Live Review | Red Fang @ The Bierkeller, Bristol

By Adam Bundy

In a week that saw the closing of the Graveyard, a reference to Graveyard’s unexpected cancelling of current and future tour dates and splitting, I was able to go watch Red Fang!

Coming on a little bit later than billed was Torche, in all fairness the previous band God Damn sounded pretty sick as well so it’s fine. This was the first time I had heard Torche as I had run home from work, changed and got down to the venue in break neck speed and with everything else happening – moving house/jobs growing up, I didn’t really have time to check them out. As the first song played out, I was really happy I showed up to watch them. They are proggy in parts which really added to the overall experience, and they did have that driving bass line, albeit not as heavy as I would have liked from this style. The vocals were consistently reverbed to the 7th circle of hell, it sounded good for a few tracks, but after minutes it was a bit much. Something I feel let them down was the similarity of all their tracks; the reverb, vocal etc, and the lack of bass. When you watch something like this you want to feel like that bass is kicking you in the chest; it’s how I like to think head banging came about, a naturally reaction to being kicked in the chest by some dirt bag who only learnt 4 notes on the bass guitar!

The lack of bass on Torche really made me worried about seeing Red Fang. I didn’t want the first time I saw them to have all their levels off, and have me wondering is this really them? Have I been listening to them all wrong?  Like when I saw Mastodon at Download 2012 they sounded terrible, it almost killed the band for me, but then at the Bristol O2 in 2015 they were Insane, so venue, sound tech and vibe can really change a band for the person.

But all that worry was for nothing as Red Fang were sick! Probably one of the best bands I have seen live. Honestly, the power behind them was insane. Everything they did was exceptional. Their styles range from rock onwards; chances are there is something for everyone, and they nailed every single one. They played after Torche, who are a musically very tight band, so Red Fang had to be good musically. I feel the difference between the two sounds really helped develop the gig as a whole, even if it was to Torche’s detriment. Torche’s Drone/Stoner vibe created a relaxed atmosphere; they weren’t relaxed on stage, but the gig felt that way.

This lead into Red Fang who broke out and really played the sound forward. This was demonstrated when the pit came alive, I assumed a pit wouldn’t happen at the gig, but alas it was there, and going crazy. The energy these guys have is really full on, they pretty much tour non-stop so to see how they give 110% was really appreciated by the crowd. To really get what these guys were about I went to the back by the bar behind the sound tech booth. It had a good view, and gave a complete view of the stage. The rhythm guitar was chugging, the lead was playing the licks perfectly, the vocals were at a good level, and both singers sounded great. All in all a great gig. To try and explain how tight these guys are won’t do them justice, it’s like watching every style of every rock / hard rock played exceptionally well. I thought maybe their gallops, some of the lead work, or maybe the rhythm wouldn’t be as heavy as the CD, but it was all there. For technical ability and style these guys are up there with some of the greats. If you haven’t seen them go see them, I am an idiot for waiting so long!