Maguire’s Pizza Bar, Liverpool – 03/08/2017 by Jamie McGregor
A few weeks back I went to review an experimental, noise, Grindcore band called Full Of Hell playing in Manchester. My expectations were exceeded not only by the headliners, but the support acts too. With little effort in front of the laptop I discovered one of the support acts were playing locally a few weeks later.
Hailing from Leeds, Famine is a 3-piece band playing an incredibly energetic, exciting brand of punkish, Grindcore fury. Consisting of a vocalist, guitarist and drummer, I knew second time around, that this was in fact enough band members to produce an unbelievably massive sound, unlike the first time I saw them set up, asking myself, where is the bassist? Surely that’s not right? They killed it nonetheless and I was excited to see them again with familiar ears.
The venue was Maguire’s Pizza Bar. Have to say, what a place, the pizza looked great and the sound in that little back room was incredible.
First band to kick things off was Ona Snop, whose Facebook description offers nothing to inform you about what they sound like.
I’d been listening to The Locust earlier that day. An absolutely mental band with flashes of so many genres, songs that shift left, right, up, down, inside out and then back again. Ona Snop certainly have that very schizophrenic nature to their sound, that meant the night began in engaging fashion. Very much rooted in ultra grind but with some very enjoyable shifts in dynamics and tempos. Very entertaining and generally, pretty crazy.
If you ever need to warm up, or undergo mental preparation for a band before they begin, I can tell you now that one of said bands is Liverpool’s own, Horsebastard. Boasting possibly the greatest band name I’ve heard this year, they have a sound that weirdly suits the name too. My favourite quotes of the night were from this band. Simply “Thanks. We’re Horsebastard” after every other song didn’t stop amusing me. Anyway, moving onto the music.
The musicianship from this band is quite impressive. I hawkeyed the singer as he warmed his vocals with an array of shrieks, grunts and growls off mic and it was scary. Without much warning they launched into their set opener that was a little like the musical, audio equivalent of being in a wind tunnel. This is Grindcore at its fastest, most furious and relentless. It really does have to be witnessed live to be fully appreciated. With song lengths in this genre being so short (Napalm Death have the Guinness World record for shortest song with “You Suffer” coming in at 1.316 seconds), I enjoyed Horsebastard’s barrage of 2 or 3 songs, a quick ‘thank you, we’re Horsebastard’ then on to the next few and repeat. As their set drew to a close the singer stated, “Not long now, about 8 songs, so, 3 or 4 minutes” (!)
Next up was the band that brought me to this back room of pizza parlour, for that moment, the now ironically named Famine. After removing his trousers, declaring his shorts were left in the van, the singer paced in anticipation for the explosion that followed, in his boxers. I gritted my teeth as they sent their punishing opener across the room and through the audience. Singer leapt and grunted through the opening tracks. The guitarist, full of character, grimaced, as every twisted riff was unleashed with a mightily heavy tone and contributed some great vocal exchanges with the singer. The drummer was scary once again, as he pummelled and bashed the drums with frightening accuracy.
The whole set felt more aggressive this time but perfectly channelled through their instruments with precision and power. In spite of the ferocious delivery there is a fun element to this band that I commented on in the last review. They have the ability to draw you in as the wave of energy passes between band and audience and back again. The songs deliver their energy via sheer speed and fury in the vain of a multitude of Grindcore acts but have some fantastic mid paced, Death ‘n Roll grooves like mid era Entombed that makes it difficult to stand still at any one time. They’re a serious band that has the chops to go far in my opinion. Not too serious however, at least lyrically anyway which I find refreshing. With song titles like “Crap Mosher”; and “From a Basement to “Oh Shit!”-eration” (A nod to Napalm Death’s “From Enslavement to Obliteration”) you can tell that there is a good humour along with the excellent music.
Famine continues their tour with Six Brew Bantha from Canada, who I sadly had to miss. If they’re playing near you, I suggest you go.