Live review: Crocodiles, Kult Country, The Velveteen Saints at Broadcast, 24/8/13

CrocodilesHere’s a fun game I like to play at gig nights while waiting for the band to go on stage: let the songs playing on the stereo be a taster of things to come.

If it’s something like LCD Soundsystem it usually promises to be a good night, while stuff like Red Hot Chili Peppers suggest it’s probably best to head for the exit and spare yourself the intense boredom ahead.

Before Crocodiles’ headline gig at everyone’s favourite dark and sweaty box of noise Broadcast, it’s primarily Brian Jonestown Massacre, which on its own is enough to get your ears tingling with excitement.

Not equally as exhilarating but trying damn hard to get there is the first of the eve’s two supporting acts local four piece The Velveteen Saints, concisely defined as primal rock ’n’ roll in pretty haircuts, doing that classic fast and frustrated and fun styled punk with a clean cut swagger.

Partly fronted by a sort of rebel Elvis and a man in tight tartan trousers, who both for some inexplicable reason sing in American accents, they are perhaps just trying a little too hard when fact is they’ve proven well that under that façade sits something fundamentally thrilling.

They do leave the stage buzzing, it’s just a shame that buzz wasn’t there during the actual set.

Then again, this seems to be one of those nights that starts off at mediocre and ends in a different dimension of brilliant, and where The Velveteen Saints are lacking modesty Kult Country are making up for it in loud tones of dreamy lo-fi, based as much in beauty as in total dread.

They’re making dirty, pretty noise with meticulous precision like the devoted apostles to music they are, and when that dense bass line kicks in and pulls you off the ground you know you’re looking at your new favourite band.

Shoegaze or sonic poetry or whatever you want to call that entrancing thing that Kult Country do, it doesn’t get much better than this right here and now.

It should be impossible to top, but Crocodiles sure do a cracking job and who’d be surprised?

Blowing minds and eardrums alike, these Californians have revitalised a legacy unheard of in decades.

Looking like the love child of Tom Waits and actor Joseph Gordon Levitt, singer Brandon Welchez is as much legend as he is Hollywood in his endless fits of posing and body thrusting.

Asking the audience to come closer he half mumbles “I want to smell your breaths” in that sort of sweet yet terrifying way that really sums up most of the following hour of sound.

When you get down to it this really is just pop music, but drenched in unforgiving noise and it keeps on intensifying until you think you’re going to burst.

Crocodiles make the line between lovely and sinister seem thin to the point of non-existent.

Here, every instrument wishes to be the loudest one until the whole thing sort of drowns itself out and starts to lose its substance.

I end up leaving the gig thinking mainly about Brian Jonestown Massacre, while furiously googling cures for tinnitus; it’s been a good one but not memorable for the right reasons.

Words: Jo Bagge


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