‘We’ve got a new one for you … but mostly it’s the same old shit’.
That’s how Caravan of Whores introduce themselves on tonight’s Buried in Smoke event, but when it’s high grade no-messing-about shit dealt primarily from the Road to Kurti stash, there’s nowt to grumble about. New track Blackout (I think) fits the Caravan MO pretty damned well. Spacey bits are spacier, heavy bits are more chargin’ and apart from drummer Jamie losing a stick halfway through Your God is Dead, it’s a job well done.
Rising locals Undersmile are in no danger of such stick-losing accidents. That would be like driving a milk float up Shotover Hill and getting done for speeding – it just ain’t gonna happen. No, their mournful harmonies and so very very loud-and-slow anti-groove is a nightmare soundtrack pulled from the Khanate school of doom. It is relentless. Brief relief comes when they wind it up – yes, UP – to a mid-tempo hurtle past the finish line after some Godflesh-inspired menace.
Following Undersmile’s punishing slo-mo we get a total contrast: Beehoover. Shoeless, sockless drum-and-bass action from Germany and these guys don’t hold back. At no point does this sound like just two people. No way.
With bass amplified and no guitar to get in the way, you get echoes of that thick warm Kyuss woomph but it’s not fat, woozy or dusty … it’s superlean and shifting fast. No nod-outs or loose jams here. Ingmar Petersen plays bass like rhythm AND lead, with a progger’s itinerary of riffs, patterns and shifts. And the drums? Same full-on deal. Claus-Peter Hamisch seems to switch every time Petersen does, a joint lead attack that’s totally locked in. They play hard and give it everything, and the only band that really comes to mind with this kind of sound and set up is latter-day Melvins rhythm-meisters Coady Willis and Jared Warren, aka Big Business.
How Beehoover come across on CD I’ve yet to find – 2013 album The Devil and His Footmen didn’t arrive in time for the gig – but live, they’re tonnes fuller and more propulsive than on Exile on Mainstream’s Worship the Riff label sampler a few years back.
The one downside to this great line-up tonight is the attendance. Only partially filled at best, even that meagre crowd thins once Undersmile exit, and it’s criminal that bands as strong as this – and especially Beehoover – weren’t seen by a few more rock-loving bods.