Live Review: The Pissedcolas, Cold Meat, Aborted Tortoise, Nerve Quakes

25 August 2015 | 10:54 am | Richard Moore

"A tense set of long, psych-out arrangements, including a terrifying 20-minute conclusion."

It's not so unusual to see a heavy act take over The Bird these days, but The Pissedcolas, always uncommon faces in the scene, like to remind us of the limits of our sound equipment once in a while. Their newest release, a 12" vinyl offering, will extend this to the stereos of their fans, but to launch it this drone/psych/garage/distortion group took roost in a packed Bird with a host of other bands.

Garage group Nerve Quakes opened the night with Caitie Moondog's vocals chiming over the grungy throb of the band. Gearing up over their set with bassist Charlotte Thorn's heavy underscores driving them on and a fine flesh of distorted synths, they instantly cemented their obvious choice to open for The Pissedcolas. Nerve Quakes brought a pop-ish flash to the night's theme, drawing a contrast between their hardcore and dark psych influences (spot the Black Flag tattoo part one: on the swollen bicep of their guitarist) and indie sensibility.

Aborted Tortoise shuffled on second with their usual offering of classic, early, early punk — but hasn't something changed recently? There's a step up in tempo from almost-danceable surf-influenced punk to hysterical amphetamine yapping; if frontman Connor Lane was any way to judge they just wanted it over as fast as possible (spot the Black Flag tattoo part two: on Lane's second knuckle, left hand). This feminine, bored posturing was at odds with the band's frequently misogynist lyrics, coughed out into an asexual, hostile blur. Charles Wickham too has metamorphosed from his cocoon stage wrapped up in '70s sweaters and emerged a ball of hair and flailing limbs that would make the most spasmodic Ramone proud, while drummer Alex Patching has taken on the spitting image of a young James Baker. Chilling.

Slotting in before the headliner was a quick set from fem-vox hardcore group Cold Meat, with lead, Ashley Ramsey, dressed to fucking kill in a dress coat with leopard trimming. She tore her way through chunky, short songs in gulps and chips, with whatever bassist Tim (just Tim) was doing to that instrument borderline abusive. This led the way easily into The Pissedcolas, opening with their bass and synth volume screaming at the stuffed room through Transversales and a tense set of long, psych-out arrangements, including a terrifying 20-minute conclusion. Not easy to stomach, but well worth the chew.

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