Weirds have been on my radar for a considerable amount of time, and their release of debut album Swarmculture has only heightened my obsession with their distinct sound. So, naturally, when the opportunity arose to see them live, I hurled myself into my car, along with my high anticipations, and drove the 180 miles in order to make that spectacle happen.
But was it worth it?
Within the dark and affable venue of The Crofters Rights I grew more and more eager, and allowed my expectations to flourish as the support bands prepared themselves. First up were Dwell, a noise-inspired two-piece with a promising potential. Yet despite this impending greatness, their set was still disjointed in places, and lacked something extensive in terms of their individual sound. Watch this space however, because the two-piece’s combined talent will create something breath-taking one day. They merely need more time and practice.
Following on were HCBP, the bluesy baby of HECK members Matt Reynolds and Tom Marsh; and with melodic dynamism, tasty riffs, and a natural stage-presence, it’s fair to say that their creation is something of vast worth. The duo were a level of chaos that was addictive, with a tight and admirable relationship, alongside the Americana offerings; yet unlike HECK however, there was no need to fear for your life from spontaneous limbs or seized furniture during their set. HCBP are most definitely one to catch live.
Next up: Weirds, and it immediately became evident that the four-piece were going to be everything that I’d dreamed of. Fierce, passionate, and deeply versatile in their abilities, the quirky rock foursome were instantly a sheer explosion of energy, despite the lack of willing audience participation. Their sound, similarly, was meatier and denser than their live recordings, and for me, this was only a desirable convention. It hadn’t even occurred to me that they could be better than said recordings, yet the gig was testimony to that.
As the set proceeded, the high calibre of their music was also made apparent very quickly, and anyone with a set of working ears would have agreed. Tracks from their debut album sounded raw and favourably moreish in the venue, with Phantom, Valley of Vision, Things that Crawl, and Old World Blues sounding particularly ferocious. Dynamically however, the group weren’t afraid to tone it down for Salamander Sister, which demonstrated their ability to impress in a much more subtle capacity. This left me with one glaring question: Is there anything that this band can’t achieve?
There was a convention that thwarted the gig however, and that was the disappointing audience turnout. The group, bloated with raucous energy and a nauseating talent, warranted an audience whose sweat flooded the venue due to moshing and head-banging. Instead they received a small crowd with all the dynamism of a mostly deserted morgue. I’m not sure of the reasoning to this, but it’s a testimony to the group’s character that they still gave their all, despite receiving minimal back from the audience. They even joined the crowd for their finale: something that wasn’t deserved, but was given generously anyway.
All in all, as a reviewer I’ve witnessed some exceptional bands over the years, but Weirds are certainly one of the most explosive live groups that I’ve ever had the good grace to experience. I entered this gig with unattainably high expectations, and to have those met, and surpassed, is something profoundly rare indeed.
Words by Keira Trethowan
Photography by Craig Taylor-Broad