Bass Drum Of Death, The Key Club, Leeds
27th February 2019
On the rare occasion American garage-punk bands cross the Atlantic to British shores, they always get a very raucous reception; Bass Drum Of Death haven’t been in the UK for five years, and have never graced a Leeds stage before, so for fans of the band this certainly isn’t a show to miss. From the off, the Key Club is relatively packed full of teenagers and twenty-somethings all raring to dive into mosh pits at the first available opportunity.
Leeds locals Brooders kick off the night with an impressive set full of psych-punk tunes; their confidence is matched by their musical skill, and they entrance the crowd with their fuzz-soaked melodies and hypnotic breakdowns. Brighton’s Thyla are a perfect fit for fans of Bass Drum Of Death – a female-fronted post-punk band, they get the crowd warmed up for the main event by supplying danceable, meaty basslines and dreamy riffs that could come straight out of Fleetwood Mac’s repertoire.
When Bass Drum Of Death take to the stage, just how long some of these fans have been longing to see them becomes immediately apparent – instantly everyone surges forward, bouncing relentlessly to the clattering drums and thrumming lo-fi riffs of No Demons. Bass Drum Of Death are from New York, and this is perhaps what sets them apart from the likes of their LA-based genre-mates FIDLAR and Wavves; they have a distinctly British feel to them, conveying the energy of Spring King if the Manchester punks had been left in the sun a bit too long. It’s the perfect vibe for a setting like the Key Club, a staple venue of the UK punk scene.
Although they don’t say a great deal, Bass Drum Of Death’s stage presence is effortlessly cool – think three Julian Casablancases if Julian Casablancas frequented skate parks and regularly threw himself into mosh pits. Their instruments seem like extended parts of their beings; frontman John Barrett slings his guitar around like an extra limb whilst his band mates keep the thrumming rhythms that tie all the tracks together going, as if replicating their own heart beats.
Speaking of hearts beating, this crowds’ collective pulse must be insanely high as the pits don’t let up for a single song; everyone seems utterly euphoric, grins and sweaty hair plastered to their faces. Fan favourite Nerve Jamming sends everyone into an utter frenzy, as do more recent cuts such as Just Business and Too High – crowdsurfers are popping up virtually every other song. It’s the iconic opening riff of Crawling After You, however, which really reveals just how lively this audience is. The scenes which result, and the feeling generated, could come out of a gritty teen drama; think the party scenes in Skins. Bass Drum Of Death tap into a raw youthful energy in every person in the room tonight and tear it out of them with just a casual hair flip and an American drawl.
Tickets for remaining dates can be found here.