds this close up.