This was not a typical gig, it was not even a gig but a real-life experience inside a surreal dimension! The evening had a giant baby, a pink ‘dog’, a (bare assed) bin-man, a terrifying ‘cleaner’, fierceness, darkness, heaviness in sound and many equally important and ‘freaky’ guests. It was none of these elements that was responsible for the atmosphere of the evening on its own, but their interactions and combined effect. But let’s take things from the beginning…

“We’re so fucking loud that anyone who comes to our shows is just subjected to such a level of loudness and occult ideas…that it forces capitalism out of this magic space…” (Taman Shud extract from an interview)

Taman Shud, opened the evening on time and offered a show that was almost shamanic in its atmosphere. The band revealed a unique combination of original elements in the arrangement as well as in the delivery of the vocals. It was neither the passion of each of the four musicians nor their complete immersion in the music that captured my attention. One of the reasons I was so captivated by Taman Shud, was the fact that the lead vocals were coming from the very back of the stage, courtesy of the skilled drummer Nick, while Greg (guitar) at the front of the stage was providing backing vocals! I don’t think I have ever witnessed such an arrangement before and its actual effect could only be fully appreciated after moving to a short distance from the stage so that the sound could completely envelop me and fill the space.

The rhythms were slow and the lead vocals, felt like a mantra. There was something quite hypnotizing in the performance and it manifested differently even within the two types of vocals. Each time Greg (guitar) took over the vocals, it was in order to let out painful and strong screams, like the ones you might imagine to emanate through a Francis Bacon painting. Each time the vocals went back to Nick(drums), they were transformed in a repeated mind-numbing, echoing sound that brought equally to mind the calling of a tribe’s chief and an animal in distress. This is not a band that plays a well-known type of punk music. I could pick up a multitude of influences through the rhythms; references to tribal, punk, noise, doom, psych rock all skilfully synthesized to create a heavy ritualistic and immersive sound. I also don’t think I have ever seen such a passionate synth/bass player as Tasha. I enjoyed Taman Shud even though I still don’t quite grasp their interest in the Mystery of the Somerton Man.

Next on the night’s bill were The Fierce and The Dead and they were indeed…fierce in every aspect!

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to find yourselves literally among ‘roaring’ tractors? I had to wonder no more, as this is exactly what the heavy guitars of The Fierce and The Dead felt and sounded like. In fact, the whole experience brought to mind the imposing sound of all those bespoke giant vehicles created by Mutoid Waste Company during PUNKX festival last year. The music of The Fierce and The Dead does not include mechanical and industrial sounds but seems to be trying to replicate the grandeur and the unforgiving heaviness of a grand motor. I loved how the few and brief melodies, scattered within the heavy riffs in higher octaves, made occasional references to melodies of Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath and the music of Metallica’s Master of Puppets ( I actually listened to this album after a long time, the day after the gig). I absolutely loved the band’s humour (it is not a given that a band will have a sense of humour after all) and the audience did too by responding in equally humorous ways. Kev (Freazy) actually looked like the personification of a fantasy game’s wizard and soon after the first couple of tracks, took the task of establishing a connection with the audience upon himself. Matt (Stevens) showed some real skill and talent while effortlessly playing the guitar horizontally and vertically, behind his head and even at eye level, while Stuart (Marshall) at the drums, seemed to literally drain himself out while playing the demanding rhythms that tested the upper loudness
limits of the drums and the sound system. Despite all that, I was actually expecting a real spell to be cast by the ‘magician’ Kev either through his guitar playing or through his aura…but this was neither a Stephen King novel nor an actual game…it was indeed a fascinating set!


“We like to think the band as a sort of Victorian freak show and the masks give us the change to act this out…”(Evil Blizzard, extract from an interview)

Talking about originality in terms of arrangements, stage appearance and performance, the time had come for the headliners Evil Blizzard. The first two of the special guests of the evening, appeared off stage, a giant (and quite scary) baby with a pacifier and a pink dog who attracted the attention of everyone around them. In the course of the evening we also saw some weird slogans regarding Brexit and the Osmonds being written in two placards… Anyone would be at least sceptical if told that there is a band that only has basses (up to 9 at times!), vocals and drums. The sheer ambition of having a full bodied heavy sound without the benefits of a guitar in sight, would make a few people smile. The rules of music genres shall be revisited and Evil Blizzard are a living proof of this!
The band, un-costumed and thus unrecognisable, set up all the instruments and made one of the sound engineers strangely worried about a not to be used (as the band does not have keyboards, never did) keyboard line. There was already some tension and hard pushing at the front of the stage, but things were meant to become much uglier a few minutes later when the 5 Evil Blizzard members (Filthy, Kav, Prowler, Side and Stomper) took the stage, all in character and with no human characteristics in their appearance whatsoever! My back and my legs succeeded in defending the rest of me for about 5’ from being crushed under the manic, almost fanatic surge of a few uncontrolled individuals! The sheer violence with which this happened had no precedent even in metal festivals and for the first time in all the years I have been attending gigs, I honestly felt threatened! I found some consolation in the equally worried gaze of a few fellow members of the audience when some of these completely insensitive people seemed not to be put off by the possibility of throwing a few of us on stage. It was the point, a few minutes in the second song ‘Sacrifice’ where I decided to take a small distance from the stage for my own safety.

