Returning to the Bell Jar after a triumphant gig there back in February (playing with Senile Crocodile and Beta Blocker and the Body Clock), York boys Fawn Spots (pictured) draw an eager crowd tonight. Indeed, the place is quickly filled as the band take up their instruments with a sense of purpose, and unleash their brand of pleasingly spiky, shouty noise on the eardrums of a grinning throng.
The dual guitar/vocal punch of Jonathan Meager and Oliver Grabowski (the band is a trio, along with drummer Sean Joseph Hughes) is a powerful battering ram, the band’s lack of a bass guitar in no way hindering their delivery of a real lower end attack. This aggression is reinforced by the occasional hardcore punk flavour of their music: relatively short songs delivered with speed and energy (Grabowski in particular thrashes and writhes while wrestling the notes from his guitar, while Hughes maintains a thunderous rhythm behind his kit, favouring solid power over any frilly fills or drum solo wankery). Some slight mic issues mean Meager’s impassioned shouting is indistinct and drowned out by the guitars, but nobody in the audience seems to mind too much by the time the band end their set with a heavy rendition of ‘The Official Ironmen Rally Song’ by Guided By Voices. Decent stuff.
London band Slowcoaches call themselves “slack metal”, a title – along with their name – that you realise is tongue-in-cheek once they begin to play. Their melodic, catchy sound takes obvious influence from the likes of Dinosaur Jr and Husker Dü, and they blast through their set at a brisk, lively pace. This is my first experience of the band, but they are clearly already familiar to several members of the audience (their announcement that “this next one is called ‘54’” draws excited whooping from a few guys at the front). Towards the end of their set, some moshing breaks out and a couple of glasses are sacrificed in the name of the Slam Dance, and even though the band themselves come close to being knocked over by the gleefully rowdy audience, they play on without missing a note, big grins on their faces. A fun, energetic end to the night.