The Blood Brothers: Clwb Ifor Bach, Thursday, January 25
Grime, gore and gutteral screams – Seattle’s riot punkers hit Wales head on
Ten seconds in and the bouncers have already bolted. Probably a wise decision, as nothing’s going to get in the way of The Blood Brothers’ riotous punk circus. Those not cowering under the merch table or diving over the bar are scrabbling over the front of the stage, having joyous terror injected into their eyeballs. Torture? It might be, but it’s also petrifyingly fun.
Hailing from the city which cradled Nirvana, these Seattleites are old pals of merry chaos, having inherited Kurt’s nihilistic baton after he ruined his carpet with his cranium. ‘Young Machetes’ – their fifth and most recent statement – fulfilled their threat to mutate the subversive white-noise of early outings (‘This Adultery Is Ripe’ and ‘March On Electric Children’) into the kind of colossal camp rock-opera that’d have Gerard Way sobbing to his stylist and Panic! soiling their vaudevillian nappies.
As opener ‘Set Fire To The Face Of Fire’ signals their intent, it must be through will alone that shrieking peroxide gargoyle Johnny Whitney’s neck doesn’t snap, spraying the front row in spinal fluid, such is his disregard for health and safety. ‘Camouflage, Camouflage’ breaths heat and residue like a back-firing hairdryer, while lungs aren’t the only organs taking a hammering as Whitney gleefully bashes his fairground synthesiser into digital submission, idiosyncratically damning the establishment as he goes. “If I sang instead of screamed when you crushed me with your Corvette/Would you sell your jet for a microphone and record the opera of deathbeds?” scream Whitney and co-frontman Jordan Blilie during the shock-disco of ‘You’re The Dream Unicorn!’, while ‘Laser Life’ chaotically pinpoints where the quintet are at currently. It’s a menacing carousel of jangling cable guitars, coiling drums and guttural squawks which, mashed together, feels like someone scratching the enamel from your teeth with a grimy pick-axe. Any denser and it’d be a Jade Goody treatise on race relations. This band will burn you a new brain. Right now they’re head and shoulders above the rest. Providing they can keep them all attached.