By Paul Creeney: Band of Skulls are a band of contradictions.
This blues-rock three-piece from Southampton at a glance seem more suited to repairing Harley Davidson motorbikes and tuning engines rather than guitars.
Appearances can be deceptive, though, and beneath the beards lie introverted musicians, who preferred to let the riffs do the talking at Hanley’s Sugarmill venue on Sunday (February 19).
And Band of Skulls were armed with riffs in abundance.
The lights dimmed and silhouettes shuffled across stage, the cheering crowd practically throwing themselves off the first floor balcony to get a decent view.
Then, the sweetly delicate opening guitar of Bruises sweeps through the venue, and hundreds of heads nod in drunken approval.
Suddenly the trance is obliterated by the chorus, a thumping, bluesy beat that bounces off the walls like an armour-piercing round inside a tank.
Patterns and The Devil Take’s Care of His Own follow in quick succession, both also behemoth powerhouses running off driving, catchy bass lines.
Despite this onslaught, The Sugarmill crowd appreciatively nods in unison rather than exerts energy into thrashing around, forming an awkward chasm between the stillness of the audience and the dynamism of the music.
This never turned hostile however, and whilst The Sugarmill’s stillness may not have matched Band of Skulls intensity, it did allow for a more refined appreciation of the music that isn’t possible when trying to avoid death by asphyxiation.
Band of Skulls second album, Sweet Sour, hit the shelves just hours after doors closed on Sunday night, with The Sugarmill certainly providing ample sweetness for the occasion.
Skulls may have been nodding rather than flying around The Sugarmill, but this should take nothing away from a band whose cranium cracking riffs are definitely on the up.
Category: What's on