Bad Guys at The Moth ClubSupport: Henge| Luminous Bodies | Gum Takes Tooth
February 4, 2017 at The Moth Club
Promoter: Baba Yaga's Hut
The night, was to be a momentous yet, bittersweet occasion, Bad Guys, were finally getting their just desserts; kicking the bucket, biting the bullet, going the way of old grunky. Amplifying this monumental sense of loss, Casual Nun pulled out due to illness.
Henge kicked things off with a comedic and bizarre bit of psychedelic tribalism; each one of them looking like they’d just crawled out of the desert after several days of hiking. I couldn’t understand anything the vocalist was singing and whether or not it was English, I decided it was some weird druidic language playing into the band’s name and was pretty entranced by them as a result of this distanciation at play. The highlight of the band’s set was arguably the moment their singer stated that he’d “never played guitar before” just prior to picking up a knocked-together homage to the Bad Guy’s signature double-guitars and playing an incredibly tight track almost as though he had been joking all along.
Luminous Bodies were seriously impressive, I’d heard the rumours but they exceeded their stellar reputation in person. The band play with a savagery stuck out of time like a set of neanderthals crushing it with each seismic blow. There’s two drummers, two guitarists, a bassist and a singer and everything about them oozes some weird tar-like power that seems to sucks in all nearby humans. I note the band roles mostly due to the fact that, any band with two drummers is gonna have my attention and that was definitely the case at The Moth Club; it’s hard not get transfixed by two people simultaneously brutalising rhythms out of inanimate objects like they’re beating some captivating confession from an undead witness. The ferocity of Luminous Bodies performance was absolutely mesmerising but unfortunately, it eventually led to the rhythm guitar strings tapping out part way through the gig and despite a valiant effort to wield Henge’s double-guitar, it offered no reprieve. The band toughed it out to the end and magnificently recovered from the setback closing their performance with no sign of damage. Offering tribute and salutations to Bad Guys, Luminous Bodies finished off their gig with the added knowledge that this gig was also a celebration of their drummer, Zoo’s last gig with the band for the foreseeable future.
After a lot of guitar music, the night swirled into another direction with Gum Takes Tooth bringing their k-hole classics to The Moth Club for a delightfully sketchy respite. The subject that seemed to keep reoccurring around GTT was how many drugs or what drugs are conducive to the band’s music. They’re a band that I like to call Ubergurn and it’s for two reasons, one, I see it as a literal translation of the band name and two, their music is (as Dan Salter says) “filthy”. Things took a seedy turn as soon as the band took to the stage. We were in a room with tantalising gold ceilings listening to dirty music and for a moment it felt like a red light district that existed centralised and scaled down beneath a drug lab.
Last time, I saw Gum Takes Tooth, I was on another planet at ATG 2015, this time I felt like I was on their planet and it was fucking weird and trippy…and dingy as fuck. The unexpected hilight of the band’s set was a cover of ‘Crime’, a song that was likely most of the audience’s first introduction to Bad Guys and would be the first song the band performed as they took to the stage for a most deserved curtain call. I dunno if they’ve ever covered that before but I hope they continue to so, new audiences can the learn story of how one child used crime and became a criminal in the process.
After the smog of Gum Takes Tooth cleared, I surveyed the absurdly populous crowd, there was us; the Echoes and Dust Bad Guys sub-committee (featuring special guests, audio wizard Matias Duarte and drum overlord, Oz Lozano), our youngest member a foetus hearing live music for the first time, with members of bands like Evil Blizzard and Teeth of The Sea and promoters like Anthony of Baba Yaga and Rich aka Cosmic Collins; the audience a dense, united demographic of people who somehow gravitated from all sorts of places and experiences and perspectives into this hard to describe or ever pinpoint scene of underground weirdos with a passion for a particular dark corner of music that is bound together seemingly by an approach to music rather than a specific property of the music. A scene of artists pioneering in their own way, walking their own path and exploring unique approaches and a scene of glutenous music fiends gorging themselves on everything that could be palatable to the ears. Never settling for less than that first time a band really connected with you on a personal level, always seeking the hit of inspiration and self-affirmation of a perfect gig like some ungraspable orgasm from the realm of the forms.
Everyone in the room a certifiable junkie for satisfying music. In this seedy underbelly of underground music, Bad Guys were one the smackiest smacks of a band anyone ever heard. The first time I heard Bad Guynaecology, it felt like I had mainlined music straight into my ass and with that said, this final gig was to be one of emotion, release and satisfaction.
I have to give kudos to Remi Lamarcq for trekking down from the end of his shift to join us just in time for the start of the band’s set, that was good shit. I wouldn’t wanna be the person who missed this gig for work, fuck. It wasn’t just a room full of people; it was a room crammed with rabid Bad Guys fanatics from a tight-knit scene of weirdos and whack-jobs.
To the heroic backdrop of a glorious Bad Guys flag, the four baddest guys in London with the four baddest guitars stormed the stage. Evidently, Bad Guys. The set sprawled across the band’s catalogue and though the highlights for me were ‘Crime’, ‘Prostitutes’ and ‘Cordyceps’ because I’m a sucker for the catchier side of the band, the gig was truly amazing for its colossal, even savage, instrumentation.
The impetus, emotion and intimacy of the performance was articulated expertly through the feverish instrumental brutality and the disorder in the crowd, it feels almost private, this shared moment that no one else will ever be able to experience, it’s funny, ‘Akranoplan’ was in many ways the strongest performance of the show besides the monstrous ‘No Tomorrow’ climax and yet, it was the band’s last show; no one outside of that room should ever know what that was like live and it’s a bittersweet responsibility I feel to tell you, that the new stuff was awesome live, I feel honoured to be part of the audience having that experience but at the same time, I wish other people could’ve experienced it, I wish this wasn’t their last show but, fuck me, what a show! The last fifteen minutes was all out chaos, bodies carried all across the room, the crowd seizing the stage as the band played on, people literally dangling from the rafters; I stood on tables and chairs to take it all in but as far as I could see, it was a room full of people in the maelstrom of reality versus fantasy, enjoying an escape together before going back home to responsibility and politics and stress…and whatever other kind of bullshit. But, above all else it was fucking badass, every creature in the building had their minds blown be it band, fan or miscellaneous, every person there added to the marvellous experience of watching Bad Guys basque in the limelight one final time at The Moth Club.
Thus we say, goodbye to Bad Guys,
Fuck you snakes.