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Thursday 20 June 2019

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

Duel, Cybernetic Witch Cult, White Parker, The Old England, Bristol

Monday nights are invariably a challenge for gigs and coming off the back of the blistering Clutch gig in Cardiff a trip across the bridge to the Old England may not have been the most appealing option. However, the Ed and I are made of stern stuff and we duly crossed the Severn and headed to the small pub/venue tucked in the heart of Bristol for a night of stoner rock. To be fair to the people of Bristol, a turnout of over 20 was sufficient to fill the main room and ensure all three bands received a decent response.

White Parker (6) promised a mix of Thin Lizzy and Motörhead according to their social media. Well, the Motörhead was certainly in evidence as they crashed through a six song set to warm the venue right up. The three piece consisting of Ben, Kit and Andy are local and well known to some of the crowd. Their aggressive punk tinged rock n’ roll certainly left no place for the faint hearted and they played with a power and passion which was impressive. Given the low key nature of the gig they weren’t above the odd slip up but with endearing between song banter and enough grit in their music, they earned at least two new fans.

With the running times slipping into the chaosphere, it was close to 9.30 before Cornwall psychedelic doom merchants Cybernetic Witch Cult (8) finally got their shit together and ambled onto the stage. Once they were there though, the cosmic funk and time travel took hold and for the next 40 minutes the room was transported to an alternative galaxy. There is something about a band that can transport you into another dimension and Cybernetic Witch Cult’s extended forays did just that. Alex, Doug and Lewis are as ferocious a three-piece as you could wish to find, and with some additional effects the band took the audience into the sonic stratosphere. With songs fuelled by science fiction and topics including Sand-Worms, dinosaurs and existential dread, the room was awash with swaying punters all enjoying the trip. Much heavy riffage and thundering bass as well, with Alex’s humour between songs well appreciated.
Texan’s Duel (7) have been on our radar since their debut album Fear Of The Dead in 2016. Their latest album Valley Of The Shadows is an excellent album, full of snarling riffs and thick stoner overtures. Live, they are a wall of noise. Keeping things heavy and simple, the band blasted through a selection of tracks from their releases with limited interaction. Heads down, no nonsense, this was just a stoner doomed bludgeon to the head and it felt good. Furry frontman Tom Frank is a blur of action, his high line guitar style proving an interesting alternative to the lower traditional positioning of fellow guitarist Jeff Henson who threw out the solos like they were smarties. Meanwhile drummer Justin Collins hammered seven shades out of the kit. Whilst we were unable to stay until the end due to early starts and late finishes, Duel proved to be sufficiently entertaining to warrant the trip.

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