One Last Foray: The Hobgoblin Bath 14/7/17.
The 14th July 2017 was the last full gig I and by an extension Musically Fresh would witness at The Hobgoblin Bath before its closure on the 19th. I was luckily able to find the time off my busy day job to watch three very different bands that have not only graced MF but also incidentally include some top quality humans.
You cannot for the life of you go anywhere in The Hobgoblin without gazing upon layers upon layers of beautifully gratuitous gig posters that have left the walls inundated in an alternative rainbow. Everywhere else you find band stickers galore cheekily and haphazardly placed with haste, adding even more to the hallowed and legendary decor that creates the perfect environment for the raw energy emanating from a small but unequivocally strong scene.
Photo Credit – David Feast.
I could rant and rave, give you a worded soliloquy or lament at the sadness of it all and the blow to the shield-wall the underground music scene and alternative culture will now unambiguously take, as it struggles to find another bulwark to plug the hole. I could reminisce for days upon all of the pits, blasted ear drums and beer and cider soaked crowds of people watching everything from Punk, Hardcore, Metal, Indie and whatever – I could but I won’t.
Obviously many who will read this will have their own memories of The Hob or if not will understand the significance of the closure of venues like this but lets move on now, for the bands that played this fateful night couldn’t of done a better job and here’s why…
Better Than Mending – Bristol, England, United Kingdom.
For the sake of it been something I felt I had to do when I decided to write this piece, I have used some of the photos I took that night. Before we get underway I would like to apologise for how atrocious they are but thats DIY (til I die) for you.
Bristol four-piece Better Than Mending are an upstart band that pleasantly surprised me. In March I wrote a review on their second release Treatments that saw an Emo-tinged Post-Hardcore sound taking note from the likes of Finch, Touche Amore, Pianos Become The Teeth and Glassjaw but stamped with the band’s own cutting emotion.
Vocalist James Pritchard shocked me the most. On recording his voice was truly – to use the word again – cutting but what I found utterly impressive live was the sheer and vocal chord breaking emotionality in his voice. BTM’s songs are nothing but cathartic, hard-hitting and compositionally tight across the board but this was performance I felt privileged to witness.
Better Than Mending have a sound the South-West Music scene needs and with that the band will be releasing new music, very, very soon.
Ghost Of The Avalanche – Frome, England, United Kingdom.
A band that quite possibly have more people donning their merchandise on a daily basis than people who actually know what the word “Ramones” means on their clothing, Frome duo Ghost Of The Avalanche are utterly renown for their live shows and the final time they would play this venue didn’t lay one mark on that sterling reputation.
Sat somewhere between Garage Rock with old-school Pop flirtations, Hardcore Punk, Noise and good old fashion Rock and or Roll, GOTA will also be releasing their next EP very soon. Luckily enough I have actually heard it and all I can say is prepare your probably already perforated ear drums because it could well be their (being your little ears) last great foray.
The band played their staple tracks, some older material and even a few glimpses of their forthcoming but all that is secondary to why this band are so good live and why they are seemingly unstoppable. It isn’t their tricks or entertaining grand finales and it isn’t their musical proficiency either. In fact, it can be tied-off, summarised, capped off and said with but one sentence…
Watching GOTA you are in all honestly presented with a band with the perfect level of camaraderie and in-band chemistry you will likely ever see.
White Lion Parade – Bristol, England, United Kingdom.
White Lion Parade have recently returned to the fold and with that head-lined the night complete with the new drummer Will Rumming and their previous stick-man James Pritchard (Better Than Mending) eagerly stood in the front row with a smile on his face.
WLP are one of those progressive, progressive bands that concoct such a mix of – you guessed it – the progressive that each time you happen to see them, you’re taken back. Post-Rock, Post-Metal, Post-Hardcore the band have a penchant for posts and progressions of genres, enough so that the genre buffs of the aforementioned are never left disappointed by the gargantuan wall of sound, climatic build ups and well orchestrated time changes.
Much like GOTA the band played many of their classic and staple tracks as well as some new and very sonically imposing material but again that isn’t what the best part of this headline set was. With the already emotional atmosphere due to the imminent closure of the venue approaching its peak, White Lion Parade’s emotive output and sense of control over their set was really quite impressively conjoined with such in a way that each chord progression and cathartic scream flowed through you.
In short, White Lion Parade have returned, are playing shows and have new music on the way. So keep an eye, an ear and your calendar free.
Three amazingly talented underground bands lovingly played their last sets in this legendary venue, a place where I myself and many of MF’s past and present staff have frequented and watched in awe at many of the hundreds of bands that have graced the ill-lit depths of The Crypt.
To one of the staple venues of the South-West, I thank you. To the first Bar I ever worked behind, I thank you. To all the bands that caused punters to convulse and leap around in abandon on that stage of sorts under the stairs, I thank you.
Thank you Hob, truly.