Broken DC, The Broken Oak Duet, Theo: The Firefly, Worcester – live review

Broken Dc | The Broken Oak Duet | Theo

The Firefly, Worcester

27th June

Surprise Attacks! The UK’s most exciting new band night in the heart of the Midlands. A monthly DIY gig night is causing a stir in a quiet part of the Midlands. We review of their most recent show.

In the heart of the country a new monthly gig night based on the DIY principles of the hardcore scene is bringing an array of awesome bands to sleepy Worcester. With an entry principle of a pound a band, cheaper than the price of a pint, upstairs in Worcestershire CAMRA’s award winning pub and microbrewery, The Firefly, the kids are having their say. A small set up & no stage but an intimate and friendly atmosphere pervaded the gig that I attended last week.

First up was one-man math rock wizard Theo, AKA Sam Knight.  With a drum kit set up in the round and numerous amps and pedals surrounding, what was this going to be? An extraordinary maelstrom of soundscapes, loops, beats and power is the answer. Think Explosions In The Sky played by a big skinny bloke on his own. Has to be seen to be believed. It was very powerful and the 30 minute set with no break was spellbinding. Follow that!


Well, Broken Oak Duet duly did.  This twosome of Howard and Tom, drums and baritone guitar respectively blasted out a mighty noise. Tight as a gnat’s chuff, they jerked and pounded some amazing rhythms somewhere between Death From Above 1979 and a less harsh Lightening Bolt. A 25 minute blast through some awesome instrumentals was enough to leave the audience wanting more.


The third bassless act of the night was the stunning Broken DC from London.  With a respectable pedigree of previous bands from early 90s emo boys Fabric, through Rise Above instrumental monsters Capricorns and recent hardcore act Pettybone, the crowd were looking forward to the first out of town band of the night. From the off, their powerful and meandering twin guitar play was mesmerising.  McGeoch era banshees riffing with something more contemporary and dare I say from the DC Dischord roster. Mixing instrumentals with Kevin Williams’ vocal led songs, they were powerful, melodic, loud and tight in equal measure.

And so, with ears pleasantly ringing and earworms from each band spinning around my head, it was over. A great night. With a range of bands from Experimental post-rock through to Japanese hardcore planned for this year, Surprise Attacks in Worcester is a night to get in the diaries.

Keep up to date with Surprise Attacks nights via their Facebook page. Broken DC are on Facebook too, as are The Broken Oak Duet and Theo.

All words by Peter Campbell. More of Peter’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive

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