Septic and the Tanks' debut album launch show

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Septic and the Tanks' debut album launch show


Reviewing a band's live performance when you saw them only a fortnight earlier presents its problems of finding what new to say, but given the special nature of the event, the launch gig for Septic and the Tanks' debut album, it would have not been possible to do otherwise: so I'll do my best.

First of all, credit to Joe Colombi whose Sink or Swim Promotions put on the night & Just Dropped In Records for hosting it. The venue was packed to capacity but it wasn't just the numbers which attracted my attention but the sense of community & love shown to the bands. A delightful environment to be within and one which reflects so highly on the values of the promoter, artists & their audiences. This is how it should be at all gigs.

I knew very little about first support band Hedcheese except that Septic and the Tanks really rate them and I believe that they are based in Leamington. As they don't appear to have released any music yet, I've neither been able to review them or even get far beyond Septic and the Tanks describing them as "post punk": which turned out to be wholly accurate now that I've heard them.

Supple at times, angular at others and with a deep vein of funk into which they tapped regularly, one could hear echoes of Talking Heads, Gang of Four or Wire in some songs and the drumming had that virtue of combining the tight with the unexpected (in fact it was a grand night for connoisseurs of punk drumming with three superb & totally different players). Like the other two bands, the wit & humour was important but should not distract from the playing skills which provide the platform. I look forwards to reviewing a Hedcheese release: and if they've not planned one, then I urge them to consider it.

We've reviewed Stegosaurus Sex Party before in terms of releases (and their "Snazzy Mollusc" was featured on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Ten') but this is our first live one. It was worth waiting for: they are a most exciting phenomenon, a band who hurl themselves totally into what they do. Credit to Septic and the Tanks and Joe for offering them the slot as they seem to find offers locally a bit sparse: given the surge in great, idiosyncratic original music currently, I'm surprised at that & hopefully more gigs in the area will happen.

You really do get to experience songs differently live & pick up on new aspects: for example the interplay between the three musicians in terms of vocals is pretty impossible to appreciate just listening to the tracks: you have to see them live: and it's as tight as their playing. One's attention bounces from player to player like trying to follow a triangular tennis match.

They offer good value for money too: I can't state authoritatively whether they played their entire repertoire (and in a support sized slot to boot) but they must have come very close. Sex Party songs last as long as they need to in order to say what the band have to tell us: and not a moment longer. "Wanking to Natural Disasters", one of the set highlights, lays into passive consumers of other people's misery deriving vicarious kicks in a minute and three quarters and that's all they needed.

Headliners Septic and the Tanks go from triumph to triumph. In the hours before the gig, they had carried out an interview for a US based podcast (Tankmania is going international) and when the audience arrived, not only were they greeted with their first sight of the hard copies of the album, but a merch table of a whole range of associated artefacts as beautifully designed as the parent record. (Check out their website for details).

In comparison with my previous gig of theirs, by promotion from a festival slot to their own show enabled the inclusion of songs they had had to omit before: a highlight for me being the delightfully surreal (or "ridiculous" the band say) "Sky Snakes" which granted Robin the opportunity to express their inner shaman.

As readers of my (now many) articles on this uplifting band (I do hope their example can encourage others to express themselves as freely and not have any fear of being able to do so due to relative lack of experience) have shown, their ambitions have moved steadily forward with each step of the road. I think proving to themselves that they could do it was the start and then playing others and latterly recording their songs for posterity. Continuing further never seemed something they originally dared express, but as the success indicators grow  both in terms of the feedback and audience size and spread increases, talking to various members of the band, exciting possibilities are under consideration (this is not a band to embrace complacency: the road lies ever before them) including new recordings but also other things which it's probably a little too early yet to share: please do watch this space.

Above all I saw a band enjoying themselves playing together and as one with everyone there: what more could you ask for as a musician aside from cold commercial considerations? I rejoice for them in the journey they have ben on & remain on.

This may be a band now selling out quantitively but never ethically: the word is spreading fast and if you haven't experienced them yet then don't let chances pass you by.

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