Just over a week ago the world almost came to a halt, and it had nothing to do with the clowns arguing over the Crimea, though the atmosphere for all involved was equally as tense, electrifying and potentially dangerous.
The occasion, well, you might have guessed it, after a triumphant invasion of America penetrative punk enthusiasts Eagulls returned to home base to blast the Brudenell Social Club, Leeds UK, with an album release show. Little did we know they’d picked up some equally as malevolent musical mercenaries to maraud with.
Despite ticket prices being set so even the hardest up of homeless could attend (£1.97 and £4 odd if you fancied a pint), it’s not every day that this venue, even with it’s phenomenal array of booked talent, gets packed to rafters sold out. Interesting still, it’s not everyday the building itself resembles a failing A&E foyer on a bank holiday weekend; naked inflated bodies (you heard right) strewn across the floor joined by a quilt covering of randomly torn, most likely bloodied rags, pissed up old renegades and clenched fist kids, you can picture the scene… and this was ages before Eagulls had even entered the fray.
The task of warming up, or rather sticking further flame under an already boiling crowd was handed to Dirdsbead, Autobahn and Rent Boys, three bands hand picked by the headliners for the macabre, provocative qualities each posses. First to blot the ink on an historic scroll of an evening was solitary songwriter DirdsBead, who impressed with a wavering voiced assault on the status quo with standout track ‘Magazine’: “I expect so much more from a human, than the ones you see in a magazine” brilliant and, ironically, I couldn’t agree more though this night, of all nights, wasn’t set for a troubadour and his Tanglewood and that’s taking nothing away from his art; turbulence was the lifeblood this time. Enter Autobahn.
The avid Far Out readers amongst you (c’mon there must be a few?) will recognise the name and, in turn, the literary plaudits we’ve glued to the dystopian sounding five piece in the past. Well, having just returned off tour with Eagulls, a few more publications have followed suit: ‘driving 80s post punk’ one cites, ‘shadowy, industrial guitar music’ says another and they’re exactly right but let’s be a bit more inventive with reviews, let’s try to describe how these tunes make you feel. Using the latter analogy, listening to this lot is like swallowing a firework, or something else the authorities frown at illegally misusing; as the energy exuded by trademark number ‘Seizure’ rattled the venue walls, all in attendance knew they were in for ride, it was powerful, treacherous even, almost warranting a 999 call to avoid suffering the same fate the song depicts yet, in an admittedly perverse way, Autobahns dystopia acted as a beautiful prelude of things to come, and come they did, thanks to the Rent Boys.
Cruel, vicious rumours were circulating that the Brudenell gig would be the last this band ever plays. So what? I hear you say, who the fuck are the Rent Boys anyway? The best thing is that, still, after you’ve been acquainted live the question will remain, yet it will posed in some kind of dumbfounded awe rather than unfounded ignorance as you bare witness to something straight out of Andy Warhol’s wildest, dirtiest dreams and your grandmas most terrifying sleep paralysis nightmare. True to form, the later and darker the night became the more Rent Boys came to life as their tunes, especially ‘I Think…’ momentarily morphed the Brudenell into a warped red light district abode, one you’d have to seek to find, and a visit that you’d definitely keep hush from your nearest and dearest.
You’d have to have been living in a cave, or North Korea, not to have heard and read near enough everything there is on the Eagulls; there’s been features in almost every magazine worth reading, a video award by a magazine I forget the name of, extensive touring throughout Europe including dates with Parquet Courts, some unbelievable forthcoming festival appearances and, of course, that Letterman performance. Yet taking into account all of the above, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the band said that the Brudenell show was their favourite to date, why? It’s just one of those things you can tell not only by the way they totally nailed their set but because the crowd couldn’t control itself, literally devouring the attitude streaming out the mic and amps, it was a rapturous sight to behold that descended into a mass primal scream therapy session administered by the musical equivalent of back street abortionists: deft at D.I.Y, doing it because they can, doing it because no ones stopping them.
If you see it like the writer, Eagulls surpass the ‘just another group’ tag, in fact they become a kind of tonic, a medicine rather, for the ones sometimes panic stricken and twisted, susceptible to slides into the depths of themselves, occasionally anxiety drenched people prone to the odd collapse in synapses, people who’s thoughts and actions are often unexplainable – nerve endings severed. Equally though, Eagulls are for those that know when they should stop but carry on regardless, they symbolise the punk ethos without living up to any expectations or pretension, they’re having a fucking ball but bringing everyone they come across along for the ride too. Above all else, like the others that joined them on what I believe to be a landmark bill, they’re another breath of fresh air to a sugar coated industry.
For more than one reason, this piece won’t be in our review section; it was a real event, a proper moment to remember.