Hare and Hounds Birmingham April 6th 2018
The Crauford Arms Milton Keynes April 11th 2018
Thee Hypnotics were among the fuzziest, nastiest and loudest bunch of Stooges loving hooligans you could ever meet, a mixture of heavy as hell riffs and cooler than fuck attitude. They split in 1999 leaving a ragged hole in Rock’n’roll that has been finally filled with their return. Fighting Boredom’s Martin Ward who was there first time around was at two of the shows, read what he thought below and check out his pictures.
I know what you’re thinking, another bunch of old fellas who haven’t played together for years and didn’t part on the best of terms looking to cash in on the middle aged. It’s a fair comment, there are loads of late 80”s early 90’s rock and indie bands doing the circuit, I’ve seen some over the last few years and mileage varies – a lot. Without chief scribbler I venture out on a journey into my youth so the writing will be somewhat different as I usually just take the snaps.
Last time I saw Thee Hypnotics was a long time ago, 25 or more years and I expected a lot, back then they were awesome – full of youthful energy with a charismatic frontman, an insanely talented guitarist with a driving bass line and so so drummer. It’s the same! They still have the same merch guy who adores the band and apart from a few extra wrinkles and grey hairs ( like a lot of the audience ) is as laid back and retro as ever.
Birmingham on the Friday night is full, not totally sold out @ The Hare & Hounds but close – it’s hot and sweaty, I love this venue. The atmosphere builds as the support band Black Bombers try to stir the crowd, I lose interest quickly, it’s a blend of punky rock n roll I’ve seen hundreds of times and it doesn’t do it for me.
The time has come and the band swagger on and after s few quick words they launch into a set of full on rock n roll Hypnotics favourites – a set for the fans; no “new stuff” just the facts man and plenty of it – it’s fantastic. Jim Jones is imperious, he’s lost none of that charisma; he jumps around like a man possessed growling and howling out lyrics, he’s throwing shapes, shimmering around the stage, pouting a lot and leaning into the crowd like it’s 1991. Ray Hanson is mighty; that man can seriously play – he’s everywhere on stage – rolling on the floor, swinging his guitar around, playing round his back and weaving distortion; feedback; huge riffs and psychedelic madness with ease. Jeremy Cottingham remains static with driving bass and keeping it tight which is a good thing as Phil Smith isn’t great – even a bit cringy at times – he even thinks it’s his job to interact with the crowd, get back in your bed as Mr Jones noted at Milton Keynes.
The Milton Keynes gig is in Wolverton at The Craufurd Arm. It’s a grim wet foggy drive both ways – proper horrible but I get there early; get a bite to eat and a last minute text of ‘yr in’ saves my wallet.
I’ve not been there before so was interested to see this place, it’s a large comfortable traditional L shaped bar with pool table, craft beers and some vegan burgers, the back venue room is tidy and says 300 capacity, maybe, if you like it sardine style. I’ve got my camera tonight so the photos are from here.
The support is not good; fancy dress cowboy trying to do a Chicken Diamond – epic fail. I’m not impressed; I made my escape to the front bar with Japanese beer and a good friend.
Bring on the rock n roll.
The room fills up, again not sold out but plenty there and the room heats up to sweaty proportions quickly. It’s the same set as Birmingham with classics including Shakedown, Come Down Heavy and a full length Revolution Stone monster blast which reminds you just how good this band are; all the excitement and atmosphere of 20+ years ago.
I expected a lot and I got it – a full on fuzzed out blast from the past, a no messing rock orgasmatron with some great stagecraft. Audience satisfied, band looking happy and a new shirt that’s not 90’s size ! Tremendous stuff.
Last words from Jim Jones.
Fuck the fascists and hail Satan.
Thee Hypnotics are on Facebook.
All words and pictures by Martin Ward.