As some things tend to become clearer as the distance from them increases, so was the case with Evil Blizzard and once I gained some perspective I realized that James Ensor would have been delighted to be in the audience and see the band perform. If anything, Evil Blizzard seem to be the personification of Ensor’s signature painting ‘The Intrigue’ and seeing them on stage felt as if this painting was actually coming to life…it seemed to me that the band shares Ensor’s fascination for the grotesque and the macabre and take it a step further by ‘dressing’ it with attractive music. The band, an aesthetic glitter grotesque ensemble, once on stage, seemed to widely open the gates of a surreal world. As in the freak shows of the past or these scary ghost trains in entertainment parks, once inside, you realise how attractive this world of weirdness is…especially compared to our reality. As ‘Stupid People’, ‘Feed The Flames’ and ‘Misery’ took us almost to the middle part of the show, my imagination couldn’t miss the chance of ‘responding’ to the stimuli that the band was offering on stage and I found myself more and more immersed in a hypothetical scenario where Evil Blizzard, the characters, had committed acts of weirdness and they had invited all of us to the after party. I was more and more convinced that I hadn’t yet seen the full extent of the band’s show, and I was right. The essence of this band, I thought, is not exhausted in their music, the lyrics, their stage appearance, their inventiveness, their dare, but it can be glimpsed through the solid communication they have with the audience. It was as if the audience and Evil Blizzard manage to create a sort of crystal, a solid object that encapsulates the mood of the evening while the gig was unfolding and nothing could weaken its strength. Somewhere in between the scanning gazes of Prowler, the captivating yet expressionless mask of Kav, the imposing bloody-clothed figure of Stomper (with a creepy resemblance to Jason Voorhees), the dramatic expression of Side and the luring personality of the otherwise glittery Filthy, the music was tickling all the right spots of the audience and turned each of us into a character…I don’t think I have ever experienced anything similar!

“Our ‘fans’ are mental. Deranged. We love them. So many of them have come to so many shows they’re just mates now; each gig is a party where there’s usually at least 50 people there who know each other and that definitely adds to all the chaos and tom-boozery…” (Evil Blizzard, extract from an interview)

The vocals were shared between Side (drums) and Filthy and apart from the positioning of the microphones in front of them, nothing else gave off a hint as to who might be singing each time. I also never thought that a bass could be easily ‘tamed’ and yet here I had in front of me 4 amazing bassists who have made the basses their dancing companions! They were playing horizontally, vertically, while turning, while jumping…what a show!

Following the initial appearance of the 5 musicians, the atmosphere of this gig started to change as the band’s narrative became richer and more complex with the addition of special guests such as the famous Mop Man an actual ex-cleaner in real life, whose mask had too many similarities with the evil face of Jonathan Crane in ‘Batman Begins’, a pant-less red-headed ‘monster’/bass player, who joined the rest of the band on stage from ‘Slimy Creatures’ until the end  and a disoriented bin-
headed (later bare assed) man. The notorious, signature doll of the band, had its own dedicated part in the play of the evening, when, during ‘Slimy Creatures’, Filthy hovered the doll above our heads, like a totem seeking an expression of devotion from fans. The last act of the doll for the evening, found it placed in the intimate parts of Filthy’s shiny pink costume. ‘Are You Evil ?’ saw a 6th bass player join the rest of the band dressed as a little less creepy version of Dr Phillip Decker from Nightbreed. It was the time that two devoted fans joined the stage to show some love to the band and receive a sincere and warm hug by Filthy in the end…so…see? They are cute these weirdos, haha.

‘Open Up The Red Box’ took the singing drummer to the front of the stage, prepared us for the end of this frantic show and it was the point where it was obvious that that was the zenith of the show, there was no free space anymore on stage, no available square inch for a seventh bass player. But the show’s characters would carry on, ‘magicians’ would go on to prepare new ‘spells’, occultists would delve deeper into the sonic labyrinths of darkness and the ‘freaks’…oh the freaks will drive all things to more interesting dimensions as they have always done, in music, in fashion, in culture…Until the next party then…

“Whatever you do, do not listen to any advice from Evil Blizzard…” (Evil Blizzard extract from an interview)

Blaue Rosen box


Spread the word by sharing this