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Monday, 28 November 2016

A View From The Back Of The Room: Planet Of Zeus

Planet Of Zeus & Welcome Back Delta, Exchange, Bristol

A Saturday night in Bristol can always be hit and miss, mainly due to the traffic situation, however with a pretty smooth ride into the city we managed to arrive 15 minutes before show time ready for a night of gargantuan riffs. Many of those in attendance would have first seen Welcome Back Delta and Planet Of Zeus supporting Clutch and by the numerous Clutch T-Shirts (and one Clutch hat) you can tell that POZ and WBD made an impact. It also gives away the sounds of both bands, this is groove-laden, riff heavy stoner rock with both bands taking the riffs and giving them a good seeing too. There was supposed to be a thrid band Baron greenback on the bill but they apparently pulled out of the show so at 7:30 Welcome Back Delta took to the stage.

What was immediately striking about Welcome Back Delta (7), other than the additional Clutch shirt of frontman Joe Kelly was the extremely natty Xmas jumper worn by guitarist Rob Duncan (In November no less), we found out later this was due to a work enforced jumper day. (Still it's fucking November). WBD are four very affable chaps, they thoroughly enjoy what they do and don't take themselves too seriously, the stage banter was abound from the off as all four of them sparked off each other and we were let in on the joke, special kudos to bassist Phil Davies who did seem to be dying of Man-Flu but continued to bring the low-down grooves for tracks such as Jeremy's Iron and the colossal Thrones.

Playing most of the tracks off their most recent effort, Preacher brought a Clutch-like swagger while Dadgerous ramped up the heavy. Halfway through the set they got slinky as four white boys from the Cotswolds played the blues (their words not mine) and towards the end they filled the set with more riffage and bluesy, heavy rock. WBD were an excellent opener, getting the heads nodding and feet tapping ready for the Greek style stoner rock to come.  

With small change over the Greek four piece took to the stage, possibly the most Hellenic looking band I've seen, they clearly have an attraction to their fellow countrymen as they pulled in a lot of the Greek rockers from around Bristol and Cardiff. As the room filled with both enthusiasm and the use of Greek as a language increased with the band kicking off with the anthemic Loyal To The Pack the title track of their most recent album, which saw them gain a lot of recognition in the UK.

While it wasn't a sold out crowd much like the venues in their native country the response of the crowd for every song was rapturous, the pace rarely dropped as Babis' wild eyed, shouted delivery set them apart from their support, Planet Of Zeus (8) have a gritty, Southern metal swagger with songs about "rock an roll" as Babis put it, but they also have the more melodic, psych sounds of the stoner scene (I've talked about the Greek stoner scene before), think Sabbath jamming with Skynyrd as Danko Jones cuts in and you've got it. 

As Babis (rhythm guitar), J.V (bass) and Skye (drums) lay down the thick riffage, Yog contributes the simmering leads. The hairy, bearded bastards on stage were the mirror image of the majority of the crowd, this is probably why they have a devoted following they seem like an everyman band just plugging in and playing with cuts such as Sky High Heels, Your Love Makes Me Want To Hurt Myself, The Great Dandolos, Little Deceiver just small snippets of full impact set that allowed the riffs to flow over you. 

As the set wound up there was no drop in ferocity or enthusiasm the band had the crowd clapping, shouting and jumping right up until the final chord, then at 9:50 as quickly as they entered the stage they exited leaving the crowd shouting for more. Little gigs like this make doing this worthwhile, just over 2 hours of fat, thick heavy rock with admittedly small but responsive crowd making the band play at 110% "Efcharisto Poli!"  

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