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Wednesday 26 September 2018

A View From The Back Of The Room: Vodun (Live Review By Paul H)

Vodun, Made Of Teeth, Kong Lives, Le Pub, Newport

The community run space known as Le Pub is a cracking venue. A large bar area, with the pub serving a range of different beers, stacks of alternatives for the non-drinker and even the option for tea and coffee, a vegan and vegetarian menu that is all delivered in biodegradable packaging, decent background music and an alternative feel, it’s a place where all can feel comfortable in their own skin. All prejudices left at the door thank you very much. Swing first right through the front door and you enter the live venue, which is a decent size which would accommodate 150 people at a push but comfortably hold up to about 100. Dog-leg to the left and you see the stage, low and small but certainly on a par with that of Fuel Rock Bar in Cardiff.

A fabulous evening’s entertainment was marred only by the fact that so few people were present. I counted 25 punters at the end of Vodun’s set, which is a travesty for a band who are just astonishing live. It’s a huge round of applause for Jamie of Pity My Brain Productions for having the guts to stick this event on; I only wish you had been rewarded with a better turnout.

For those who did venture out, this was glorious. First up was the stoner/doom and post metal four-piece Kong Lives (8) whose thunderous set got the evening off to a crushingly heavy start. The Newport band, who’ve been together since 2016 crashed through a storming 30-minute set of tracks from their first release, Kong Saves. Dai, Dibble, Luke and Kane certainly hit the right spot with their intense stoner drive proving captivating viewing. Kong Saves is available on Bandcamp and tracks such as the paint stripping Dimitri and the sludgy groove of McMaggot are well worth checking out.

Next up was the punk rock driven MC5 rawness of Made Of Teeth (7), a three-piece who certainly weren’t going to let the paltry audience affect their performance. Formed by former Taint member Chris West and Steve Jones (The Witches Drum, Oblong), who also perform in Spider Kitten, and joined by bassist Tom Cole (also of local band Lacertilla), Made Of Teeth produced an infernal racket which was to everyone’s liking, with plenty of heads nodding as the band blasted their way through tracks from their eponymous debut release. With West and Cole sharing vocal duties there was plenty of action to watch and with West earning bonus points for an excellent Celtic Frost shirt, Made of Teeth are another local band well worth a listen.

Of course, the main reason we were at Le Pub was to witness the sheer live experience of Vodun (9), the London based three-piece who’s recently released second album Ascend was being promoted. The band, Ogoun, The Marassa and Oya, were scintillating when they supported Church Of The Cosmic Skull in Bristol in 2016 and once again they proved to be absolutely astonishing. With Oya channelling the spirit with her powerful vocals, percussion and sheer presence, Ogun battling with her kit as if in combat with the devil himself and The Marassa laying down unspeakable riffage, Vodun delivered a 50-minute set crammed full of tunes from the new release and Possession, their debut album.

There is something deeply spiritual about this band and their performance, and the minutes flew by as the crowd was enchanted by their swirling, mysterious music. By the end of the set the audience, who had participated in some enthusiastic percussion were as exhausted as the band. Taking time to talk to all as we left the venue, Vodun and their two supports deserve to have a much bigger audience next time they hit South Wales.

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