Evil Blizzard & Super Fast Girlie Show
Ducie Bridge, Manchester
Saturday 27th July 2013
The bass guitar – instrument of choice of Jean Jacques Burnel, Jah Wobble, Lemmy, Chuck Dukowski, John Entwistle, Geddy Lee, Les Claypool, Algy Ward, Matt Freeman, Youth and other icons of cool. Odd in such circumstances that focus in rock bands should so often go to guitarists, but such is the fickle nature of audiences. No such danger of wayward attention tonight, as the assembled double header packs six bassists in between the two bands with not a six-stringer in sight.
Liverpool’s Super Fast Girlie Show approach things from the punkier end of the rock and roll spectrum, with lead bass man Phil packing a couple of suitcases worth of effects pedals to produce a Hendrix-like array of sounds, while singer Pasha has a more traditional distortion pedal which effectively gives his bass-work the ‘guitar’ role. Powered on by bare-chested drummer Alan they motor through an adrenalised set crammed full of good-natured venom, with even their brief digression into jazz received appreciatively. It’s a sharp and brutal bass heaven. They have set the performance bar high, but it is about to be trampled altogether.
Evil Blizzard are one of those bands whose name tells you much of what you need to know about what awaits, but they are an experience which really needs to be witnessed live, particularly in a small overheated box of a room like tonight. Four bass-strong with a singing / chanting drummer, musically they summon up the relentless mesmerism of heavy-end Hawkwind, with riffs being gnawed upon obsessively like a starving bull terrier. What gives them the edge over other psych wig-out merchants is their assortment of oddly unsettling facemasks, as though Jon Pertwee-era Doctor Who enemies the Autons had opted for noise terrorism rather than earth conquest, or Slipknot had had their drinks spiked by Happy Mondays.
As disorientating it may all be, this is an aural assault you can dance to, and by the climax, where a pig-masked rabble-rouser has taken the stage wielding a dry-ice machine and a strobe light and the old-man-masked bassist is wandering around the crowd offering a baby doll’s head with illuminated eyes for some sort of primitive worship ritual, and a large portion of the crowd spontaneously start hurling themselves and others in a heap on the floor, it starts to feel like some sort of hole has ripped in reality and we have all fallen into some alternate world with new and disorientating rules.
With the final song completed the masked men stagger off stage and a fuse promptly blows, plunging the whole room into darkness, in which state it remains as the dazed crowd exit. Follow that, world.