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16th November 2011

Live: Bass Drum of Death

Strikingly-named Bass Drum of Death play in one of the more unlikely Manchester venues.

7th November 2011

The Castle Hotel


Given that it’s an area already deeply associated with our city’s ‘alternative’ culture, it’s pretty surprising to note that there seems to be something of a dearth of live music venues in Manchester’s Northern Quarter; outwith the obviously legendary Night and Day Café, only the Castle Hotel presents itself as a regular live venue, with a healthy programme lined up for the rest of 2011 and tonight, it’s strikingly-named garage duo Bass Drum of Death on the bill.

This is a band that quite clearly recognises the value in keeping things simple; heavily distorted guitar, racing drums and typically grungy vocals comprise the Mississippi twosome’s modus operandi.  The Castle’s back room – kitted out with an impressive sound system as opposed to the dartboard and moth-eaten furniture you might expect to find in such an establishment – proves as good a setting as any for the band to air debut record GB City in its entirety, alongside a handful of early tracks. The detached manner of guitar/vocalist John Barrett – only comfortable with barking lyrics from behind a thick, matted fringe – coupled with a marked lack of stage banter, might be interpreted as a hint at some kind of live insecurity from the band. Rather, the modest Monday night crowd is bearing witness to a highly-polished live set perfected during over many a U.S.-wide tour; it’s difficult to believe that this is the band’s first European adventure. So confident are they in the aggressive scuzz of their debut LP, in fact, they don’t even feel the need to adapt their Odd Future collaboration, ‘64’, for their own shows, putting faith instead in their classically reverb-soaked sound – and as they close a short-but-sweet set with a blistering rendition of ‘Velvet Itch’, it’s not difficult to understand why.

Bass Drum of Death – Heart Attack Kid

Joe Goggins

Joe Goggins

Music Editor.

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