Live Review: Blacklisters and USA Nails at Gullivers in Manchester 10/10/15

Blacklisters and USA Nails live at Gullivers in Manchester

This night has opened my eyes.

I’ve often been one to gag at the sight of punters wearing ear plugs at gigs. People in bands, fair enough, but just someone watching the show? Pah!
But recently, following a plethora of evenings stood in close proximity to loud speakers, I’ve started to come round to the idea of ear plugs. Is it worth risking tinnitus just for the sake of looking slightly less of a berk? The answer is a deafening NO.

On Saturday night at Gullivers in Manchester, it took all of about two minutes of punishing noise from Big Machine for me to come to this conclusion.
As part of a sterling bill put on by the Turn It Out faithful, this thunderous duo were new to me, but name alone was enough to get me on board. Those initial two minutes were as great as they were ear-splitting. As the room began to fill up with bodies, the pair orchestrated an onslaught of pulverising noise. Heavy riffs, pounding drums and shouting – the holy trinity. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

Now, I’ve seen Mothers (formerly Aeroplane Flies High) in the past, so I know just how loud they can be, but Saturday night was next level. During the soundcheck, my bleeding eardrums nearly exploded…Easily the loudest band of the night.
Dominating riffs were churned out throughout their deafening set, the duelling guitars creating such a great, sludgy sound. Not content with making the crowd laugh in-between songs with depreciating comments about his weight, drummer Lewis excelled when it came to kicking fuck out of the kit, thrashing away with great intensity. Still just as delightful with the name change; we were even treated to some rad new sounds from their forthcoming debut album, pencilled in for a release next year through Mountains Of Records.

The utterly brilliant USA Nails

The utterly brilliant USA Nails

With the promise to play through the entirety of their new album ‘No Pleasure’ (save for the last track ‘I Cannot Drink Enough’ as it turned out), USA Nails were the evening’s main selling point for me. Captivated by their performance at this year’s ArcTanGent Festival, there’s not been a day go by where I’ve not listened to at least one track off their fantastic new record.
Saturday night saw the four-piece on fine form, not leaving much breathing room as they blasted through No Pleasure. Guitarist Gareth has such a hideous guitar sound at times, really honing in on that noisy, krautrock style. ‘They’d Name An Age’ was a massive highlight –  so much bite to it. It sounded ferocious on Saturday night, as it built to its discordant closing section.
One of the main things I really dig about USA Nails is their ‘I don’t give two fucks’ approach. From their on stage attitude to vocalist Steve’s piss-taking patter in between songs, there’s just something intrinsically likeable about them. It helps that they’re really fucking good too.
For those of you who couldn’t make it, some diamond has put the whole thing online already!

Headliners Blacklisters are another new one for me, even though practically every man and his dog loves them. In the midst of a horrific hangover on Friday morning, I gave their new album ‘Adult’ a blast and it nearly finished me off. Brutal.
Catching them live, it soon became apparent as to why they’re so well regarded. Excellent stuff from start to finish; the packed out room getting fully into the show. They played one tune that has such a disgusting bass tone, grown men were reduced to tears.
Front man Billy has a real intensity and unpredictability about him; at one point spending a good few minutes discussing Mick Hucknall’s appearance at that infamous Sex Pistols gig at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall. Much like USA Nails, stablemates of Smalltown America, there’s a give-no-fucks attitude to them that’s very likeable. 10 on 10.

If I was to go deaf at a gig, that would have been it. With Turn It Out putting on a line-up that was almost too good to be true, it’d be a safe bet to say that it’s not just all four bands to keep an eye on. You’d be daft to miss their next show.

The mighty Blacklisters

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