Resurrection Men – Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers – Coventry – live review

The Resurrection Men – Charles Dexter Ward & The Imagineers

The Tin Music and Arts


5th October 2019

Two of Coventry’s finest bands, The Resurrection Men and Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers emerge from hiatus to host a co-headline show in their home town, it sold out, we were there, this is what we thought.

Brendan is standing, stock still at the edge of the stage, he is dapper in a suit and tie, his long curly hair that he has kept tucking behind his ears fallen to the sides of his face. He stares out over the audience as the Resurrection Men make a holy noise beside and behind him. He’s lost in the music, thank the gods they are back. We’ve already had one band back from the void, Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers have just finished demolishing the Tin to a crowd of dancing lunatics. But I get ahead of myself. Let’s start from the beginning.

The post on my social media feed is simple, Resurrection Men and Charles Dexter Ward at the Tin, on a Saturday night, both bands were, as far as us mere mortals knew, on hiatus, split up or just not functioning anymore. There is a distinct possibility that both bands hit the Imagineers Lovecraftian time machine and they’ve been fighting dinosaurs or watching the primordial soup for a year or so, they were or are, two of Coventry’s finest. 

We go to the brewery, then the record shop, then back to the brewery and drink. I don’t drink too much as I don’t want to be home and in bed by eight o’clock. I get bought two orange squashes as a joke, I don’t like orange squash, thanks. Also thanks for everyone’s concern over me forgetting and losing notebooks recently, I did remember it this time and had still got it at the end of the night too.

Steve on the door looks harassed, the demand here is high and he’s turning people away at half seven, the first band’s not on for another hour or so at least. We don’t know who is going to be on first, last I heard is that they hadn’t decided. I’m persuaded to move at the side of the stage so leaning on the PA I stand and wait. 

It’s Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers that play first. The cables are untangled as cider is sipped and feedback whines over the crowd, the guitar starts, the bass and drums slam in then it’s just no fuss, no frills, just screaming blues psychotic rock’n’roll. Aaron’s hair moves as he sings, and he sings like a demon brought up on gravel, whiskey, cheap drugs and greasy chips. There are people dancing from the start and it sounds perfect. The music breaks and the drums cut in, not jut keeping the beat but destroying the lull, this is voodoo music tonight. They storm into more deep dark underwater messiness and the music takes me. It’s music to dance to, to love to to drink and shout to. There are ghosts of rock’n’roll’s past raising glasses at the back of the room, Hunter S. Thompson’s bats are flying down from the ceiling it’s that gonzo madness condensed into sound.

The crowd are in a frenzy, the low down dirty boogie that’s just a touch away from chaos carries on, the vocal stuns everything around it as the music turns sleazy and sweaty, as he sings about time travel you understand that this band’s strange trip is what has led them to this psychotic swamp freak out, these songs could be about sex, they could be about dinosaurs, but who cares when they are played and sung like this. They drink from the same mooonshine as The Gun Club and X but they have moved it all forwards through time. Aaron puts down his guitar and he’s almost spasming as he sings now. the vocals deeper and more distorted the music carrying on around it. There’s more Blues punk and a song that strangely feels like Judas Priest but then there’s one last burst of feedback and they’re gone. Are they going to be back again, depends on the time machine.

We get some air outside, it’s stifling in the Tin, chat to people and laugh, then a familiar face steps outside and shouts that the second band are about to start. I move again to the side of the stage as they begin. I’ve not seen The Resurrection Men as much as I’ve seen Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers and I quickly realise that this may well have been an oversight on my part. There are five of them, the vocalist is flanked on each side by guitarists, the bassist stands behind the vocalist back to back and I’m fairly sure he doesn’t turn around all the way through the set. He faces the drummer and between them they provide the solid steel rod reinforced concrete base of The Resurrection Men’s immense Rock sound. They have huge fucking riffs, massive fucking drums and heavy as hell bass, it’s a Sabbath inspired slow Rock groove. There doesn’t seem to be room in the place for this sound. There’s an elderly dude in a suit with white hair and a hat at the front of the crowd smiling at the band. The music speeds up with a tight thrash into a disjointed monster of a song that slips down into a paranoid and dark slow jam. They go into a schizophrenic groove with jerking boogie guitars and the vocal just about keeping up with the tune; and the huge riffs go on and on. 

Powerful drums with a shade of guitar swipes and a bass line holds down the darkness as they break into another guitar led beast with razor honed vocals. The songs just keep coming, the vocalist is either grinning and waving at the crowd, acting out every note that is played or staring into the distance, the bassist and drummer keep going and the two guitarists move with the music. This is Super Massive Galactic Stoner Rock Music played by guys who must have this stuff trapped inside them, I think that’s why they are back, they have to get this out, into our heads. The noise bowls you over, the groove makes your hips move and the chops and changes makes you think. It’s just immense. The crowd are mainly shirtless, a sweaty moving mass.  The Resurrection Men finish and the quiet is as big as their sound. What a band.

So it remains to be seen what comes next, more gigs, more music or just back to silence. We’re waiting.

Resurrection Men

Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers

The Resurrection Men are on Facebook and have a Bandcamp page.

Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers are on Facebook and have a Bandcamp page.

All words by Adrian Bloxham, all pictures by Martin Ward.

Adrian Bloxham

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