If you’re going to bum the past, you may as well do it good. All three bands tonight maintain rock’s continuum instead of branching off madly and That’s Alright. As my mum always says, you can do anything with spunk. Hyener, I guess, do retro, but they play with a great blank intensity and sparseness that’s impressive and sporadically thrilling. Their first song kicks it best: locked down, almost krauty drums and bass, a little keyboard and clean guitar and echo-heavy vocals from a singer with the 10% cock element required to be a good frontman. New enough to not always gel perfectly, Hyener at least possess a spartan directness that fizzes nicely, a terrific rhythm section and two freakishly tall band members. Official thumbs up.
Nerd alert! The between bands CD is the same as the recent Fuwch Goch music quiz Guess The Sample round. The way things go, it looks like Kutosis have specifically asked for Abba’s ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’ as their intro tape. Who can blame them, eh lads? Whether all this helps them pummel their instruments so much is unknown but Kutosis’s first couple of songs have undeniable bellyfire: fairly scorched and ragged scuzz garage with random smears of call and response vocals. It’s an energy that dissipates slowly throughout the set, tunes getting smoother and more conventionally rocking. Between the Jay Reatard dedication and the realisation the bassist has a really fucking good side parting though they had something, and there’s no reason to think it won’t flare again.
One wag mentions the Cavern Club, one suggests ‘Gimme Some Money’ by Spinal Tap. Begone wags! If Thee Vicars win any retro competition going, they also mainline history properly, fired up and banging on the edges of their time capsule rock. Old clips of the Sonics you might have seen crossbreed with early Kinks – less Merseybeat than jokers may claim, more proto garage played with mad eyes and a carrot up its bum. Bowl haircuts unleash ‘waaargh’s rather than Scouse ‘wooo’s. My hunch is Thee Vicars retro zeal is more a monomaniacal obsession for the genre rather than the past in general, in common with Y Niwl’s equally great surf freakery. Zero variation, endless jittery thrills, three guitarists in the crowd. I must be in love (not by the Rutles).