Bloodlunch – Pivo Pivo, Glasgow – 30/6/11

Posted: 04/07/2011 in Local Music
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The decision to cover this month’s Sneak was made the morning after the last one. The decision to focus solely on the first band on the bill came a little later.

Sitting in the pub the weekend before, with a few Sneak regulars, the subject of the Bloodlunch preview had come up and resulted in a highly enthusiastic discussion about how “insane” the performance was and how excited everyone was to see if they would live up to it that Thursday. Cue the decision to review Bloodlunch alone.

The temptation to watch the preview was resisted, which led to several days filled with anticipation of the sort that only comes from the prospect of a totally fresh live experience courtesy of a band of whom you have no existing knowledge.

Finally, the night arrives, the journey to Glasgow is negotiated, entry is paid and seats are taken.

As Bloodlunch take to the stage, they look to be a typical metal band, with bassist and vocalist forming a ragtag arrangement of rolled up sleeves, long hair and piercings.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult not to judge a book by its cover when you have absolutely nothing else to go on. Thus, having setttled in for what looks set to be a fairly run-of-the-mill testosterone-driven metal performance, there is a near transition from seat to floor when the vocalist opens his mouth just long enough to utter “get it right up all of ye” before his band crash into a set which is far from run-of-the-mill.

Stagelights blare and Bloodlunch’s distinctly heavy sound pummels the audience as the vocalist Michael Wiseman leans into a traditional rock ‘n’ roll stance and bellows frantically into his vintage-style microphone. The intricacies of this moment could be easily missed and this would be a genuinely sad oversight, because the way in which Wiseman invokes the spirit of Elvis Presley and then proceeds to shit all over it with his gloriously gruff and vulgar songmanship and ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude ties in magnificently with their hilariously crass approach.

It takes a couple of minutes for the room to come out of its stupor and, when this transition is complete, all appear captivated by the singer’s manic stare and frenetic energy as the band piledrive their way through song after song.

The music itself suggests a dominant southern metal influence with something approaching rockabilly scratching away under the surface. Although none of the songs showcased tonight could be described as foot-tappers in the traditional sense, there is definitely an infectious rhythm driving the set (infectious being perhaps a worrying pun, given the nature of some of the lyrics.) Switching between fast and slow but always with a distinct air of menace and vulgarity, it’s really a style to be heard rather than described.

The performance is undeniably chaotic but the band don’t seem too bothered. It seems there is no setlist, as the band “don’t write it doon,” and the predominant sound between songs is a bizarre ruckus somewhere between arguing and incomprehensible banter. Essentially, Scottish humour at its crude best.

A few songs in, the audience is curtly informed that “this next tune’s about gettin a blowjob while you’re havin a shite.”

The lyrics that follow are not complex, appropriate or intelligent. What they are however, when combined with the unique persona the frontman has moulded and the aggressive but fun nature of the music,  is genuinely amusing in the crudest way imaginable. A chorus of “Holy moly! Holy moly! Suckin on me while I’m havin a toley!” sees a room full of faces registering shock then turning to check the reactions of their companions before disintegrating into fits of laughter.

Occasional goading of the audience for their lack of enthusiasm (although this may have been a misinterpretation of their shock and awe at the performance in front of them) and throwaway comments about their early spot on the bill are tinged perfectly with that aforementioned Scottish humour, so as to make it all seem more like part of an inside joke than genuine complaints. At one point, the guitarist comments that all present are probably just waiting for the headliners to play and then, without missing a beat, the vocalist chimes in with “this next one is a 31 minute…” before cutting off mid-sentence, as Bloodlunch smash back to life, seemingly without the slightest regard for how they are perceived.

The more cynical could dismiss such a performance as contrived, but to do this would be to overlook the most important part: the sheer fun of it all. Setting aside the music for a second, this is a band worth watching because they are immensely entertaining and there is the distinct impression that they would be having a great time with or without an audience.

The only complaint, with regards to tonight, is that the band seem to have been misplaced on the bill. The Bloodlunch experience positively reeks of pint-soaked debauchery and it seems an opportunity for an even more electric performance was missed tonight, due to their early stageslot. Had this lot been put onstage at eleven o’ clock, in front of a rowdier crowd, the place would have erupted!

Nonetheless, the performance was magnificent. The musical proficiency of all concerned was clear to see and, perhaps ironically, the apparent disdain for the idea of playing to please the audience ended up being immensely entertaining. The boys seem self-assured in their own ability; happy with what they’re doing and content that they’re doing it well.

Is that not what it’s all about, after all?

Bloodlunch on Facebook

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