Band of Skulls

Listening to Kerrang Radio on the way to the gig – as is obligatory for all self-respecting Gig Junkies, it seemed that uber-hot bass playing front woman Emma Richardson was poorly and wasn’t well enough to attend the pre-gig interview. Whilst mass hysteria and a heightened state of panic didn’t necessarily ensue in the GJ mobile, the photographer and I, firmly cross our fingers in unison wishing her a speedy recovery so she could entertain us at the HMV Institute a little later on.

Band of Skulls

Fast forward 3 hours and we needn’t have worried. Not a jot. Excellent gig delivered by the Band of Skulls and once more they justified the entrance fee with their brand of melodic, blues based, bass driven rifftastic rock. Phew!

John J Presley offered the opening support slot. Unfortunately we arrived part way through the act and our photographer was unable to get some shots of the talented bearded frontman. I think this was down to our concern for Miss Richardson’s welfare. Not JJP having a beard, but the fact that we arrived late. Anyway, I digress. John J is a really interesting act, something very different. Evidently he’s an accomplished musician and songwriter who has a gruff, sandpaper like vocal that complements his individual style of hard hitting rock riffs whilst being ably supported by droning keys and hard hitting drums from his equally as cool cohorts. An act to look out for in the future.

FOLKS

Main support came from the North Wests Folks. Sitting alongside Jake Bugg et al as part of the crop of current media darlings for 2013 and earning plaudits from the likes of Noel Gallagher, Folks obviously have something, it’s just that for me, they didn’t really produce it on the night. They look like a band and their songs are nice enough, but the sound wasn’t great and the feedback was ear shattering at times which certainly detracted from their performance. Maybe they were just having an off night…

Band of Skulls

On to the Band of Skulls, but before I eulogise prolifically about their exemplary performance, I need to address a current bugbear of mine. Farts! Recently at the Ben Howard gig I was greeted by a smell so pungent, so catastrophic on the nasal region, that I’ve been unable to smell properly since. That is until a smell so toxic, so nausea-inducing manifested itself in my vicinity and violently reignited my capacity to smell at the Institute on Thursday night. With a vengeance! Due to their close capacity with the stage, photographers are armed with earplugs to protect them from noise pollution. Rightly so! To comply with some legislation that simply must to be in place, it is my recommendation, from this moment forth, that all Gig Junkies reviewers are armed with nose plugs to protect them from similar vomit inducing intrusion that I had to endure. Alternatively the culprits are fitted with butt plugs. Either way something needs to be done.

Band of Skulls

Anyway, after regaining some sort of consciousness I applauded alongside the rest of the audience as the Band arrived to the sounds of Paul McCartney’s ‘Live and Let Die’ – an ode to their poorly songstress perhaps? Guitar turned up to 10 and bass booming along in unison, they wasted no time in delivering one of their classics as they belted out ‘Sweet Sour’ as the opener to the obvious delight of their fans.

Band of Skulls

With their retro look and vintage 70’s blues/rock sound it’s instantly obvious why they’ve got such appeal and loyal fan-base. Combining 3 way riffs (harmonised vocals, guitar and bass) they have a really powerful yet unique sound that is both melodic and dynamic.

“We are the Band of Skulls from Southampton” cited the singer, “thanks for coming out on such a tropical day” somewhat ironically.

Switching from hard hitting pile driver to harmonious ballad with consummate ease, the three-piece treated the partisan crowd to all of the best material from their two albums, including the banging ‘You’re not Pretty’ the vocally clever ‘Patterns’ and the beautiful ‘Cold Fame’ culminating with splendid ‘Diamonds and Pearls’.

Band of Skulls

They finished their encore with ‘The Devil Takes Care of His Own’ and signed off another successful trip to Brum. Surely it’s only a matter of time before they play some of the second Cities bigger venues.

Band of Skulls

Gig Review by Zak Edwards
Gig Photos by Bianca Barrett

One Response to “Band of Skulls + Folks + John J Presley @ The HMV Institute, Birmingham, UK – 6th December 2012”

  1. Wayne Says:

    Beautiful quality guys. Shame about missing JJP, he is ace indeed.

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