On arrival at the Hunter Club for the Washing Machine’s first autumn event, we were greeted by the incredibly hard-working and dedicated Event Promoter, Seymour Quigley, who took the time to run through the evening’s line up with us, providing background information about each band and what to expect from the night. As my first visit to the Hunters Club I was impressed with the relaxed venue, comprising of an intimate main hall a spacious main bar and a comfortable chill out room, all linked with an outdoor patio area. The first band to perform, You! Mr Bighouse, comprised of three school friends, Felix (signer & bass), Hugo (lead guitar) and Ben (drums) who were taking to a live stage for their first time. The boys were having a busy week, as well as playing their first live gig they had just finished recording their first EP and 2 of the band were about to leave Bury to start at Uni. With so much going on in their lives it was impressive that they managed to deliver a great rock based alternative set, heavily influenced by “desert rock”, taking a mix of styles from rock, punk, blues and grunge. Although the set clearly showcased their musical abilities, their lack of experience in live performance was evident and duly noted by the Felix who admitted mid-set “we haven’t prepared much for onstage entertainment so silence and large amounts of awkwardness will have to suffice”. We hope the guys find more opportunities to perform live and add more crowd engagement skills to an already promising repertoire.
The second act, Jack Rundell, was a completely different experience and we were impressed by the speed and ease that the transition was made. Jack is a predominately country singer who names his influences as Hank Williams and The Carter family, particularly enjoying the juxtaposition of upbeat tunes and slightly depressing and macabre lyrics that country allows. Having said that, we did find his lyrics to be uplifting – with a sense of overcoming rather than wallowing in one’s limitations. Jack is obviously a seasoned and experienced performer who I could have watched all night! Totally at home on stage and thoroughly engaging, standing between his cardboard cacti and seamlessly rolling through a mix of original songs, interjected with random, offbeat anecdotes which gave a small insight into his creative process and rather cooky perspective on life. His set reminded me of the Lemonheads and Magic Numbers with a little Chuck Berry thrown in. Totally entertaining and well worth looking out for!
By the time the third act, Salvador, hit the stage the venue had filled considerably and the crowd was an eclectic mix of ages, styles and pirates (it seems Bury clubbers take the National Talk Like Pirate Day!? very seriously). Salvador are another young band and although the oldest members are just 16 years old, their stage presence and confidence shone out, complimenting their performance and making them easy and enjoyable to watch. Their style of Indie Rock reminded me of a fusion between Lifehouse, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The Kooks. They have just finished recording their first EP which should be available to stream early 2019 and I recommend looking out for them as I have a feeling these boys will make a great impact on the scene.
The fourth act, Merv Arundel, was an unusual combination of men who delivered an highly accomplished instrumental set that had the feel of space rock and hip hop being married with Pink Floyd and Hawkwind. The professionally executed set made it obvious how good the band’s personal chemistry is and their enjoyment of playing together shone out as they let each song build naturally in tempo and energy (thanks to some incredible drum playing!). The tracks weaved their way around a mix of samples and sounds which gave them depth and drama. Describing their style as ‘Soundtrack music’, the band seemed coherent in their artistic direction and comfortable with layering their unique sound using a wide range of influences.
As the time of the headline act, Thy Last Drop, approached the crowd filled with their loyal followers who, like the band itself, had a theatrical style that was wild west vs. folk heroes. As the band took to the stage the crowd immediately started to jump and sing and the whole atmosphere took on the ‘last act of a festival’ feeling. Their music was well received and the crowd pleasing tunes were a big hit. The set reminded me of the gypsy and punk inspired music of Gogol Bourdello and the band had a similar stage presence, happily feeding off the energy of the crowd and graciously accepting a stage interloper as one of their most die-hard fans decided to join the band’s performance. These guys are obviously a big name on the local Bury scene and were a great way to end a varied and interesting evening.