Crocodiles front man Branon Welchez is one helluva piece of ass. Irresistible to man, woman or beast of all sexual persuasions, the audience gawps with magnetised, hormonal adoration as he jives, writhes and thrusts himself about the stage.
Featuring a larger touring band than usual, the sound is full and epic – synth and drums, in particular, add an extra level of power and semblance to the already scuzz heavy, disintegrated garage rock sound.
Too charming for words and with an enduring power which blasts at you from every conceivable angle, Crocodiles are so charged and raw that they’re practically obscene.
There’s just enough time to get a quick gasp of fresh air and a toke or two of smoke before Sub Pop signed neo-grungers Male Bonding take to the stage.
New album Nothing Hurts – which we recommend big time – is showcased in a high energy, sublimely lo-fi set which manages to be thunderous, raucous and incredibly moreish as all the greatest things in life tend to be.
They storm through their performance 90’s nostalgic and dream-assembled, vocals snaking out between some insanely good riffs and some insanely powerful drums like the vocals of an overheard phone conversation.
Franklin, Nothing Used To Hurt and Crooked Sense sound especially high five worthy – we’d most definitely tap that.
Titus Andronicus pile onto the stage next – a spiffingly hairy bunch, they’re animated, punchy and so loud. It’s an experience, to say the least. Live they resemble an outcasted gospel group who never quite got round to renouncing Satan and instead spend their time preaching to the downtrodden everyman in exhilarating group chant choruses that reassure and inspire.
Hearing them chant ‘you’ll always be a loser, and that’s okay’ from No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future is blissfully cathartic – frontman Patrick Stickles has a certain Conor Oberst vibe to him – a swaggering, lascivious voice that sounds steeped thick in whiskey.
Obviously the crowd is completely hammered by this point. The fire doors have been busted open in respite of some air, grown men are snuggling together and declaring their undying platonic love for one another, and it is so hot that if you were to crack an egg in this place right now it’d probably fry in half a minute.
So when Blood Red Shoes take to the stage, the crowd go shit-bananas-loco-crazy – opening with indie disco favourite Getting Boring By The Sea, there’s weak attempts at crowd surfing, foiled attempts at stage invasion and a garbled, chaotic attempt at some kind of dancing pit, too slippy with sweat to function.
The audience sing along to near every word – and sadly vox/guitarist Laura isn’t nearly loud enough vocally to be really heard.
Songs I Wish I Was Someone Better, Don’t Ask and Say Something, Say Anything get the crowd particularly riled and are probably the bands finest moments.
The heat get’s the better of everyone though. By the end of the set, everyone – including the band – are wilting. It’s a shame cos with the amount of sheer passion in the room, BRS would have probably killed on an encore.
But then it ends, and everyone piles out into the street blessing the sweet, divine cold air. Aah.