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It had been a roasting hot May Sunday the day after the legendary The Great Escape Festival in Brighton when Drahla came to Southampton which by all means is not the ideal conditions for a gig but each of the 4 bands brought different ways to win over the crowd eager to experience a broadly speaking post-punk line up. Starting the night were new comers Web who still feel like they’re sketching out their sound but with a powerful unhinged number to close their set their future work looks promising.

Happy 2000 using the whole venue as their stage.

‘[Happy 2000 are] without evocation a pleasurable beating to the eardrums of the crowd fixating their attention on Happy 2000’s feral lead singer.’

Happy 2000 were the shock performance of the evening having grown from a being a racket with ambition when Underscore Part 3 last saw them supporting Fontaines DC January to now being without evocation a pleasurable beating to the eardrums of the crowd fixating their attention on Happy 2000s feral lead singer. Happy 2000 set up their instruments and even pedals on stage prior to their performance as you would expect but too us by surprise when in unison the band took the unorthodox approach of all picking up with their equipment and laid it out on the ground in the crowd offstage; Happy 2000 weren’t afraid to fill the void left by a sparse crowd. ‘Feral’ is fine, in fact it’s welcomed and encouraged in post-punk and punk communities but musicianship is clearly important when creating music which is something Happy 2000 gave a perfect demonstration of assaulting the audience in a perfectly rhythmical fashion; Happy 2000’s sound is closer to punk than post-punk and may be unpalatable to some listeners but music was never to be liked by everyone and if Happy 2000 learned anything from early punk it’s that compromise is not an option.

Sleep Eaters

‘Sleep Eaters are the Fat White Family for fans who don’t care for middle class drug problems and just want well played slacker post-punk.’

Having just appeared on the Portsmouth Psych Fest line up 8 days prior Sleep Eaters are becoming a regular on the right line ups but after last week’s performance it’s obvious why. Their performance as Drahla’s support was even stronger despite guitarist Will having given himself a stage injury the night previous. Speaking to Will after the gig he told us how at PPC they were short of some members and agreed with our opinion that this performance was stronger; regardless both performances showed their exemplary talent fooling us the week previous when they were only half the line up. Sleep Eaters have all the markings of the South London scene they call home whilst adding an American twang throughout their sound particularly with a less commonly seen lapsteel guitar. Sleep Eaters are the Fat White Family for fans who don’t care for middle class drug problems and just want well played slacker post-punk.

Luciel of Drahla

‘In many ways Drahla’s set was perfect to the recent record but it felt fuller, more powerful; the trio’s (plus touring sax player) impact was undeniable.’

Although all the bands had given valiant sets as soon as the incomprehensible noise came from Luciel’s tape player to signify the start of Drahla’s set they showed the room why they were the headline band. In many ways Drahla’s set was perfect to the recent record but it felt fuller, more powerful; the trio’s (plus touring sax player) impact was undeniable. Drahla’s current record is characterised by guest Chris Duffin’s sax work but if anything was learnt from this performance was that the sax is an added luxury and not the only skill the band have. Remember, Drahla were touring with fans before they met Chris; whatever their next direction regardless of whether there’s 3 or 4 musicians we’re certain it will be of equally high standard to the highly regarded debut album. The intimacy of the event appeared to be enjoyed by the band and crowd equally, when a drunk crowd member confirmed with someone a sound name Luciel told him that he was correct and jokingly offered him to guess the next track; Drahla showed their accessible personalities in this scenario as well as countless others including Michael singing whilst playing drums like a jubilant schoolkid. At Heartbreakers we learned how it takes seconds to know if a band are worthy headliners (after strong supports), Drahla actually don’t rely on their guest sax and not all art-punk has to be played by pretentious hipsters; well played Drahla, well played.

Words: James Wadsworth

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