Black Mekon Album Launch – Frantic & Idle – Terror Watts – Birmingham – live review

black mekon launch
Black Mekon

Frantic & Idle

Terror Watts

Minerva Works Birmingham

2nd September 2017

Black Mekon’s new album One In The Hate was released last week and Fighting Boredom were inpressed to say the least, so we headed to the worlds smallest bar for the album launch and another dose of Fuzz, distortion and Monster Rock’n’Roll.

We park up by an industrial office complex in Digbeth, wander around and find the canal at the end of the road, try a few doors and eventually decide we are in the right place. The gig is in a floor full of rehearsal rooms, the walls are carpeted and the place is tiny, there’s a tiny bar and people standing where they can chatting and laughing. At one point the queue at the bar has to wait while the barman combs his quiff through. The space the bands equipment is set up in is no bigger than the average front room, it has a giant King sign that looks like it was appropriated from a well known burger chain and a Black Mekon Hates You’ back lit wall hanging. In the corner a Black Mekon arcade game runs silently over and over. There is no stage, and very little space.

Terror Watts play, the sound is mental in the small space, they play earmashingly loud, with an your face garage indie vibe. The guitars are thrashing and the raw rough and ready groove they hit on is great. The vocal is almost whiny and matches the sound. The tiny room is full, you can’t see anything because the band is right in front of you, the guitarist is trapped between the audience and the drums and is trying to move, the restraint is good, makes the music explode harder. They slow down and the feeling is verging towards grunge and the massed guitars of bands like Teenage Fanclub. They finish the set with a cover of Fight For Your Right To Party and as there is now way you can do a bad cover of that particular ode to stupidity, it’s brilliant.

We go down two flights of stairs and stand outside. A dude in a white suit, perfect hair and a superhero mask walks past, must be nearly time for Black Mekon.

The drummer is all in black, smart shirt and tie with the Black Mekon waistcoat. The two guitarists are resplendent in sharp white suits and black shirts, all topped off with white cowboy hats. They look fucking cool. Although you can’t focus on them as there are so many people crowded around them in the dark. Photos are a lost cause tonight so it’s just the words.
They slot into the corner of the room, jam on their pedals and introduce themselves, the words distorted and strange, then slam into ‘Janey Was A Klepto’. The guitars are fuzzed up to the max and as loud as a dirty hot rod revving up. They are right next to me and I can’t see anything. I can’t write any coherent notes, the band are in the audience and the audience are in the band. The layers of noise are destroying the vocal and the drums just keep going. The songs are short and razor sharp, this is punk from the swamps, rock’n’roll from the pocket of a sweat stained old oily leather jacket. You can just about make out the songs, ‘Salt Liquor’ sounds even more filthy and delinquent in the enclosed space, they break down into preacher man blues wailing and then smash it in the face with rockabilly madness.
The two guitarists never stop moving, the epitome of cool, they sing, thrash and wail through the set, when the harmonica comes out the sound moves up another notch, there’s a cowboy hatted woman dressed in honour of Gram Parsons crowd surfing and screaming into the mic, there’s people dancing and shouting and howling. This is Rock’n’Roll man, this is it.
They slow down to a deep down swamp werewolf crawl that is bloody terrifying, into a blooded, distorted sleazy sexy vibe. Natural Disaster is as slow but more of a slow grinding mover, the dirt is oozing through.
There’s a handful of bands doing this now, they sing with the power of the originals from the fifties, the lost ones that pressed one or two forty fives and then lost themselves on dead mans curve or cheap liquor and pills. The distortion and mayhem masks the sheer power of the music, this is why I came tonight, because at this moment they are unstoppable.
Then to my left a guy takes a mic and I realise that he is wearing a mask too under his baseball cap, IDLE and FRANTIC rap over the mass of guitar and distortion and it makes perfect sense even if you can’t make out anything they say. They rap until the band speed up too much to keep up with. 
Black Mekon finish with another insane rockabilly fuzzy masterstroke and the room goes mad. I walk away with ringing ears and a copy of the album on green and black vinyl, I’ll be back and you should get there too. 
Black Mekon’s website is www.blackmekon.com, they are also on Facebook and Tweet as @blackmekon
All words by Adrian Bloxham

Adrian Bloxham

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