General, Ten Foot Wizard, Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers: Coventry – live review

Fargo Tours Rock Weekend – General, Ten Foot Wizard, Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers.

The Arches Venue, Coventry

September 7th 2014

Coventry on a Sunday night is not where you would expect to find a smorgasbord of Rock. Fargo Tours have put on a weekend of the stuff and the last night blew Louder Than War’s Adrian Bloxham away.

It’s a small room underneath the railway arches very near the centre of the City, tonight populated by Rockers, Punks and Scallywags basking in the guitars. We get there as Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers are starting their Beefheartian adventure into the deep deep blues. They start off understated and slow, reminiscent of Led Zep at their most vulnerable but then the vocals kick in and you realise that this singer is not only singing as if he is possessed, but also seemingly speaking in tongues too. It’s almost Scat in its sound, but then they break into a massive great Boogie rock riff and along with the amazing screaming Blues nightmare voice they take the place apart. It’s like Captain Beefheart’s forgotten son has teamed up with the mighty Chicken Diamond and produced a squealing, bad-blooded baby. They layer the vocal with funky, groove ridden sleazy riffs. Sexy and In sane, they look incredibly young to my eyes for the gravel voiced sound they are producing, then they pause, glance at each other, and turn into the most primal and raw noise since we lost the Cramps. Loved it.

Following them proved to be very difficult. Ten Foot Wizard were good but not groundbreaking. I know that’s more than you would expect on a Sunday night in a tiny back room but you know… They had a bare chested, bearded singer and played bluesy, stoner rock. It’s not every band that when they are setting up ask the sound man to try the theramin, I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen one before and it made a hell of a sound. So, stop start stoner Rock, pretty good.

Lastly, and my real reason for being there, the mighty General. Anyone who has heard their first album will know that this lot are, at this moment, right at the top of their game. They start by holding their hands up then break into a slow building first song. The stage doesn’t seem big enough to hold the sound, as the music grows Graham smiles and then starts to sing. Tom’s drums and Ru’s bass ground the songs and give them the huge backbone that lets the guitars mass up and fire into your body and soul. On the one side of the stage Gaz lays down heavy as concrete riffs and across the other side, almost hidden but grinning to himself Dave turns on to the spirit of Ron Asheton and destroys the crowd with his fantastic noise.

 

They kick into Bullet Train and you see why this band is unstoppable. The sound just slots together as if they have known each other forever, it’s simply instinctive. The songs breathe, and have space but at the same time pulverise you with the noise. General are Rock bloody Solid and are, right now, on the edge of breaking out, right at the moment that they kick in again you realise that you haven’t seen a Rock band this good for too damn long.

They finish with a feedback drenched squeal and the rumble dies down. Seriously, get with General, you will not be disappointed.

~

Fargo Tours can be found on Facebook here. General’s website can be found here, they can also be found on Facebook. Ten Foot Wizard’s webpage is here, they are aslo on Facebook. Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers are also on Facebook.

All words by Adrian Bloxham, more of Adrian’s work can be found at his Author Archive here.

Picture by Martin Ward.

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