LIVE: Traams – The Haunt, Brighton

It’s somewhat of a homecoming gig for Traams this evening. This gang of three have been making waves on the south coast for some time now and are now really starting to break through nationally. They are back afresh from an intensive touring schedule which has seen them at a number of notable festivals and venues right across Europe.

Tonight’s opening group are grungy, stoner rock 3 piece Gang. They look like they’re bedrooms would be littered with homemade bongs, magic eye posters and sub pop compilations, but they appear to have a decent following already and they’re pretty rad to be fair. Substantial riffs and slowed down hooks serve to warm up an already sweaty venue, even if they don’t quite make sense on an otherwise coherent bill.

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Next are Best Friends who by the looks of things probably are best friends! They literally thrash out song after song at a veracious speed, all rasping vocals, washy guitars and melodic bass lines. These guys are cool but its only when after about four songs in they slow the BPM rate down severely and you can begin to hear what the guitarists are actually doing. It’s at this point it all starts to make a bit more sense. Their time signatures, aesthetic and over all vibe indicate that these guys are ready for bigger things. However, with so many bands treading this 90’s clad pathway it remains to be seen if they will be given the necessary column inches to gain them a larger reputation.

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It’s time for Traams, but not before War breaks out! Not the ‘global war on terror’ kind which is slowly attempting to break us down into quivering masses of shredded anxiety, or the kind that murders innocent people and destroys entire communities in the name of peace. Nah, it’s just the soothing tones of Eric Burdon and the boys singing “why can’t we be friends?” It’s actually quite a beautiful and poignant way to start tonight’s show.

The lights are all neon greens and strobe affects playing with our eyes and toying with our perceptions. Frontman Stuart Hopkins is playing his guitar how guitars should be played. He plays with some serious fuckin’ balls. It’s about as close to the work of greats such as Andy Gill, Wire’s Gilbert and Newman and Andy Partridge as you’re likely to see nowadays. Traams, including rock hard rhythm section Adam Stock and Leigh Padley, absolutely destroy the room. The taut wall of feedback and kraut beat is epic at times. Familiar songs turn into extended hypnotic jams with Hopkins once again showing off the varied sonic guitar tones he can produce just with his right hand. Their set list now sounds like that of a seriously accomplished band, far from the small club band many in attendance may have seen previously.

Traams have done a lot this year, but I believe it will be next year that this band become serious house hold names amongst the media music scene in England. They are ready. They have come along with a raw sound and some catchy singles, but tonight’s show indicates to me we have barely seen the surface of what this band can and almost certainly will do.

So whether or not your best friends, in a gang or just really into war. You really should go and watch Traams live as soon as you can, you won’t regret it.  

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Jimmy Casson

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