Sink or Swim Promotions present Trupa Trupa – Concrete Funhouse – Brass Hip Flask – The Tin – Coventry – 13th February 2024
A chilly night at the Canal Basin in Coventry and Sink or Swim Promotions have put on Poland’s Trupa Trupa and local supports Concrete Funhouse and Brass Hipflask. Have a read of what we thought below.
I wasn’t even going out, let alone going to a gig, I’d told the photographer earlier I was staying in but on a whim decided to drive up and have a look. I pick up a somewhat addled photographer from the brewery and head up to the Canal Basin and the Tin. We arrive as Brass Hip Flask take the stage and we hustle through the pretty good crowd to find somewhere to start scribbling. It’s dirty blues rock, there’s two of them, the drummer with long straight red hair and the guitarist with the best mop of tight curly hair and beard I’ve seen for a good while.
It’s slow, hard and dirty, sweaty boogie and the drummer is hitting damn hard, it kicks into the groove and the singer whoops. They play a slow, cool blues jam and his Birt accent sounds perfect as he sings. The guitar is lazy and loud as the drums fill in the gaps, there is a feeling of space in the music but the sound is full. The music turns softer and slower and the vocal is sweeter but the song seems to be an ode to violence and booze. The music is lost and lonely, echoing around the room as a haze of blues. The bassist walks on during the song and plugs in, she adjusts her pedals and stands expectant, waiting. She adds a whole new depth to the music, it’s changed to almost free form jazz, free and alive.
They go into another slow jam, a bluesy southern boogie feel and I think that this lot are far cooler than you deserve to see on a cold wet night in Coventry. The whole thing has slotted in together forming a wonderful sound, driven by drums that are being hit as hard as I think Bonham hit them when he played, the bass holds it steady as the guitar moves everywhere around the rest. The Led Zep comparisons don’t stop with the drummer either, the nasty blues vibe they fall into is as hard as the New Yardbirds rocked but with less flowers. They’ve got an edge. It’s slate hard rock solid, no fat, no excess, just so right. They’re standing still, no need for movement, just absorbed by what they are creating.
They say they’ll do one more quick song as the applause still sounds from the decent sized crowd. They shift into fifties, fuzzed out Cramps rockabilly nonsense before the guitar slows it down but the hardness remains, it’s a chugging nasty raw blues groove that they keep on until it stops. A great set.
The crowd grows again for Concrete Funhouse, they look bright with sequins, tie die, velvet and glitter down a face. There are also seems to be a lot of them onstage. The dry ice rises and the drum starts, the other instruments rise up and the vocalist starts to tell a story as a song alongside slabs of post punk noise, angular and sharp. They launch into scrappy hardcore, lurching forward and sideways, they remind me of Wire and The Cardiacs in the anarchic way they slot things together. The vocal is dramatic and loud as they launch back into a lurching slam that wouldn’t be out of place on a Silverfish tune.
There’s a song about a work dickhead and another about being older and staying weird. Then they slip into a bouncy pop tune with daft vocals which is just brilliant. It turns loud and messy but works really well.
Then a song about why moths like light even though they are nocturnal. They shift into a post punk grind and the lyrics are nonsense. ‘We Are Moth’ which descends into a hardcore thrash with the vocal barely holding down the chaos going on underneath it. It’s almost heavy metal but better. The vocalist says that the next song is about how to still be an activist in today’s polarised world, there’s a time for shouting which is why he does this but not all the time. The song is nasty and angry, spiralling into a groove, a proper nod to anarcho-punk. They morph into some kind of weird Roxy vibe and as the vocals sound more and more desperate they finish and are gone. Another excellent set.
Trupa Trupa start with fast solid drums, the vocals are high and right from the very first note the guitarist and vocalist expresses everything he is feeling through his facial expressions, the guitar goes up and down into a slow post punk, almost lazy, groove then gets stronger, faster and harder then slow and it’s a sunny sound, almost feels like it hasn’t gelled together properly but the more you listen the more you know it has. The music turns into a liquid sound, flowing around itself, it’s post punk, alt pop style. Hard and changeable, the singer is hunched over, then grinning at the crowd, then kicking sideways as he plays. The sound shifts right to the very edge of becoming jazz then switches to a more intense spiral,
They play a spikey indie tune that descends into a thrash. Another starts slowly, burning down like a fuse before the bassist sings, with a harder, harsher vocal. The guitars and bass have got more fuzzed out and the drums are pretty much industrial sounding now.
But that changes to a funky punky wobble with little guitar noises and a sloganeering vocal. Which again changes as the bassist, who also plays the guitar at some points in the night, channels the spirit of Ian Mackaye and the music steps into a post hardcore slip and slide between noise and balance.
Then an angular spikey song with a hard centre, one thing you don’t get with this lot is comfortable, it slams around from one thing to another. Slow, then fast, then ends. The vocalist and guitarist says he is going to play the keyboard explaining shyly that he’s not very good and we shouldn’t laugh at him. We don’t. The song is slow and intense, It’s got faster again and he’s playing the keyboards like he’s the Killer, it’s a thrashy tune which the bassist sings, although at this point he might have been playing guitar, I got a bit lost. Plus my writing in my notebook is terrible.
The bass rumbles, then it’s a fast hard and wired track. Then it’s a jazzy, punky, dubby noise going up and down, odd sounding with a high childish vocal, the bassist is now playing the keyboards and the singer looks like he’s going to explode. The drummer just keeps going as the guitar, bass and keyboards sound like they are having a fistfight behind him, then it slips together again and it’s jerky, spiked up, hard fused punk, industrial post whatever, I don’t bloody know, it’s just loud, intense and ace!
There’s a funky up and down bass with shattering shards of guitar, straight drums and an angry vocal, this time it doesn’t fluctuate just carries on down it’s strange path. The drums turn skitterish as the bass is as hard as nails. The guitar is high and slabs of strange sound slam into the crowd. The groove is relentless as it slows, thrashes, descends, breaks, slams and destroys, then mashes into a ridiculous mess of sound, the singer smiles widely and they stop. A breath-taking set that I think the band enjoyed as much as the audience. A great night.
Brass Hip Flask
All words by Adrian Bloxham, all Photos by Martin Ward.