So with bleary head and about five hours sleep under my belt I threw myself into Saturday with the weary conviction of a marathon runner with finish line in site.
“Funny story about this song, Steve” says the acoustic guitar strumming middle aged man with a dad hair cut and repertoire of samey melancholy acoustic music.
“Oh yeah?” replies the sound engineer and obvious friend to this folksy Bob Dylan wannabe. I’m at The Old Crown, feeling tired and wired.
“Yeah, it was written the day of 9/11, when we were recording that album” he says as he starts the next ballad. Nobody laughed, which had a little to do with the fact that there nothing funny about that particular story what so ever, it’s not even a story to be honest. I waited around for the chorus in case the song was called “Die Screaming in Flames Capitalist Devils” but left disappointed.

The first two Acts at the Kerrang! hosted Barfly gig were cookie cutter rock and roll Fratellis clones, the first band Oneyesblue only notable because the vocalists mad lunatic eyes and because they ripped through their set like they had a train to catch barely pausing for breath.

In a way it’s lucky they were disappointing because if I hadn’t escaped upstairs to the Sanctuary I would have missed Mistys Big Adventure, the unusual move to put out the headliners at eight thirty probably counted towards the less than spectacular turnout. Having never seen the band live before I was surprised to be confronted by a dancing red blob covered with blue gloves, this, I thought to myself, would explain why a warm can of larger had cost so much, because surely a high dose of hallucinogenic chemicals is the only way to justify a price so high. When I did realise that the guy was some sort of surreal Bez character and not a drug phantom I felt suitably ripped off again. But even the pocket rape at the bar couldn’t spoil my enjoyment, Grandmaster Gareth’s deep voice strangely reminiscent of Jim Morrison and intelligent funny lyrics complimenting the full dreamy sound while the red and blue hand jester attacked the crowd.

“We’ll get together and make babies. Space babies” screams a tiny man almost as soon as I walked through the door of The Rainbow, Cutting Pink With Knives are a screamcore electro screech rock band, that seem to start the next song just to stop the lead singers annoying babbling.

The funny thing about big hard doses of metal is, you never really know you need one until you get one. Plight are a terrifying onslaught of metal up your ass, with a beardy weirdly singer hitting all the right metal poses and an “Asschapel” t-shirt. Foot-on-monitor best -crotch-forward sort of stuff and a perfect set up for the next band, BeeStung Lips. You know a band are not going to take themselves seriously when the drummer appears on stage wearing a Jimmy Savile wig claiming,
“The singers head had exploded” although I had heard a buzz about the band, I had never heard the actual band, so I never knew they had a singer and thought they were just being flippant about their three piece status. The music was a pure assault of drum driven noise with chugging guitar. An amazing set that, too drag out a music cliché, blew me away. I’m not even a fan of bands without vocalists, but these guys were amazing. In the future this is the band your kids will play at volume 11 because they hate you.

Ears ringing and with more than a little booze under my belt, I stumbled up the road to see LTJ Bukem, but the steep ten pound surcharge to what had already been a pricey night was beyond my budget, rather helpfully we were directed up the road about a hundred yards to Heducation. I wasn’t going to bother, but my journalistic integrity to see the story through drove me on. And I’m glad I did. The Anomalies are my new favorite band; or rather my favorite new band, would be more accurate, their breed of fresh Rap/Indie/sheer enthusiasm blew me away. Gigbeth, to me, is about discovering new music, and although very entertained so far, there were only a couple of bands I would have made the effort to see again. Until this band, like the best period of the Beastie Boys they fuse Rap with a myriad of other genres and sense of fun with live drumming, samples and a the smilest lady singer you could wish to see. And even an impressive freestyle where they rapped about subjects thrown out from the audience (including clothes, belly’s, and they wasn’t even phased by my friends shouted suggestion of stem cell research).

Afterwards came the headliners DJ JFB vs. Beardyman, although I don’t know what the VS. was about they seemed to be getting on just fine as they whipped up an erratic mixture of mind blowing Beardyman’s beatboxing, which my only other cultural reference is that black guy off the police academy movies (but with music), and DJ JFB’s casually brilliant turntablism. At this point I have to admit I lost all journalistic integrity and danced like, what can only be described as, “a loon”.

Three days of live, new music, drink and general cavorting, the standard was high but while there were no really poor acts, there were quite a few bland ones. I have no doubts that those bands will do well because record companies hate to take chances so sign these seen it before bands and then drop them as soon as the cultural wind changes. So, therefore its good to know, through an event like Gigbeth, that not only are there new and interesting sounds out there; but that their finding audiences too.

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