Photography by Linda Heron
One of the handiest things about press passes for gigs is skipping the queue at the door. You always reminisce as the faces stare after you, their expressions a mixture of irritation and state-your-name-and-purpose curiosity. I should know: I spent enough time there myself. But being on the right side of the guest list a few years later means you can prioritise early.
Number one: bar. Number two: seat (not that you need one for Godsized, but there’s a couple of hours’ drinking time: when you have the balls to do everything (i.e., get onstage yourself), you’re incapable of doing anything (i.e., standing up).
Number three: support bands. And there’s plenty on the menu. Guildford rockers The Royal Cartel get the party started in the right vein. They’re a meeting between 90s grunge and American hard rock; think Pearl Jam and Nirvana having a head-to-head with Nickelback and Theory of a Deadman, with backup from Seether and Alter Bridge. The singer’s got an impressive scream on him as well, but I can’t help it: he’s a dead ringer in the face for Lars Ulrich. Rockin’ goodness.
Norwich screamo-hard rockers Burn the Headlines are a strange one. Actually, after checking them out on Facebook, they’re not as bad as I thought. Not terrible musicians at all; just not my cup of tea, and bewildered and snobbish looks exchanged between carnivorous heavies in Jack Daniel’s and Motorhead garb suggest I’m not alone. They’re Lostprophets, The Used and Pendulum’s Rob Swire having an orgy; there’s a heavier sensibility underpinning the trilbies and tie-scarves. But they’re vibrant and full of energy, if a little misplaced tonight.
It’s a relief, then, when Shallow Waters restore the natural order. Pulling riffs from the bag like rabbits from hats, they’re Olympian in presence and sound. Already pinned by Decibel Hell as the hypothetical outcome “if Lynyrd Skynyrd were football hooligans”, they’re fierce, full of swagger and fucking good. If you like your DOWN, Pantera, and Crowbar, you’ll love these guys. A perfect warm-up for Godsized, and fresh blood for the Southern love indeed.
For all they claim not to care about image, Godsized don’t scrub up too badly. It’s one of their distinctive features, along with pummelling grooves and epic choruses. The thing about them, though, is they seem to realise cashing in on erotic capital only has so long a shelf life without the sustenance of skill. And no-one could possibly accuse them of lacking that. Battering through foot-stompers ‘The Last Goodbye’, ‘Fight and Survive’ and ‘Head Heavy’, they’re taking no prisoners this eve.
Not for the squeamish, light-hearted or pretty-pretty: this is full-out grit and real bollocks. Talented, determined, and ruthlessly brutal in sound, Godsized will take the metal world, ravage its cherry and shake it to within an inch of its life in the imminent future. You, The 100 Club and I have been warned.