Gig Review by Zak Edwards with Photography by Bianca Barrett

Band of Skulls

Celebrating their last gig on the current tour, the rather splendid Band of Skulls found themselves on the stage at Nottingham’s gloriously titled Rock City a day before Mother’s Day and two days before the launch of their 3rd album ‘Himalayan’. Exciting times in the BoS camp.

Since I was a young lad I’ve had a thing about things that bands shouldn’t have. It’s like in the foodie world, you should cover a nice fillet steak with tomato ketchup… Anyway, I digress. For me a band should NEVER have a bass player with a 5 string bass (why would you), NEVER employ a stand-up drummer (what no bass drum?!?) and NEVER utilise a drum machine. Unless you are the chemical brothers. Call me irrational, the purveyor of nonsense or whatever. It’s my review and I stand by it…

Band of Skulls

So, when support act, Coves, made their way on to the stage armed with a stand-up drummer, who then – part way through the act – integrated a drum machine into his repertoire, things didn’t bode well from a personal perspective. Admittedly they made up for this percussive faux pas with the introduction of a megaphone (always a nice touch) and an attempted cover at one of the world’s greatest ever songs (Wicked Game) but I struggled to get past the stand-up drummer thing! Reminiscent of 80’s alternative pop duet the Cocteau Twins, Coves are a synth heavy band reliant on haunting vocals and lots of reverb. Their songs are nice and well-constructed, but a little one dimensional. Room for variation me thinks…

Band of Skulls

Up stepped the main event and the first thing that struck me was the confident swagger that surrounded the band – one which was not as visible had at previous outings I’d seen them – and the new hairdo. Very. Nice. Indeed!

Band of Skulls

Kicking off proceedings with new ‘stomper’ and first song on Himalayan, Southampton’s finest proved why they are selling out left right and centre and why their support act have a little way to go, with the thumping ‘Asleep at the Wheel’. Nuances aplenty combining the heavy lead/bass chorus riff with excellent harmonies, it was classic Skulls and instantly well received by their band of followers.

“Good Evening, we are the Band of Skulls from Southampton. This is the last night of our tour” announced singer Russell Marsden, “and this is an old one” as he belted into the rain drop effect guitar intro, aided and abetted with thunderous drum beats of ‘You’re Not Pretty’, followed by fans favourite ‘I Know What I am’.

Band of Skulls

Being an elder statesman of the gigging fraternity, I remember the halcyon days of being carried from the back of the gig to the front (and back) without your feet touching the floor once in all-encompassing mosh pits. I may be looking back at these tremendous times with rose tinted (John Lennon-esq) spectacles but gigs don’t seem to have the same ‘oomph’ as they used to. Not this one. From the very off, it was moshpit-a-go-go! Obviously I’m too old to join in, but I have to admit my leg was twitching more than once to get involved #goodjobthemissuswasthere

Band of Skulls

New songs intertwined with old, slow with fast, heavy with soft, but all possessing the Band of Skulls signature stamp – great riffs, catchy melodies, note perfect harmonies and pounding beats.

None of their ‘recipe of rock’ seemed lost on their ‘new stuff’ as they treated the crowd to soon-to-be-favourites (and excellently entitled) tunes like ‘I Feel Like Ten Men, Nine Dead and One Dying’ and my personal fave ‘Hoochie Coochie’.

Band of Skulls

The encore was predictably brilliant and encouraged much participation from the vocal and still energetic audience. ‘Light of the Morning’ followed ‘Sweetsour’ which was then topped off with ‘Death by Diamonds and Pearls’ – probably their best known tune to date.

Band of Skulls

If you’ve not seen the Band of Skulls, then you really really need to! Their unique and polished (yet dirty) sound, whilst being brilliant on record, doesn’t do them anywhere near the justice they deserve. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed and you may even find yourself partaking in a most excellent mosh pit.

Band of Skulls

2 Responses to “Band of Skulls + Coves at Rock City, Nottingham, UK – 29th March 2014”

  1. Wayne Fox Says:

    Love love love this little lot..!

  2. Bianca Says:

    Thanks Wayne x

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