The One Eyed General’s Bandit


Nephew Rails

We commence with a quintet (right word?), whose live debut is somewhat respectable, if a little underwhelming; a steady approach, with a few interesting tempo changes here and there that show evidence of something interesting as their set stumbles on, rendering them the perfect fit for being the quintessential ‘opening act’.

The band glides around like a dated locomotive, the drumming economical and the bass shining through like a translucent lampshade (oxymoron?), the guitarists adding the necessary southern rock (Up on the Sun-era Meat Puppets?) textures to fit with the narrative approach to the lyrics. With regards to articulating the former, the vocals have a semblance of sincerity (backing vocal under-utilised and/or not used), though lacking the right kind of melancholic idiosyncrasy that you’d expect from this kind of genre.

The Tinfoils

And in the vein of an orthodox, structured sandwich, the median act represents the culinary element we spectators can bite into (metaphor: yes, cannibalism endorsement: no). The labelling of ‘power trio’ is a cliché I am all too keen to avoid, yet unfortunately it’s the only way I can describe the zealous, bottomless peanut bag-type energy source these guys have somehow tapped into. I strangely visualise the abstract concept of having both Ian Paice and Chris Squire act as rhythm section in a dilapidated punk chassis; they recklessly give the middle finger to 4/4 as they guide their flock into a gaping hole. Adding the finishing touch to this peculiar stained glass door frame is the rather zany delivery style of the vocals; varying from shouts to Speedy Gonzales with little to no hesitation, coupled with the malfunctioning hot-air balloon tone of the guitar, it only added further bewilderment to my imagination.

Lyrically they also take the gold; topics of the day encompassing the anger-inducing fining system, the sickening adoration of our much-loathed ‘Royal’ family (single release, 1st March) and while not lyrically related, newer ways to introduce songs in the progressing set list (perhaps the readers should indulge them). If you want to know the sensation of having a worn-out carpet yanked from under you (without injuries to the spine), check them out.

The One Eyed General’s Bandit

And the headliner, a 3 piece that seemingly tries to connect the dots between today’s alternative scene and a country-infused 50’s throwback. The piercing tone of the bass (rockabilly, dub, even JPJ-esque in one number) acts as the horse-drawn cart from which the guitar (feedback-laden, with tones ranging from blues-like to Andy Gill?), drums (regimented yet certainly know how to leap beyond the bounds of comfort) and vocals (have an uncertainly to them, but they do have a degree of emotional depth) play passenger to.

As they advance through their set, they delve into a cover of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’, adding a slight despairing quality to its original form, the noise from the guitar wailing, like getting your head bludgeoned by a spanner, really capturing what I assume the band was trying to put across. Their newly released single, ‘A Cowering Compromise’, certainly energises elements of the audience into…dance?, all the while the band’s momentum mirroring a 50s re-enactment gone slightly off-kilter, a bit like a laid back version of the Gun Club. To sum up, while certainly not as high-octane as their predecessor and perhaps not having the best set list pacing, I think they have tapped into something of interest; I would certainly like to see what rough terrain (straw in mouth and all) they accidentally stray into next time.

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Angus Rolland

Recent career decisions have compelled me into the journalistic... thing; I could list my literary influences or even debate which 3rd rate beverage has the best economic value per litre (But I won’t). Oh, in addition, I write reviews for the Independents Network.