4th April 2022

Enola Gay Live at Yes Basement

Teddy Maloney reviews Enola Gay’s chaotic St. Patrick’s Day takeover of Yes’ Basement stage.
Enola Gay Live at Yes Basement
Photo: Enola Gay – Sofa Surfing Single cover

As YES Basement erupted in an enthralling energetic release, I could not help but cast my memory amidst the joy to the previous summer. A summer where the sun finally shone as it appeared initially to the masses that COVID had finally ceased to exist. A summer where I serendipitously stumbled upon Enola Gay at the 100 Club. It was, as I later found out, their first showing in England after attaining a noisy recognition from the likes of Fred Perry Subculture, Iggy Pop and SXSW. It must be stated with the utmost sincerity that Maruja and Yabba possessed a near diplomatic ability to rush the crowd into an intense frenzy before Enola Gay graced the stage. If given the chance, you should head aggressively to their forthcoming shows with “NO SURRENDER”.

There was a definite urge of the crowd as they impatiently waited in the most polite English manner for Enola Gay to come forth after what we knew that after our serene Summer that COVID had in fact not ended after its closing but were had been coerced into more months of biding our time. Such a gig, with such a stimulating sound was to be what was required to burst through into bodily freedom. The greenly lit stage cast the onlookers onto the verdant meadows of the Emerald Isles on this Paddy’s Day, a most fitting day to be given the company of Enola Gay’s Irish start, such a setting was perfect for the events that unfolded.

Opening with ‘Salt’ the crowd was already bouncing, with the occasional casual thrust of a forearm as the forearm of the frontman removed his mike-stand, this was to be a moving gig highly involved in the beloved interaction between band and crowd. The tension was tenuously held tightly until ‘Sofa Surfing’ surged through the sound system. The crowd began to move intensely with sheer delight as the lyrics with snarled through the microphone accompanied with desirable drum beat that elevates the track to vicious level of empathy; for the feeling of sofa surfing through another crazed weekend is a universally known one. The crowd who know the track beckon forward for their communion. The mosh begins. A song known only currently as ‘Headphone’ (wait for the release) is played. The stories of sofa surfing turns literal in what is appreciation personified as the crowd-surfing starts.

In my many ventures to YES, I have never seen such a bustle and it could only crescendo. There is distortion, brief breaks in the drum’s mantra as expression is shown through the flailing of sweaty limbs. The heavy metal guitar erases future hearing ability, all hell break loose in their Buckfast infused chaos. The songs continue endlessly, some short owing to their punk and heavy metal roots. But, do not fault the influence of ability in this talented group, the knowledge of waiting to release future songs shines through.

What they denote as shoegaze is shown in the middle of the show with a poetic ode to their ability to understand the necessity of slower music to aid in their message of a remembrance of angst. But, the tracks of ‘Scrapper’ and the unreleased ‘Cold’ stir a further desire for more escape in the crowd, they break free, utterly wild, an apocalyptic mania. The vocals rings through in a deafening onslaught, the mosh pit grows as unknowing participants are converted to the choir of shouting appreciators, band members fling themselves into the crowd, this show is not a separation but meets at the crossroads of sound, the junction of spectators and players, we join in the act of ascension.

The heat of basement rises to the depths of dehydration. I personally, having essentially ditched all regard to professionally note the events of the gig in sequence. I have no choice but to enjoy the mesmeric moment. The scenes are genuinely vicious. It’s heartfelt, there is passion here. It is a cure for all your subdued maladies, an honest release. Some may go gym, some may work, but here the exorcism occurs. You are able to release a part of yourself you retained harshly in the desperate desire to conform. Whoever began the healthy exercise narrative and said yoga or gym won’t soothe your soul; this is the workout for the wanting hearts, wandering minds and wistful fanatics.

It is in these times you respect the EP. The EP as a means for waiting for their debut album, it exists as a mere fix before the eventual mainline. The gig ends with a desperately desired encore, joined by friends, a recurrence of ‘Scrapper’ starts. Swift entrances into the crowd, an appreciating applause from the crowd. This is a gig to be remembered, one I shan’t forget, without a desire to sound overly like a fanatic fan, this was a YES moment for the ages which could only occur on the sacred Paddy’s Day. A brief commentary from compatriots; friends invited to witness a band with a friend who is a fan… “Wild & Hot”, “I loved it, I thought I would hate it but I loved it (a converted member of the crowd), the cross-genre was class, I especially loved the playing of the bassist”, “How I’d imagine tiger from pooh bear on acid” (appears to have been carried away by Paddy’s).

If you get the chance, please go to an Enola Gay show as they continue their tour. If you are unable, use your crutch of a streaming service as a means to wait until you are able to see them live, for this is truly where their magic happens.

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