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Heavier Than Life Itself! Live Review of Slowbro’s ‘Nothings’

 

A great addition to the Coventry music scene of late is the more prominent usage of pop-up venues, such as the former site of the Coventry Evening Telegraph and the Central Library being used to feature some of the city’s best underground bands.

Tonight’s venue has been no exception, with instrumental doom-metal band Slowbro premiering their debut album ‘Nothings’ at Backhaus&Co., a bakery in former warehouse now converted art-space Fargo Village. 

Supporting the night has been noisy garage-rock from Trees & Queens and experimental post-punk from Futumche.

Slowbro – photo by Aimee Goodall

First to the stage, John and Jazz of Trees and Queens are Stratford-upon-Avon’s answer to The White Stripes. The duo gel together extremely well, giving a passionate performance with a huge amount of sound for two members. Jazz’s drumming is a highlight of the set, particularly on older, choppier sounding track ‘Strong as Paper’ from their 2015 E.P ‘Wooden Fiction’. Favourite tracks of mine from the set included ‘Everything You Are Is In My Way’ which is due to be released on an upcoming E.P and former single ‘Murder Policies’. I recommend checking them out for something a little bit different than the average.

Trees and Queens – photo by Damian John

Futumche, the evenings second act, begin on an entirely different style to that of the other bands with 80’s synth intro to opener ‘Wait Inside’. Futumche are darkly experimental post-punk from Coventry, blending eclectic influences into something which sounds like sinister storytelling. You get the impression with the mix of drums, synth, and two vocalists to choose from (Steve Clarke has a sinister singing style whilst Jaz Rai is all aggression) that the band can cover seemingly endless creative ground.

They’re definitely warmly received by the crowd with a latecomer shouting “I’ve got a musical boner!” across the stage shortly after second track ‘Misery’ is roared across Fargo, and later another attendee breaks into air-guitar. Following their 2017 ‘Gazing Into Misery’ E.P, Futumche are due to release their first album ‘To The Withered Deity’ in the coming weeks and give the crowd a taste of what’s to come with new track ‘Living In The Void’. Having followed Futumche from the beginning it’s fantastic to hear the new album material, having distanced themselves from any dominating influences of early post-punk and developed their own sound and style.  

Futumche – photo by Aimee Goodall

Slowbro are heavy-as-a-tomb. Tonight’s headliner have the ability to pull you into an atmospheric trance with ultra moody acoustics masterfully played with use of two 8-string guitars as played by James Phythian and Sam Barker-Poole, and the drumming skills of Zeke Martin. It’s refreshing to watch a metal band with so much imagination around their genre. With two guitars and drums, but no bass, they’re a little unusual, but the sound is deep – delving into doom whilst giving ample opportunity to get creative and give an edge of psychedelia.

Testament to Slowbro’s creativity is ‘Fuzz Aldrin’, the second track from Nothings which has a distinctive 1970’s horror movie soundtrack vibe, think metal crossed with John Carpenter. ‘Stranger Strings’ is another which appears to take otherworldly TV and movie references; creating a dark presence in the room, whilst the sombre on-stage presence of the band almost makes you feel a little intimidated. Like all good horror movies you’re entranced, uncomfortable, and really enjoying yourself.

Slowbro – Photo by Cristiana Ilie

Playing the album in full, Slowbro aren’t pretentious with their sound and there are no big egos. The crowd is a varied mix of supportive music fans, all of which by the time Slowbro reach the end of their set playing ‘Pisscat’ (a personal favourite of mine) are moshing in unison and are chatting amongst each other about their first impressions of the new album. There are no long faces at this gig, if anything Slowbro, with the support of Steve Weir of Creature Lab Records, have brought together a range of acts which showcase the range of local bands to the audience and the finale has been their own gem of a debut.

Slowbro – photo by Cristiana Ilie

LINKS:

http://creaturelabrecords.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Futumche/

https://www.facebook.com/treesandqueens/

https://slowbroband.bandcamp.com/releases [Nothings full stream]

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