Evil Blizzard : photo John Robb
Evil Blizzard : photo John Robb
Evil Blizzard : photo John Robb

November 5, Evil Blizzard & The Stalagmites
Manchester Roadhouse
Feb 2013

Tonight was the first of a series of occasional Louder Than War nights showcasing new bands and it’s a great start.

The Stalagmites are a Mancunian three piece who have that air of early eighties Liverpool about them, with that left field take on guitar melancholy that was such a fix for Teardrop Explodes and Echo And The Bunnymen and a whole host of strange named bands that came out of the city in the post punk boom.  They also have that driving guitar rush of the Chameleons about them and combine the whole lot into their own version of the dark pop which is highly enticing.

Evil Blizzard are like nothing else on the planet. Taking the stage in orange boiler suits and rubber masks they look totally unsettling, like some sort of intergalactic crime gang on a smash and grab raid on your consciousness. They then start playing and this wonderful collision of punk and prog builds and builds- like Hawkwind on acid it’s a one riff, hypnotic  machine, built remarkably around four bass guitars which they manage to keep seperate, which should be impossible but somehow they pull off.

For the next 40 minutes their music ebbs and flows around this pulverising and hypnotic concept and it’s stunning. The fact that they also have this pretty mental visual thing going on only adds to the whole weirdness. the masked men indulge in pretend fights, pull masks off to reveal other masks and stare impassivley into the audience likje psychotic droogs. They have supported the Fall but seems to to smash and grab their own own attention within months- get them on the festival circuit and they will run amok.

November 5 are guitar classic with a tough edge. This is the kind of band that has every classic ever made in its record collection and mashes them up into their own take on the guitar greats. They have a driven, manic edge and the songs have a toughness that makes them stand away from the jangle pop of so much indie. there are so many references that its hard to pin them down, there are moments when they eek out the psychedelic trip of the Bunnymen or the feral looseness of the Stooges and even the highly intelligent smart punk of the Skids.

They is so much classic guitar on display here that it’s a shock that they are not 6music staples yet. When they attempt to come back for their encore the club DJ switches off the PA in that bad mannered way of modern club culture not allowing a band two minutes because they want their club night to start despite no-one having arrived yet- the band play on regardless and their anger at the ill manners sparks something quite powerful in them and their inner punk emerges and makes them quite thrilling.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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