Gorilla / Hammerhead

Nottingham Narrowboat.

28/5/96


Hammerhead were the headliners, but it was Gorilla I went to see, so we'll get Hammerhead out of the way first. Well, they're described as noisemongers, and they live up to that billing. Lost of painful feedback and distortion on the bass. I think there were some songs in amongst it all, but it wasn't really my stuff. I like abit of noise, but there was a bit much for me there. They seemed to be putting a lot of effort in anyway, which was good to see, at least the bassist and the drummer were anyway.

So to Gorilla who I went to see, and it would seem, the majority of the people there. Maybe not too surprising however as they hail from just down the road in Derby. Anyway, for those of you who don't know, Gorilla formed from the ashes of The Beyond, who were one of the best British bands of recent times, but just never got the breaks they deserve. If you ca get your hands on the debut album Crawl do so, cos it's A. But I guess they were a little ahead of their time a few years ago, maybe now the music scene will be able to support them.

Anyway, it was a brief 40 minute set, opening with a couple of tracks of the cracking Shutdown EP. It's fairly obvious from the start that, they maybe a couple of years older, and the hair may be shorn like most other bands these days, but there is still something different about this band that sets them apart from most others. Maybe it's that they've now hooked up with an electric violin player, or that John Whitby has one of the unique voices in rock, but they have great songs and they put so much into what they are doing. Witness Neil on drums, who hits them harder than most other drummers, while still doing a pretty violent headbanging motion (an outdated term maybe for a band like this, but it fits). Aside from the tracks of the Shutdown EP, they played at least one track of the debut EP, which I sadly found out about later, apparently it's sold out so I can't get a copy of it, but it was mainly new material as Whitby explained. And cracking stuff at that, with (I think) Acid Test being a particularly standout track.

Overall, it was one of the best sets of the year that I've seen. The band were putting a huge amount in, and it;s quite surreal seeing a 6ft plus guitarist decide to play in the crowd in front of the stage. If you get the chance, see them or get the EP. It would be absolutely fucking criminal if a band this good were allowed to go under for a second time.

Anyway, some info. I had a chat with Andy the guitarist afterwards, so here's some gist. They have 2 EP's the current Shutdown, and a first EP which sold out of it's 1000 pressing. Shame, I want it. They're currently trying to line up a record deal, which if sorted out, should mean the release of an album by the end of the year. However, if they don't manage to sort it out, they will at least record a couple of EP's to put out in the meantime.

He also described the music as less complex than they did as The Beyond. A statement I would agree with, there's plenty of aggression and speed to the music, without it disrupting the songs or making any of it all meaningless. He also seemd a bit hopeful that in the current musical climate they may stand a better chance of acceptance, and that they would try and take the independant record label approach this time. A reference I suspect to the way The Beyond got shafted by EMI. Familiar story, 2 of Britains finest, Skyscraper and The Beyond, shafted by the same record company. Hmmm. But anyway, as he put it 'we'll crack it by the time we're 50'. Lets hope so. Talent like that shouldn't be allowed to go to waste. And maybe then, Manic Sound Panic can be re-released (the first The Beyond EP) and they'll play Eve of my Release again. We can hope.

Anyway, cracking stuff. Check them out.

Stop the thingies, press. There's a web site for the band here :)