Gig Review by Daron Billings / Gig Photography by Wayne Fox

Muthers Rehearsal Studio

A moshing butler, a raffle prize that included a Bubba Ho-Tep action figure, a Fray Bentos Pie, drumsticks and…er…’lube’ (answers on a postcard please…) and five bands for £5 with all proceeds go to kicking cancer’s butt (does cancer have a butt…I guess it does…), what’s not to love eh? First off high fives to Thomas Wagstaff (Female Smell) and Nat Jones for organising it all. Happily Wags beat the disease a few years ago and tonight was his way of paying back the Teenage Cancer Trust who clearly gave him oodles of support during his treatment and recovery.

Muthers Rehearsal Studio


If cancer had the nerve to wander into Muther’s studio this evening (cool venue by the way) it’s likely its ears (again, not sure if cancer has ears…I’m really over thinking this aren’t I?) would be torn clean off by pretty much every band on the bill. IONS kicked things off with some neat multilayered guitars and railing at the moon vocals (nope, even I’ve got no idea what I’m on about today) recalling At The Drive In having a jam with Foals. At their majestic best when they hit their riffy, proggy stride.

The Double Happy

After a quick breather and bottle of Newkie Brown (keepin’ it old skool) The Double Happy laid done some mighty solid slabs of sound, surprisingly tight vocal harmonies and the odd primal scream to freak out anyone not paying attention. Set highlight Taxidermy’s one hell of a tune, part Sabbath, part Jane’s Addiction its time changes and juddering stop start hip hop rock vocals make it the kind of song disenchanted black clad teens should be going three shades of mental to.

Female Smell

Another quick break…and another bottle of Newkie Brown…then it’s time for The Smell. I’d not seen them live before but the rumours were true, they’re bloody good. Tonight bare chested lead singer Garry Payne comes across like the bastard child of Lux Interior and Iggy Pop, inspiring the event’s elaborately moustachioed MC Rupert Bell (dressed in a full butler’s outfit…and I mean the proper shit…none of this fancy dress crap) to mosh himself into oblivion. As the band gloriously grind out the noise Payne chews up and spits out the lyrics like a terrier with tourettes (yep, I’ve lost it again), most effectively perhaps on recent single Normal Today, a brooding post punk meltdown that manages to be both maddeningly catchy and more than a little disturbing at the same time. I blame the video. As the all too brief set clatters to an end the remaining band members plunge off stage, passing their lead singer in the crowd to deservedly wild applause. A performance not to be…er…sniffed at.


They’d run out of Newkie Brown so I opted for a bottle that looked close to it which turned out to be Trooper, Iron Maiden’s brew. Not bad, if the band would like to send me a dozen cases I’d be more than happy to glug…sorry…plug it for ‘em. After Iron Maiden’s brew I opted for a bottle of 5,6,7,8…a cheeky Cabernet Sauvignon from the band Steps, followed by a drop of Mark Morrisons brandy, Return of the Cognac.

Twenty years to the day that Kurt Cobain died (most people think it was April 5th although it’s impossible to be 100% sure as no one saw him from April 4th to the 8th when his body was discovered) and his legacy is clear to see in the grungetastic penultimate band, Adore. Freshening up the grunge goodness for another generation to enjoy…and by the looks of the pogoing ladies at the front they were…songs like Heaven Sent (I’m guessing at the title…) add an extra complexity to the mix whilst retaining that existential angst and punk tinged attitude that originally made the whole scene so powerful.

Table Scraps

Time then for Table Scraps’ boy/girl garage rock to bring things to a suitably epic conclusion. Fuzzed up guitar, drums beaten to within an inch of disintegration and vocals from the wrong side of the tracks (that’s a good thing by the way) combine to make the Scraps pretty much the perfect band to end the night…any night in fact. Each song’s a blistering assault, often clocking in at just two or three minutes of pure unadulterated raw power that’ll leave your ears bleeding and groin ever so slightly moist (too much information?). Single What You Don’t Allow sounds like the White Stripes wired up to the mains and force fed amphetamines. Glorious.

Table Scraps

Let’s end on where we came in though and the point of the whole night. Fittingly Wags took to the stage and, after drawing the raffle prizes (I won a Table Scraps t-shirt and Female Smell cassette…result!), thanked all the bands and punters and “the charity that helped me beyond words”, the Teenage Cancer Trust. The dosh was still being totted up but hundreds of quid will be winging its way to them as we speak, hopefully with a compilation of tonight’s bands too. In fact, you know what? Loud rock music might not be a medically approved therapy – although Wilko Johnson seems to be making a pretty strong case for it – but if just 1% of the energy, passion and sheer joy for life that fizzed through the entire evening could be bottled and injected I reckon cancer wouldn’t have a hope in hell.

Table Scraps

Muthers Rehearsal Studio

2 Responses to “Table Scraps + Adore + Female Smell + The Double Happy + IONS, @ Muthers Studio, Birmingham, UK – 5 April 2014”

  1. janet wagstaff Says:

    Well done son we are so proud of you
    Mom and Dad and pugsxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. janet wagstaff Says:

    You are my pride and joy momxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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