Gig Review and Photography by Jonathan Morgan

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Once seen never forgotten, maybe an overused phrase these days, but when Dead Sea Skulls are in town you know that they are going to bring a van load of entertainment, tonight was no exception when they played to a sell out crowd at the intimate upstairs room of The Victoria, in Birmingham’s city centre on Friday evening.

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Fronted by a standing singing drummer, Ash Sheehan. Ash is well know in the West Midlands’ (and beyond) music scene, whether it be for playing with The Twang or his alter-ego nightclub entertaining ‘Grandmaster Ash’, or just for his love of his craft, you cannot stop yourself being drawn into his world. A musical jester some might say, with vocals to match, I stand watching the guy thinking why isn’t he world famous? Then it hits me, there is still time.

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Dead Sea Skulls aren’t just one man though, no, they are a compact unit of skilled musicians that complement each other. The two other members are actually brothers, Jimi and Nick Crutchley, who were formerly in Raven Vandelle, with cracking rifts and booming basslines I’ve already added them as possible members of my dream band, yep I get attached to people and things instantly, I think I’m addicted already.

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As they worked their way through the set, with tracks from recent EPs ‘Fortune Favours The Brave’ and ‘Eau De Kitchen’, the crowd soak in everything while the band give everything, there’s no slack performances on board the DSS, so much that they all must be dripping in sweat, sorry to ruin the mood, but it’s certainly a work hard and play hard performance on show tonight.

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Highlight of the show for me is tracks ‘Givin’ It Up’, ‘The Remedy’ and ‘Time (It Waits For No One). A lot of the music tonight is tight loud and fast but although not slow movers the trio show they can slow it down a tad, it breaks the setup nicely and gives the crowd a moment to cool down, or put another way the calm before the storm.

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On social media the band told people who were attending to bring their video cameras, and they announced prior to final track ‘Turnin’ Away’ that they wanted everyone to film the track and they were then going to merge it all together in a video, a very ambitious task, but it is going make great watching if they can (of course they can!) pull it off.

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Support tonight came from Magpies and Vagabonds, a mix of college rock meets The Futureheads, it was a bit weird as I expected them to be speak in Geordie/Mackem tones in-between songs, but no they were local Birmingham lads, maybe I was just concentrating on Magpies (Newcastle United FC’s nickname) when I should of been turning my attention to Vagabonds instead?! I blame the World Cup, if that is even an excuse?! They played a quality set which got better and better, they looked and sounded great when the lead vocalist threw himself into the tracks, moving like the great Hives frontman Pelle Almqvist at times, confidence is an amazing thing, and it’s something I’d like to see more of when I catch these guys again.

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So as we left the venue, we overheard people stating that was one of the best live performances they have seen in a while, and you can’t argue with that statement! Dead Sea Skulls are loud and need to be heard and seen to be believed, they sound good on record but are unbelievable live, and I beg you to take a listen to them online and if you spot them in your area take a punt and catch them, a brilliant night is guaranteed. Now when are they back in Birmingham, I’m off to book my tickets!

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Setlist:

Absent Ones
Come Around Again
Nowhere I Belong
Givin’ It Up
The Remedy
Time (It Waits For No One)
I Wanna Buy A Rolex
1F# 2A 3B..
Walkin’ The Night
Oh No
Turnin’ Away
Ridin’ High

One Response to “Dead Sea Skulls + Magpies and Vagabonds at The Victoria, Birmingham, UK – 11th July 2014”

  1. Gig Junkies » Blog Archive » Tom Walker + Grafton Ash + Ryan Sparrow at The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham, UK – 1st February 2017 Says:

    […] the audience to their new EP, ‘Existing’. For one song they welcomed Ash Sheehan, of Dead Sea Skulls, to the stage in which he accompanied the band with the […]

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