The Royal Park Cellars in the depths of Headingley is quite plainly what it says, a cellar in the basement of a pub, in the middle of a flourishing student community. For a special Easter Sunday indulgence the cellar played host to four bands, whose hardcore theme made the atmosphere in the venue, quite literally, palpable.
Leeds band DSDNT play a pulverising, bass heavy form of hardcore which is given further depth with complex and elaborate guitar and drum lines. The vocals are as brutal as one would expect and the atmosphere deep in the bowels of the Royal Park appropriately confrontational and exhilarating. The size of the venue and the stage set up allowed for more than one vocalist this evening to get up close and leery with the audience, although this reviewer, nearing his fiftieth year, found it healthier to linger out of reach of the mosh pit…
Coming from a similar standpoint in terms of menace and confrontation are Glasgow based Hush. Again, the songs themselves are bass heavy and the guitar weaves in between with a pointed sound, leaving the vocalist to come barging amidst the audience and amuse them by hanging upside down from the ceiling.
With just enough time to disappear back up the stairs for refreshment between bands, the Berlin band Earthship were quick to take up the challenge set up by the previous two bands. Earthship, however, specialise in a more riff focused style of progressive music which lacks the violence of the previous acts but is no less devastating and invigorating. For the aficionado of the unyielding guitar motif that mesmerises and motivates the listener, Earthship are worthy of further investigation and support.
Music originating from the Swiss mountain town of La Chaux-de-Fonds should not, under normal circumstances, sound as fierce and left field as the music that was made by Coilguns. Created from members of progressive metal band The Ocean, Coilguns are Jona Nido on guitar, Luc Hess on drums and Louis Jucker on vocals. “Stadia Rods”, their latest release shows how music so primitive yet intellectual can originate from any environment.
The music tonight however was unhinged and psychedelic in equal measure, and did not show any of the self-control of their recorded work. The guitar effects pedal board that was being assaulted by Nido had to be seen to be believed, and gave the guitarist the opportunity to give full reign to any number of soaring waves of distorted cacophony. The drums held some of the pieces together with a certain level of complexity, and the vocals were delivered with the passion and schizophrenia one would hope would be associated with a band of this intensity of emotion.
Leaving the stage to a climax of sheer discord, Coilguns are a band that needs to be experienced live and up close to be truly appreciated. The thirty or so members of the audience that were present in the Cellar that night were entertained by a selection of bands with a variety of styles and approach. In a space that is barely larger than some peoples living room, this was an experience that was both physical and intimate and was impossible to feel removed from, and at five pounds a ticket, events such as this should be celebrated and encouraged.