2 Jul 2015

CAMPAIGN FOR QUIET #2 - Battery Hens, Melt Dunes, Noyo Mathis, Cold Holding & Funcrusher @ The Alex, Southampton (live review)


Campaign For Quiet is a local promotion-type thing that have just started putting on gigs in Southampton, run by the band RA! (who are on this playlist doing a spaced out cover of Be My Baby). It basically aims to bring a load of great local bands together, proving that there's a kinda great scene in Southampton, and ensuring that anyone that comes has a good time, etc. It's done sheerly for the love of music, not £££, which kind of explained just why everyone was so bloody good - the second Capaign For Quiet event was on Sunday, and was literally only a pound to get in (or free with a donation of music) (although I don't think anyone donated anything THAT bad). So whilst some 70 year old men were at Glastonbury, hoping they were dying before they got old, The Alex, on the outskirts of town, was filling up with people eager to join in the Campaign For Quiet

The evening was opened with the artist known as FUNCRUSHER, but crush fun he did not; taking to the stage in a sorta origami badger mask, FUNCRUSHER filled the duration of his set with one huge echoey guitar-powered soundscape. It was dreamy, and so hypnotic that I could have definitely listened to it for hours. And underneath the mask, and the hourlong soundscapes, the guy's a political activist type too; one of his CDs is called 'If you're such a man of the people, how come everyone I know thinks you're a cunt?', which is potentially the best titled guitar soundscape record of all time. (Worth noting: it's about Nigel Farage, but a bit Owen Jones) (I quite like Owen Jones, so my fun's being crushed a bit here)

Following that came two of the South's more furious emo-influenced bands; Cold Holding are a two-piece, and their angry sound was deeply routed in grunge and garage punk, hailing from Southampton. They played a heavy, fast set, and even though every band is allotted the same 45 minute time frame, much like The Jesus & Mary Chain in their early days, they played for about 20 minutes, even though their noise-driven songs aren't particularly short. Following them came Portsmouth's Noyo Mathis, who were twice as refined, and had twice as many members. Their vocals were almost all painfully screamed, but beneath that was a fair amount of melodic, thoughtful sound - reflected a bit by the fact most the songs were opened with an intro of 'this one's about death' - and it generally made for a really enjoyable set...

BUT AFTER THAT, the gig escalated, and the remaining two bands were phenomenal. Melt Dunes, who I've gone on about loving time and time again, played the penultimate set. Their 45 minute set was basically two songs long; a fuzzed out segue brought them into an explosive version of their latest single Epicaricacy, which like the rest of their set, revolves around massive riffs completely drenched in reverb, sounding a bit like a cross between The Black Angels and Spiritualized. Their set's second '~*movement*~' revolved around their first (of two) singles What's Your Name, being howled down the mics whilst the band made a hell of a lot of guitar based noise. Basically, Melt Dunes are the most amazing live act there is and if they ever play near you, you gotta go see them, because they really smashed it at the C4Q gig.

Melt Dunes

But obviously you can't forget about Battery Hens (again, we've featured them a few times on the blog), who are from Portsmouth ('we're from Shelbyville like Noyo Mathis') and closed the set. They're a grunge band, that are clearly really, really angry about something. Their set kicked off with a few bog-standard, out-and-out 2 and a half minute thrash songs - Fuck Things was an early highlight, as the band got a lot of momentum going in a way that it's difficult to describe as anything other than angry, although they sounded like really sweet guys in between the songs as they addressed the audience. Although the more simplistic first half of the set was good, songs like DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) off of their new EP showcased a more complex side of the band, as their songs began to have weird structures, with Eagulls-esque sections of reverby guitars and extended outros, and in closer Lobotomy, the band even sounded a bit emotional. Battery Hens, at first listen, sound like they're maybe quite a simple band, with a set sound, but once you immerse yourself in them, and listen to a whole set of their own grungey stylings, they're actually something really quite special.

But 'cos the whole Campaign For Quiet thing is kind of community-y, it ended not with Battery Hens' storming set, but with a raffle (everyone got a raffle ticket on the door), which inclued prizes like Battery Hens/Funcrusher CDs, false identities and an unlimited travel day card for last Friday, in Nottingham. A really good night for all involved, and further proof that the South Coast has an INCREDIBLE music scene.

Battery Hens

Photos supplied by Campaign For Quiet
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(written by calum cashin)