Leah Hamer || August 22nd
After conjuring up quite a reputation for themselves in the past few months of their lives on the scene, Filth returned to The Underground- the venue that granted them their first ever gig, only this time- it was all about them. First on the bill was punk trio- Feedback, but the first band I caught were grunged up kids, Keys.
After forming earlier in the year, and adding the talents of Rewenge’s former guitarist Ellis Gibbons to the mix last month, things have been looking promising for the alternative four-piece. Keys brought to the stage comical song names like Jim’ll Riff It, an infectious energy, a strong drum beat, and a sense of how to perform robust riffs that are the shining points of each song, especially Ocean. With fuzzy tones and dark rhythms, it soon became apparent who this alt-foursome’s main influence was, but if it wasn’t clear enough- they performed a cover. Tackling Wolf Alice’s Giant Peach could only be forgiven if it was executed perfectly. Sadly, it was not- it was messy and lacked clarity. If covers are a path they want to explore again- they need to think outside of the box and pick something outrageous and turn it into their own. Yet they picked themselves up with a string of originals that continued to show shimmers of potential like Come Down. Keys are young and have plenty of time to perfect their art and mature on stage, but they need to get back in the garage and practice until their fingers bleed.
An all-female band around here has been long overdue, then out of the blue- Spoilsport came crashing onto the scene, bagging gigs left, right and centre. A haze of fishnets and glitter entered the stage, with stone expressions and calm dispositions. Then the colossal voice of Agatha Riley silenced the crowd. Powerful, established and deep with stimulating vocal lines- she was the initial pull of the entire band. Then the rest got into the groove- with simplistic chords and riffs that complimented each other without being too aggressive or ballsy. They showed a clear understanding of how to create fresh, interesting and demanding tracks. They too chose to do a cover- but not one that you would expect, Wrecking Ball. It was nearly unrecognisable after they had absorbed it- turning it into a moody, 90s grunge piece that they could have passed off as an original number. I’m Such A Bitch was full of honest brutality that gave them likeability, and their final track Magpies, was well performed, despite being written the day before. Now its practice practice time so they can smooth out the mistakes and get themselves ready for a serious session in the studio. A release from these girls is a necessity and I can’t wait.
Finally the main attraction, Filth, took to the spotlight- with a downsized line up, after losing their former singer and bassist Jack taking on the new role up front. The crowd went wild as they performed tracks from their debut EP-Filth, SDA, and Fade Out- all teenage anthems about adolescent anarchy. Jack is a hidden gem, with a cool tone and suitable pitch for their style- and his talent will only grow with confidence. He performed with a baritone six-string guitar, an interesting choice that perhaps needs consideration, as with that he lacks the depth of a regular bass that would give them heavier vibe. As well as this, he switched back and forth to the synth- where his skills truly hide. The synth is definitely something they really need to incorporate more. When it was used it gave them an incredible edge and identity but Jack unfortunately only has one pair of hands and lacks the useful ability to play both simultaneously! Another member might need to be added in order for them to really accentuate this element of their sound.
Lewis was brimming with talent on lead guitar- with an ear for captivating riffs and plethora of effects at his disposal. Teamed with his Gretsch, he tinkers with distortion, wah, fuzz, reverb and delay constantly- he is the entire key to the Filth sound. His solo work was vastly impressive. It was amazing to witness him play one-handed and with the guitar behind his head- but he did these hyper, tricky solos far too often. He needs to hold onto that special stuff until the finale to blow us all away even more. Drummer Adam was tight throughout- the glue holding everything together. The crowd loved every second- girls were on top of lads’ shoulders, drinks were flying, and even the Jeremy Corbyn rant made an appearance. Ending on Bitch, they finished the set off with another lightning solo and mosh pit- a massively successful headliner for a band that have come a very long way.
You can listen to their debut EP, Filth, here: