Lazarus Blackstar / Space Witch / They Are Cowards – Manchester 28/08/08

Lazarus Blackstar / Space Witch / They Are Cowards - Manchester 28/08/08

The Star & Garter, Manchester 28/08/08

The UK’s premier ‘purveyors of metal and doom’, Future Noise, were six years old tonight (which coincided with the release of the new Blackstar EP), and what better way to celebrate Dave and Paul’s hard work and musical acumen than a cracking ‘concert’ in a lovely old venue nestling in the smoke blackened heart of the dirty old Manchester of yester year, the bit around and behind Piccadilly station. The sooty and slightly ominous atmosphere of this industrial necropolis of yore was further heightened by the presence of many ‘ladies of the night’ hanging around in the amber bathed drizzle of Sheffield Street car park. Thank the Lord I had my good lady wife with me to act as a visual signifier that I did not wish to purchase their risky services.

It cost sweet F.A. to get in, just a smile, a wink, and a warm ‘thank you very much kind sir’. Jo (my better half) and I enjoyed a brief game of pool and a tasty pint of bitter (dry cider for the lady) before we had to return to the car and the waiting sex workers in order to change her shoes (the heels were killing her). We rushed back through the smog just in time to hear the first band of the night cranking up their amps and sending veritable shockwaves into the red brick archways of Piccadilly.

They Are Cowards

They Are Cowards took the stage some time after eight. We made our way upstairs and proceeded to soak up a very well assured performance from this tall four piece, three thirds of whom once constituted North West sludge pioneers Atavist (that’s the last time I point that out). This is actually the third time I’ve seen this lot this summer and it is interesting to actually see a band ‘grow’ in sonic stature. A frightfully hateful down tuned power kicked out from the giant amps fringing the small stage, and the members of the band absorbed themselves in their terrible craft like Aztec priests dissecting some hapless living sacrifice. The set ended a wash of tortuous feedback, screaming front man Toby on his knees, probably like one of the ladies back at Sheffield Street car park. They Are Cowards desperately need to record now, they are so brutally primed and ready.

Space Witch packed in a short set of their trademark space sludge that delivered enough bottom end Moog maddened sci-fi dynamics to make the outer spheres vibrate. These lot are one of a fantastic few (Charger, Rise To Thunder, etc.) that fly the flag of the continued super heavy legacy of the mysterious Potteries of north Staffordshire. Any lover of stoner heavy riffs, pounding repetition, and classic early Hawkwind (me) will dig this quirky lot’s throbbing space shambles. The marriage of a real life Moog to a cyclical sludge blue print is inspired, and I can’t wait to hear Space Witch in the studio. I feel that only a beautifully packaged full length long player will truly do justice to their crushing cosmic project. Can I write the sleeve notes please gentlemen?

Space Witch

The more than worthy headliners blasted into new track, ‘Tomb of Internal Winter’, and the Star and Garter shook. With an architectural concern I observed cracks forming in the fine Victorian coving above the stage. When this great boozer was erected they never envisaged hundreds of watts of pure doom sludge rolling into the foundations like an invisible sonic tidal wave of hatred and anger. LB were on form and riding high on the power of their new ep release, which was on sale tonight for the bargain price of four English pounds.

New-ish vocalist Mikey (what’s in them crusty little bum bags eh?) ripped his poor bloody throat apart screaming and growling his rotten guts up, fellating the mike so it stuck up out of his throat like some grotesque industrial accident…and the band played on, counter pinning Mikey’s pained hell-howls with such high quality heavy metal that they should be gracing the cover of Kerrang! That won’t happen because they haven’t got tattooed necks and Emo fringes and certainly do not resemble a boy band with nose studs and skinny Misfits t-shirts, plus I’m sure they are pissed off uber-introverts that hate all that fancy capitalist shite. And it is precisely because they are pissed off and misanthropic that they sound so fucking nasty and heavy.

Lazarus Blackstar

It’s a shit world, but our anger at this fact drives us to produce great art. LB were impressive tonight, roaring through a few classics off both albums plus two tracks off the new ep – ‘Son Of Sorrow’ was thunderously morose. The set ended drenched in excruciating low end feedback, the band stood sweating like farm beasts, bathing themselves in the wattage, shed of their instruments, then they were gone. We bid our farewells and were gone too – time to hit the road, like a rock ‘n’ roll toad.

Tonight was a fitting tribute to a handful of individuals who ensure that music is never fucking boring. Long may they continue as trends are borne and killed…viva la doom.

Scribed by: Adam Stone
Photos by: Lee Edwards