In some places this had been billed as some sort of contest between The Whigs and Dead Confederate. There’s some logic to that as it’s probably easier to promote competition than a co-headline, which is never easy as the default thought tends to be that the last band on is the main event.

However, first off was Blacklight Pioneer a new home-grown band playing pretty solid alt-rock that isn’t really going to set them apart from a very crowded scene. There is promise, their debut single Lucille is a confident emotional song, but this is very much a work in process.

Dead Confederate are up next and they are loud, very loud. They are also in brilliant form. They don’t move around that much, and visually they aren’t exactly striking, Hardy Morris’s hair is permanently plastered over his face, Ring style, so it’s down to their music, and there aren’t any problems there, lobbing out breeze blocks of sound to all and sundry. They are an extraordinary live experience, deftly melding subtlety and brutality. There is a real sense of the epic about this band live, with Tool coming to mind. However, this was a relatively short set and one wonders if audience’s attention might start to wander when they have to play longer shows.

The Whigs had a tough act to follow and the audience had shrunk for them. Foolish people should have stayed as they would have got full value for their ticket and seen another very good band. Not a truly heavy band but their combination of garage gruff and, frankly, pop sensibilities, they can rock with anyone. The vigorous, tight, unfussy opener Like a Vibration gets things underway and Parker Gispert is having a ball with his one legged bop and strange gangly lopping moves, Bassist Tim Deaux seemed to prefer to play to his stack, while the lynchpin was drummer Julian Dorio who was in ferocious mood tonight, judging by the sounds coming from his kit. The set was lean and efficient Right Hand on My Heart was a colossal while, O.K. Alright and Hot Bed were standouts.

Were there winners tonight? Yes, the punters who stayed for both bands and saw two very interesting and distinct groups that are well worth further investigation.

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