Brawlers, Milk Teeth + Support – The Hop, Wakefield – 01/04/15

Greetings MF-reading hombres!

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In case you don’t know (of course you don’t know) I’m Sam from this band called Yawning Dog, a noisy, dirty band, previously featured on Musically Fresh. Above is a pic of me in said band. You’re probably thinking, ‘Who or what the fuck are you?’, and I don’t blame you; so here’s the crack.

Musically Fresh very awesomely gave my aforementioned band the 2014 Breakthrough Act of the Year award in the 2014 Musically Fresh Awards, so, in turn I asked if I could repay them by bringing a new angle to Musically Fresh.

The scene around Yorkshire is one of the richest, most competitive and most varied in Europe, specialising in various incarnations of dirty Alt. Rock. The Cribs, Pulled Apart By Horses, Dinosaur Pile Up, and now the likes of Allusondrugs, Marmozets, Brawlers, and a million more have produced some highly sexual music. I thought since I go to a lot of gigs, (and can’t really sleep afterwards), I would write about them, and the army of bands that you should be going to see yourself.

So on April Fools Day, I went to see meaty Kerrang favourites Brawlers, and southern Grunge monkeys, Milk Teeth (not their first MF appearence, click HERE), on the first date of their co-headline tour at The Hop in Wakefield.

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The night started with local Post-Hardcore quartet Cold Summer, spreading their angst around the room. Frontman, Dan Feast, pretty quickly set about spitting said angst, half using a fairly weak screaming technique, but half with better, more melodic singing.

The band utilised the space well though, trying to stir a buzz early on, maximising the stage presence and with the singer, at times right in the face of the audience. Musically, the band stay pretty close to Metal conventions; tight rhythmic chugs, and slower melodic passages. Despite the fact a couple of technical difficulties got the better of them, all in all, they were a decent opening act.

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Next up were Wakey Emogaze four-piece Beesley, a band I’ve seen before. In fact, I saw them almost a year ago at their second gig, with just two out of tune guitars and an open-handed drummer… pretty memorable. Now, armed with a much more focused and surprisingly groovy sound, I feel this band will only get bigger.

Singer/guitarist, James Nager, looked as square as you can with a Jag, and tucked his t-shirt in his jeans for God’s sake, but after he introduced the band, and the phaser-drenched opener, ‘Sunshine’, they unleashed a fantastically varied, very well executed set; no frills, no, pauses, no stage banter.

Highlights for me were new tune ‘Jane, Air’, a great song. Subtly big, with hints of Mac DeMarco charm, and ‘Whitewall’, a travelling song which constantly changed tempo and groove, it showed off what a damn good rhythm sections this band has. Bassist, Josh Hall, and drummer, Blue Thorn, were synched into one another, allowing space when needed, but bringing power and melody together in the bigger sections.

A fantastic band now, and with a new release imminent too, they’re ready for the next step.

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Venn Records starlets Milk Teeth were up next, a band with a growing reputation; 2000 Trees, Pukklepop and a bunch of other festivals, as well as a big fat European tour with Title Fight in May, all on the way, but for now, following Beesley at The Hop.

The first time I saw Beesley was also the first time I saw Milk Teeth, and they’ve come along immensely since then. Opening with an older tune, ‘Forty Six’, tinged in Nirvana chorus and swimming in feedback, while vocalist/bassist Becky Blomfield lays down classic Kim Deal vocal vibes. You immediately get the nineties feels, and its amazing.

This band are mightily impressive live, and the second track ‘Grease’, from the same era as the opener, just about took my fucking head off. Such a loud band, and they carry the noise so well, with guitarist/vocalist Josh Bannister’s guttural screaming and the sonic bombardment of filthy riffs and big ass drums. Relentless. The entire set was consistent, thrilling, and at times beautiful, but the highlight had to be their feel good hit, ‘Vitamins’ with an instant wave of cromulence bouncing the crowd all the way through. You need to see this band.

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Finally, were Leeds Punks, Brawlers, one of the top 20 bands in the world according to Kerrang, currently on a monster tour and dropping their debut album very soon. This should be good.

The room was packed, as the crowd left a semi circle around the stage to allow enigmatic frontman, Harry Johns, room to move about and lose his shit, while supplying endless vocal hooks from their torrent of singles, such as the latest Pop-Punk gem, ‘Drink & Dial’.

Amazing stage presence and great interaction with onlookers, as they rip through compressed blasts of monstrous no-frills Punk. Bassis,t Anthony Wright, is a monster of a man, and possesses the meatiest tone in the north, a tone you get mauled by while their new drummer tries to knock your teeth out.

After four or five tunes, Harry gets on stage and for the first time I’ve seen, adds a second guitar for two songs, a briefly richer, more chilled Brawlers appears. Then it’s straight back to destroying the place, as the guitarist pirouettes while thumping his axe.

As a finale, Harry gets the crowd in a circle to scream ‘Fuck Waking Up’, while guitars, mic stands and people fly around the room as the ending to their brash, blunt, but undeniable catchy Northern reinvention of the dull over-American Pop-Punk, which now fills the venues in England. I generally hate Pop-Punk, but Brawlers are too good to ignore, they are immense live, carrying such a weight of hooks and sheer power. On the up and up with the biggest names backing them. Seeing them live is a must for any music fan.

#StayFresh and for your own sake, watch these bands.

Sam Womersley

A Grungy Punker Monkey. Guitarist and lead vocalist of MF Breakthrough Act of 2014, Yawning Dog. @Yawning_Dog

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