Detroit Social Club + Sound of Guns @ The Rainbow, 8th October 2010


Notwithstanding, Birmingham being a vibrant, cosmopolitan inclusive city; it was a timely good-riddance to the Tory Conference’s, ‘Here’s the cuts, first your throats, then your nuts,’ mantra, and instead, a Rainbow regenerating hello to our friends from the North who brought a scything swathe of blisteringly damn good tunes and performance from the heart to boot.

Liverpool’s Sound of Guns arrive on stage to fractured samples of what might have been some deranged USA short-wave radio protelising evangelist for all we knew. The Kalashinicov gun/light strobe intro segued into a delicious, Roxy reminiscent Virginia Plane noise-fest with ‘Bullets’. Singer, Andy Metcalfe, is an absolute dish: firm of jaw, beckoning of eye with Delilah temptingly strewn bedraggled dark locks. He takes pains to engage with the punters and stage with physical theatricks such as balancing with a ‘save me’ Jim Morrison pose (yes, I did see him live, nerr) sacrificially atop the monitors. This is taken to an extreme degree in the set closer ‘Mag Seas’, more of which, Health & Safety permitting, later.


Here comes Architects. Anthemic, dynamic, these guitar/gun-slingers and anti-hero singer are the hot-wired messiahs answering the begging need for revolutionary terror-forming 21st century rock dynamics and tribal vibrations. Whilst Lee Glynn/Nathan Crowley (what a gift, a hursuit rock monster called Crowley) use guitars like starting handles to crank up a pair of testosterone charged humping JCBs, bassist John Coley/drummer Si Finley take us away in to rhythm section Valhalla: yes, the Devil wears earmuffs.

Perhaps it was song ‘106’ that had Metcalfe reminding us of that cathedral shimmering gravity of Rufus Wainwright and the majesty of Flaming Lips’, Wayne Coyne just before he womb-walks inside his inflated polythene testicle. There was an African ambience to ‘106’; the heat, the enigma of the mirage plains, mystical beast and paradoxically perhaps, the sound of gnus? This band are confident enough to wear heart-felt celebratory influences on their sweaty sleeves with informed but not derivative nuances of the likes of New York Dolls et al. Now then, tour closer, ‘Magnesium Seas’ literally kick-drum intros with homage to that parent frightener ‘My Sherona’. Amidst sculpted chords and decadent abandoned guitars Metcalfe, possessed by the red mist, first mounts the PA stacks and then monkeys up to the girder rafters chortling away like a nightingale with Taser up its arse. The subtext being: follow that, Detroit Social Club, you Geordie snowdrops!


Well don’t they just. Lead singer, David Burn, (and stop sniggering you at the back, we’ll be having no tortured Talking Heads puns during this review. You’re on the road to nowhere with that idea) has been quoted as being less the song writer than ‘(the) vibe creator.’ Usually, one needs recourse to the obligatory muso sick-back on hearing that but just be patient. Newcastle’s DSC have been creating a considerable frisson recently with their May 2010 12”/CD release ‘Existence’ from which the principal part of this incandescent set was taken. The set list jumped about a bit so song references are more generic then specific. The intro theme might well have been from The Doors, ‘Soft Parade’ but we’re soon focused on Mr. Burn, a formidably big bear of a man as ‘Rivers & Rainbows’ dream weaves within sitar psychedelic spells and charms meander alongside manta chants and swirly whirls.

Meanwhile, Chris Mc Courtie, brain-scoops our collective psyche with his byzantine bass riffs. Psychedelia slapped in the fizzog with a trowel? Bring it on by the hod load. ‘Kiss The Sun’ with its vox-pop adore us chorus segued with Dale Knight/Johnny Bond’s lobotomizing ‘Schizoid Man’ echoed guitar attack. ‘Mind At War’ with it slower tempo had us more in the mood to spliff-up with the Happy Mondays in a bath of treacle. Then comes the harmonica break, yes, mouth-harps are just So 2010. Sepulchral guitars (think I’m joking? Check the DSC webpage) coalesce with haunting reminders of ‘Every Dream Home A Heartache’ and the afterglow synth menace of ELP’s ‘Oh What A Lucky Man He Was.’ Maybe. So much to say, but time presses. ‘Sunshine’ was a punter-jumper, barbed-wire testicle crusher reminiscent of BRMC’s ‘What Ever Happened To Rock n’ Roll. ‘Light of Life’ started off a bit ballady and there was a eerie sense that sometime soon a soppy mooncalf would sway a fag-lighter aloft but reassuringly it all kicked-off mayhem again.


Set closer was appropriately ‘Northern Man’. With unashamedly anthemic stadium grandeur and begging for bagpipes (Northumbrian of course, and where’s Billy The Pig in this hour of need?) our hearts were lifted and souls windswept along by dirge hoards of moog-mood keyboards. You might have picked up an orchestral version used for Sky football coverage.

A quick nod to openers This/Broacast whose U2ish/Cult and Stone Roses bass charged, hard-grafting, sincerity deserves to find its own identity. Finally, for the unsung heroes: the change-over crews made the sets run silkenly.

Set list SOG:
Bullets, EOY, Coll, 106, Alc, Architects, Mag Seas.

Rivers & Rainbows, Kiss the Sun, Mind at War, Silver, Thousand Kings, Prophesy, Chemistry, Universe, Black & White, Everlasting, Forever, Sunshine People, Lights of Life, Northern Man.

Review – John Kennedy
Photos – Ian Dunn

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