Monday, September 28, 2009

Paint it Black, Ceremony, Hammers, The Shadowcops
Monday 21st September 2009
Star and Garter, Manchester

"Our bands sing about the darkest shit, but we love life with a passion," said Dan Yemin during the headline set, an observation that is certainly appropriate when lots of enthusiastic people turn up to see a gig bookended by bands with the words "Shadow" and "Black" in their names. Locals The Shadowcops are without their usual bassist, Mike (believed at the time to be in Turkey, filming a remake of Midnight Express). Whether this has anything to do with the relative lack of merrymaking during their set is hard to say, but the songs - mostly from their album, A Big Pot of Hot - are still rock n' roll topness even with a temp who had to learn the songs quickly. You can buy their album here:

Highbrow humour comes with Hammers when they do all their soundchecks screaming wildly, which is an indication of what's to come.  By which I mean rage really, not humour.  If they had shown up dressed like the Hammer brothers from Super Mario then we might be onto humour. Nothing in the set is particularly distinctive, but on the other hand their music certainly isn't like being hit in the face with a flying hammer, except in a good way.

As Ceremony begin their first song the singer thusts his shirt over the mic stand, which coupled with the, again, style of screaming hardcore, reminded me of a Send More Paramedics performance (with bones jutting out or something).  Considering I thought their name was "Cemetary" at first, it seemed even better. Some of the crowd is really getting into things for the first time in this set, as the weird behaviour continues, with the singer sticking his head out of the window, growling with the microphone in his mouth or placed against his throat.

Paint it Black
last played here almost exactly a year ago, and unlike then, something about Dan Yemin's size and expressions and behaviour on stage seems a lot more matched to his gutteral, overpowering vocal style. During the first song he manages to bite his tongue and blood pours down his chin, which he leaves there because it "thankfully matches [his] shirt." In between getting through awesome tracks like "Womb Envy," "Cannibal" and new material, and charming the crowd, Yemin says how hard it is to follow Ceremony every night, something audience members might well have been thinking at the time of their set. But in no disappointed way. Paint it Black are briliant music and no bullshit, the only downside being that at about 30 minutes they didn't play for very long.