You’re familiar with those nights when you go to a gig and there’s a confidence that there will be no let downs? Maybe it’s a combination of being absolutely jacked up for the bands or the assured knowledge that you know they will actually deliver. Tonight is one of those nights. Gurt recently let loose their “Skullossus” album and tonight is their launch party at London’s Black Heart. A party needs some good things to kick it along aside from the central focus so there’s plenty of party favours to whet the appetite before the main attraction.
A small but very appreciative gathering greet Oak. I’ve had the privilege of seeing them a number of times and note how each outing seems to make them that little bit tighter and self-assured. Classic riffs and rhythm steeped in an early Led Zep and Mountain crunch form a solid platform for the shirtless, almost lionesque figure of Andrew Valiant. The vocalist’s deep bellows and defiant glare makes you believe in every word that he’s sermonising over some chunky riffs.
Temple Of Lies take the stage next. I’m new to them but straight away you know you’re in for a good time. They look like seasoned party starters with a sort of ZZ Top cheek visually but with a ton of Southern fried NOLA filth underneath that is all too easy to lose yourself in. Personable frontman Si Shaw has that engaging manner in front of a band that feels like it’s itching to let loose, which they do to many delighted faces.
Steeped in long worshipped riffs and with a world of groove, Limb are the last band before tonight’s headliners. Sometimes Sabbathy, sometimes more dirty like Viking Skull, this bass driven leviathan combines raw riffage with space rock edges. Moments of AC/DC blues rock inspired sleaze meld into thick, rubbery riffs that simply feel meaty. Theirs is a set that is pure rolling thunder full of infectious boogie and the reception from the growing audience back this up.
The belle of the ball arrives – Gurt. I had the privilege of reviewing “Skullossus” for this site recently and rated it very highly. Gurt shows usually crank and my own expectation was high. Suddenly the party vibe kicks along a notch. The recorded intro of “Welcome To The Shit Show” from the new album greet the band and from here it is just a feast. New track “Battlepants” is given a beefy workout, while the clattering “John GarSeeYa Later” has the full treatment replete with saxophone. There’s a raffle for special copies of “Skullosus” and a unique rendering of “Happy Birthday To You” for a lucky punter before the full dirt and grime of “8/10 Cunts” which seems to have an added layer of heaviness added to it. Throughout, Gareth Kelly has that wild eyed charisma that’s equally intriguing and enchanting. There really is no wonder a loyal fan base has built over recent years.
Gurt describe themselves as party doom and it’s easy to see why. They certainly brought the party with them tonight and there was no navel gazing allowed. Looking around the Black Heart at familiar faces and friends, a Tuesday night suddenly became a lot better. The rest of the week might be a bit of a stretch but this was well worth it.
(Review and photo Johnny Zed)