Nine Black Alps

A jaunt to the Hairy Hounds once more to see a band I’ve read about but never actually listened to, partly ‘cos I’m a bit slack like but mainly ‘cos whenever I go onto/into MyBook, YourFace or SpaceTube I inevitably get distracted by some Albanian Gangster Rap, videos of exploding goldfish or messages from people I’ve never met offering to enhance the length of my manhood for just $68 a month. For $68 a month I’d want my manhood to do all the housework, rustle up a nice bit of tea and sing me to sleep too. Why can’t science be more useful eh?

Anyhow, casting aside thoughts of singing members, tonight’s bill looked strong enough to get my left leg twitching (it does that a lot you know…it’s what passes for dancing in my eyes). First up were local boys Black Market Empire who kicked off proceedings with another fine Weller / Cast / La’s / OCS infused set. There’s an infectious jauntiness about this band that’s instantly likeable and each time I see them (I think this was the third or fourth time this year) I’m never disappointed.

Black Market Empire

No ‘Get Up, Get Down’ tonight (often one of the band’s set highlights) but tonight ‘The Letter’ and ‘The Tony Allen Dance’ (it is called that isn’t it?) came off really well and, despite opening for two much ‘heavier’ bands, they got a great reception from the crowd too. Bonus points for a nice bit of banter with one of the audience who took the piss when the lead singer stuttered over one of the song titles “Thanks for coming Damo…you c***”. That seemed to do the trick…

Black Market Empire

Next up Scotland’s Sucioperro (all wearing a distinctive ‘uniform’ of black trousers, white shirts and black armband with a red cross on it) who played a set full of meaty drum driven rock with a good chunk of (fellow Scot’s rockers) Biffy Clyro in the mix. That’s probably not a surprise as lead singer JP Reid is also in (the frankly terrifying) Maramduke Duke with Biffy’s Simon Neil.

Sucioperro

The set, mainly consisting of tracks from new EP The Dissident Code (out now), cracked along at a rollicking pace and featured plenty of thrashing about and ‘foot on the amp’ rock god poses. The funereal ‘No. 273’ and slower ‘Conception Territory’ took the pace down a notch or two, but we were soon back with the thrashy stuff thanks to a blistering ‘Mums’ Bad Punk Music’.

Sucioperro

“Believe in your dreams and tell the ones you love that you love them” implored singer JP Reid just before their closing number ‘Don’t Change (What You Can’t Understand). Coming from the mouth of some people that would sound a little sickly, but at the end of a bruising set, and delivered in that slightly menacing Scottish accent, I found it rather touching. Proof that heavy rock has a heart…albeit a slightly twisted, blackened one.

Sucioperro

Finally, Nine Black Alps. Kind of like Nirvana fronted by Liam Gallagher in places (quite a few places actually) they put on a solid show of full on rock, balanced with a couple of slower numbers that seemed to make better use of Sam’s vocals. As with Sucioperro there’s some pretty heavy stuff in there and the gig kicked off with a prime example in the form of Salt Water (from the aforementioned album ‘Locked Out From the Inside) before settling into, well, a little bit of a gig rut to be honest.

Nine Black Alps

Nothing wrong with the songs as such, but to me they seemed a little samey in places and, with the band suffering from a nasty bout of phlegm, you could understand if their energy levels were less than 100%. Perhaps not knowing the band’s music also stopped me from really getting into it as much as some of the audience, including a particularly determined and energetic stage invader who had to be (literally) carried off and physically restrained for a few moments (Sam christened him his ‘private dancer’).

Nine Black Alps

At times Sam’s voice seemed a little too, I guess the word would be ‘sweet’…I found myself yearning for some Lemmy (or JP Reid for that matter) style growling to match the heaviness of the music. The set picked up considerably halfway through though with ‘Unsatisfied’, the more melodic ‘Bitter End’ and the frankly brilliant new track ‘Vampire In The Sun’ (the set highlight by a good garlic clove or two).

Nine Black Alps

So, overall, not bad but I suspect they weren’t firing on all cylinders tonight. Muchos respect due for turning up and doing the show if they were feeling like a bag of shite though…

Nine Black Alps

Nine Black Alps

Words by Daron Billings
Photos by Wayne Fox

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