Saturday, 13 December 2014

Rolling stoned - Live Review of Allusondrugs in Camden

Allusondrugs *****
Lyger *****
Beasts **1/2***

Our Black Heart, Camden Wednesday 3rd December 2014

December is upon us and the party season is in full swing. And what does every party have? Drugs. And tonight's party in the hands of the splendidly monikered hosts promises to be a mind altering and full on fucked-up festive freak out. Well, hopefully.

Beasts **1/2***
First out of the dealer's record bag is a mildly intoxicating grungy bong. An entry level narcotic which although there's nothing too wrong with it doesn't hit the euphoria levels needed.

Nothing new at all here. Standard grunge. Standard downtuned fug. Think early Soundgarden or maybe even Mudhoney. Well played and performed though, but lacking in highs in every sense of the word. The vocalist, while perfectly competent  has a vocal range like an idling diesel bus and is crying out for some spiky or dynamic counterpoint, but, sadly the higher range harmonies that would refresh and light up the stoner haze are absent.

A terrific bass player does his best to get heads spinning, but ultimately they merely leave a smile or two on a nodding head rather than anything mind expanding or thrilling.

Lyger *****
So, what next to tickle the cranium and stimulate the dopamine and serotonin? 

Well, our supplier has dug a bit deeper into his Alice In Wonderland back of headfucks and seems to have pulled out something all together more stimulating.

Another grungy trio, but this time infused with more relevance and contemporaneity. Altogether spikier than the bong water of Beasts, Lyger get the pulse racing with choppy, slightly off-kilter, pointy crackle cooked up and inhaled greedily.

While their tub thumper is no Adam Betts (not many get close to be honest), it feels like this burning pipe is fuelled by the drums. Not all polyrhythms and math brain melts but passionate, energetic and totally losing his shit. He definitely appears to be calling the shots as we're taken on a multi-influenced journey with wisps of The White Stripes, vapours of QOTSA and massive tokes of Dinosuar Pileup.

Heady, exciting stuff. Not a new or wholly original wonder drug, but definitely one to try again. 

Allusondrugs *****

After a new high? Look no further. Right from the off, spilling out of this tantalising wrap are equal measures of powdered semtex, stomach acid, gripper rod tacks (and we all know how sharp those bastards are!) weapons grade depleted uranium, bleach, Afghani Black, strong cider, Yorkshire tea and probably Kurt Cobain's jizz. Wow!

On record, Allusondrugs are a mixed bag. Veering from spastic pop rock, old skool grunge to incendiary alt noise rock. But nothing prepares you for the live experience.

Everything is extra heightened. Fuzzed up. Overdriven. Dynamic. Turned up to 11, nah, fuck it, 12. It's still challenging and at times a tiny bit shambolic. But in a good way. Oh yes.

Frontman Jason Moules has it all going on throughout. 

He always comes across as the coolest, most spaced out, ├╝ber-cool, THC ridden rag bag of barbiturates. His banter is dryer than a nun's lady garden and more laid back than a Freak Brothers convention with 7,000 bongs being held in a Lazy Boy chair showroom. But when the music starts, he transforms into grunge's Optimus Prime. Totally losing his shit along with the rest of his fellow hairy bastards: there's more flailing hair on stage than in Teenage Bitch Fight 3 (so much better than 2).

The wall of sound is unrelenting. But not sludgy, oppressive, blurred or homogenised. It's all so clever. Brilliant harmonies and counterpoint punch holes in shoe-gazy sections, there are moments of freak out psychedelia, huge heavy passages, breakdowns, spiralling cadenzas and more riffs than on The CrowBar's jager-soused jukebox. And Moules' voice is spot on throughout.

Yes, there are inevitable derivative moments and nods to Cobain et al, (Am I Weird is possibly the best Nirvana never written), but they're at their best when they're further away from the standard grungy vibe. 

Not quite as nihilistic as the truly fucked up and as truly terrifying Baby Godzilla, but they're clearly derived and distilled from the same pharmaceutically head-fucking plant. And by the time the blistering, bewildering and ball clenching blitzkrieg of a set comes to an end with most of the band either in the crowd, lying prostrate or, (in the case of Moules) fucking about with live guitar leads and a mountain of fx pedals it's impossible not to be totally hooked. More please.

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