I’ll be completely honest with you, this is not a review of the group Black Spiders (don’t report us to trading standards, we’re students enough as it is). Whilst the Sheffield residents were the clear headlining act of a rather delectable line-up featuring some of the most exciting specimens from the UK underground hard rock scene, they were of most certainty not the best band to perform in the room on the night.
Although that’s not to say that they did not entertain; the Steel City ensemble’s trashy, brute-like but undeniably fun guitar assault managed to stir the audience in to a drunken excitement from the first Sabbath-esque riff. Boorish-but-bloody-enjoyable singalongs came courtesy of tracks such as ‘Sit Down’, whose chant of “fuck you and this one horse town” was angrily bellowed back by the crowd. However despite a promising introduction their trademark sludgy sound started to become, well, a bit like sludge really. Songs began to merge in to one another, their rather narrow sonic palette owing to their downfall. While the first 30 minutes were an enjoyable ride, by the encore I was sneaking closer to the door, waiting a little impatiently to get off.
A broader sonic range was presented by Leeds outfit Hawk Eyes, whose experience in alternative metal made for a far more complex and intriguing exploration of sound. Yet, in spite of this initially seeming as an alluring proposal, the execution of their set felt like something was missing. It was by no means bad, their performance was tight and competent, but the lack of interaction and basic energy made their set feel as cold as they were received. Even the on-record rollercoaster of ‘Skyspinners’ was tarnished in to a perfunctory stroll on a Thursday evening. It’s sad to see a band with so much potential be so disappointing, albeit this was the case.
Now after all of this mild dissatisfaction what was really needed was a big, loud kick up the bollocks to wake everyone up. Baby Godzilla did just that. What is most fascinating about Baby Godzilla is that their stage presence (well, that’s a loose term to use when they spend 90% of their time in the crowd) does lie on the border between thrilling and genuinely scary. Pits never form during their set, people merely gape as these feral beings jump from corner to corner of the room having the time of their lives, occasionally stepping out the way to avoid some agonising guitar-neck-to-human-neck action. What Baby Godzilla really brought was the true element of danger back to rock n’ roll again; as guitarist Matt leapt over the flight of stairs leading to the upstairs venue the resounding thought was “shit, he could have died doing that” swiftly followed by “fuck, that was really cool”.
It’s incredibly rare that a first support can steal a show but Baby Godzilla are a rare kind of band. Igniting confusion, hilarity, terror and excitement in equal proportions; they are the true spirit of rock n’ roll that Black Spiders’ derivative jams attempt to convey. Expect to see them tear up a pub near you soon.
Baby Godzilla play The Hobbit with Irish outfit Wounds on 28th November. Entry is free before 10pm.