Exoskeletons EP Launch
For the first time in a long time I wasn’t gigging. And for the first time in quite a while, I wanted to unwind at a gig – to not have to think about if I have enough time for a smoke before we start. Or how we are getting all of our gear back to base.
We leave the dark depths of my house in Strood to head towards an even darker place – Poco Loco. To watch Exoskeletons release their tasty EP to the world. Now, unless you live in Medway or have gigged here before, you won’t know the wonders that this place really holds. For a start, I don’t remember ever-stepping foot into the place. Yes, I was underage. But to not have a single memory of walking into the place makes no sense. And I’m not the only one. Maybe its something they put in the water. Maybe it was the drugs.
This venue has really stood the test of the time. While other venues were being slapped with noise abatement orders, these guys put steps in place to make sure that they didn’t get closed down. Kudos. They have even recently purchased a drum kit & guitar amp and will be buying a bass amp as soon as they have the money. A huge step in the right direction. With newly decorated walls too, this pub is really starting to become a great venue. The acts that grace it’s very small wooden stage have, as of late, really stepped up. Before, it would be mostly jungle nights. But now, a variety of respectful acts are starting to put nights on here. I shouldn’t lie; there are still some right shockers. One thing Poco Loco definitely does offer is drama. This drama can take many shapes and many forms. Sometimes it has everyone on the floor cracking up, other times it’s people having their head cracked open on the floor. This isn’t a representation of the venue, it’s more of a representation of an eclectic – and a very special – community.
I walk in to the find the normal décor completely changed for the night. The stage background covered in red balloons, attached by black tape. I must say, I’m a fan. it’s nice when an artist/band puts some effort and thought into their launch night. After speaking to a few people and grabbing a drink I had a little nosey about the place and saw some merch for sale. I grab a t-shirt (nice to see something that isn’t black & white) and a copy of the EP (recently reviewed by the Jellyfish here: Exoskeletons – Get Lost). Then I’m offered quite possibly the best merch I’ve seen to date. A colouring book filled with Illustrations done by Exoskeletons very own Greg Webster. And crayons. The child inside me (whey) is so fucking happy. I take two ‘cause I’m a greedy motherfuckerrrrrrr.
I go out for a smoke until the bands start. First up it’s Frau Pouch. Frau Pouch have never failed to deliver in my many times of seeing them. Their songs are always filled with awesome sing-along sections with great rhythm guitar. Ollie really has some tasty bass riffs that always impress and Suzanne’s drumming is delivered with style. I always love seeing a drummer smiling and loving it. Joseph’s lyrics and delivery are punchy and on point. An all round stellar performance. Couple of personal highlights for us include hearing Ol’Foetus Penis played live again (its been too long) and the balloons falling down on poor Suzanne head while she was trying to drum. She wore her Throne of Balloons with style.
We sing, we laugh, we clap. Time for a smoke and to grab another drink.
I haven’t heard of the next band so decide to ask a few people. The response I get is ‘two guitarists and a drummer, heavy as fuck, but full of melody.’ SOLD.
I hear the sound of a snare drum and make my way inside.
I think the story of the origin of this band (Mothers) is that the brother from My Name Is Earl built a time machine and recruited a young Cilla Black and some American mountain man to play guitar for him. Visually this could be the most mismatched band I’ve ever seen.
Mothers begun and, fuck me, even before the first song ends I am hooked. Slow, crushing, hefty riffs that occasionally ramp up into really fast & REALLY hefty riffs. Lewis O’Neill really is a sight to behold, I’ve never witnessed a drummer hit so hard with so much technique, I am in awe. Jack & Roanne both deliver songs with absolute blissful execution. The songs vary from dirty filth to complete silence and everything in between. With standout riffs coming from Roanne and certain sections of songs made that much better by the comedic timing of Lewis. One thing that really stands out to me with this band is how at ease they make the crowd feel straight away. After one or two songs we are completely immersed, watching a band that for some reason I feel like I have been friends with for a long time. Anyway, epic songs, epic band, check them the fuck out (link at the bottom of the review)
Surprise Surprise, I need to get another drink & have a smoke.
It’s not long before we hear the sounds of the headline act and make our way inside.
We have recently had the pleasure of reviewing the EP and look forward to seeing how it will go down – it has a wondrous reception and rightly so. Exoskeletons have only been together since the summer and already sound like they have been playing together since being young-uns. It’s really great to see two thirds of Houdini back gigging together again, and this new band clearly comes from a similar place musically, (I always think of it as taking the first nirvana album as a starting point, and going off into the stratosphere in terms of speed, intensity and complexity of arrangement.) and the addition of Pete Bevan on bass lends thunderous bottom end worthy of Lemmy. It’s not all sound and fury though, there’s genuine song-writing buried under that noise, and they’ve got a couple of songs with sing-along choruses that have us joining in. I tell Greg Webster (guitar) afterwards, that they’re doing first gigs wrong. ‘First gigs are supposed to be awful, you don’t arrive fully formed, tight as a ducks arse,’ but Exoskeletons do apparently. Talented, professional bastards. Their set ends too quickly for me – I wanted more songs! That’s by no means a bad thing, I’m just greedy. These lads are really onto something here.
Overall the night is pretty much exactly what the doctor ordered. Loud, in your face and ruthless. I go home with ringing ears and the need for my bed. Frau Pouch, Mothers & Exoskeletons really put on a fucking good show.
Frau Pouch www.facebook.com/FrauPouch
Photography by Samantha Hayley
Images © 2015 Samantha Hayley