Yet more collateral damage from Temples Festival, however, this show has the advantage of three bands that weren’t going to play Bristol at all, so those that choose to attend this gig are perhaps getting a better deal; hats off to Nightshift Promotions for pulling this out of the bag! It’s also the last of nine UK dates that Primitive Man have played alongside Sea Bastard.
Brighton prog doom five piece, King Goat, kick off an early start with ponderous riffs and soaring vocals entrenched in an epic feeling atmosphere. Given the nature of the band they’re supporting, they seem like an odd addition to the line-up, however, they completely hold their own and manage to enrapture the small crowd that’s gathered to watch them.
Local favourites, Slabdragger, kick things up a notch with a much needed injection of adrenaline. This trio are one of the few bands that genuinely look as though they’re having as much fun as the audience and this is palpable during a particularly weighty rendition of ‘Dawncrusher Rising’ – the riffs are plentiful and the vibes are feel good – a high octane prelude to the crushing misery that will later ensue.
Sea Bastard’s trademark crusty, dismal and murky resonance rounds out the trio of supports for the evening and, although not without its technical difficulties, is an undeniably professional sounding performance. Another Brighton based act, the four piece have gone from strength to strength over the years and tonight is proof of their evolution as a band and how far they have progressed; one of the best performances they have delivered to date.
Misanthropic sounds, grotesque vocals, cold and bleak guitar, ritualistic drumming – that can mean only one thing: Primitive Man. Drawing parallels with likes of classic Winter, the Denver three piece are the musical equivalent of an emotional vacuum; void of hope and joy. Those lucky enough to catch them at both their gig at the Fleece and tonight will notice a slight difference in performance. While Bristol’s gig erred more on the side of droning through riffs heavy enough to have their own gravitational pull, tonight pulls from material that has a touch more groove to it (well, as much as a typical Primitive Man song will allow, anyway). Whether or not this stylistic change was to fit in with the rest of tonight’s line-up is something that can only be answered by the band themselves, however, it didn’t go unnoticed and was a welcome change of pace. After just 40 minutes, they wrap things up – short and sinister and paying polite attention to the venue’s 10pm curfew. Because, of course, a shitty club night is more important than a band who’ve travelled all the way from Colorado to play the UK…
(Review by Angela Davey)