If Edinburgh has done one thing right (apart from making ugly, overpriced pipers in plastic tubes seem like a valid choice of souvenir to tourists) it’s creating doom bands. Maybe it’s the omnipresent aura of misery that hangs over the place, but they seem to have a great grasp on what makes a slow, heavy band slower and heavier, and Dune hit both of those targets with unerring accuracy. Unfortunately, their stoner-doom bastardry doesn’t extend far past that. There’s a good deal of weight behind them, the riffs dense and shrouded in a concrete trenchcoat of distortion but, beyond the incessant nods they induce, there’s little to set them apart from a hundred other sludgers currently making the rounds. An occasionally sloppy lead guitarist doesn’t help matters but it’s likely that it’s only their green status, the band having only been around for a few months, that’s hampering them as there’s great potential here. Some of the basslines are heavy blues gold, syrupy mammoths that overshadow both guitars, and their vocalist has a mean, chain-smoking bark on him. Once they get the songs down, they’ll be something impressive but for the moment, potential is their greatest asset.
For a taste of what experience gets you, neighbourhood miscreants Bacchus Baracus deliver on every possible count. Are they loud? Yes. Do they have huge, hulking riffs distilled in vats with 180-proof moonshine? Yes. Are they heavy? Mein Gott, fuck yes! There’s more than a little of Clutch to their blues-stoner hot mess, both in their good-natured irreverence and in the manly growl of barrel-chested throatpiece/drummer QBall, and they’re hailed as minor heroes tonight, the front few rows yelling along with the infectious groove of ‘Mr Chu’ and pounding fists with their lengthy, set closer. While QBall states that they’re rushing through their set tonight because “ah want tae see EyeHateGod”, this is a fluid, soulful and undeniably fun performance from a band who seem to support everyone who stops through Glasgow and consistently rival them.
Then again, EyeHateGod are no normal headline act. Is there anyone around who better exemplifies NOLA sludge than Mike Williams and co? Noisy, abrasive and with a presence that borders on feral, they do their best tonight to pummel an apocalyptically drunk crowd into a Guinness-soaked pulp, switching up between monstrous stompers like ‘Sisterfucker (Part I)’, the sound of Pentagram being run through a meth-caked thresher, and the punkier lo-fi grit of ‘$30 Bag’, keeping hair and heads moving with each jerky time shift. These songs hit the crowd square in the chest, utterly unhesitant and bone-rattling, and the Sabbathian violence spurs them into drunken, hedonistic frenzies.
There’s always a faint air of menace when EHG stop through, a feeling that anything can, and will, happen, and tonight doesn’t disappoint. One patron aggressively declares his love for Jimmy Bower, another throws up next to the monitors (in a spot that, in a shining example of Murphy’s Law, is where every crowd-surfer of the night finds themselves landing in) and yet another hoists himself onto the lighting rig and tries to kick a hole in the ceiling. It’s the perfect attitude to have, an air of filth and violence that sits well with the sickening screams of Mike Williams and Jimmy Bowers’ guttural style. The big man himself is to the average guitarist what a JCB is to a tricycle, his loose riffing offset by contrastingly tight solo work that’s sometimes chaotic but radiates a constant miasma of technical aggression from the fretboard. The only thing is, he looks like he’s having a blast. They all do. They have a flair for taking the miserable and making it into a reason to drink, smoke and party and it’s an attitude that’s as contagious as it is admirable. 25 years gives you plenty of shit but what it hasn’t given this lot is a reason to quit – thank fuck for that.
Scribed by: Dave Bowes
Photos by: Peter Davidson