Words by Sam Bradbury | Photography by David J Blanks
You know the gig is going to be special when you’re greeted on the door by a uniformed FBI agent. The man is AJ Salisbury who has helped turn Fives into a vibrant venue and a pillar of Falmouth’s broad music scene. Some might think that the small Falmouth bar, hidden beneath 5 Degrees West, would be an unlikely location for an X-Files themed Hardcore band’s EP release. However, even on a rainy February evening, the turn out is fantastic and a testament to the growing scene in Falmouth and the popularity of the 3 bands playing: F.Emasculata, Monolithian and Bobby Funk. As the sporadic crunch of guitars and single snare snaps mark the sound of a band ready to perform, the crowd of punk stalwarts and live music addicts converge.
First on the bill is rowdy punk band, Bobby Funk. Far from being a warm up act they quickly whip the crowd into a jerking, head nodding, bouncing mania that will last all night. Cranking out short, sharp, shout along punk hits such as ‘Middle Class Terror’ and ‘Johnny Wanker’, they deliver an impressive set of energetic and fun songs with gusto. Plucky bass lines, catchy guitar licks and machine gun punk drumming aplenty. Other belters from last years album ‘Avacado Stains’ such as ‘Roid Rage Ruckus’ and ‘Stathams of the Crass’ leave the crowd riled and wanting more with front man Ollie Merrick delivering a manic performance worthy of legendary punk band The Screamers.
Monolithian are up next and perform an intense set of heavy grooves and dark metal that thunders and completely envelopes the audience. The duo, consisting of Simon Walker and Shannon Green, are totally on form and grind and rumble their way through songs that reference Tolkein and Lovecraft and are a perfect fit for the mood of the gig. The Melvins-esque ‘Nyarlathotep’ in particular proves the bands ability to blend infectious bass lines, snarling vocals and sterling drum beats to great effect. Their brand new track ‘The Irreversible Inevitable’ suggests exciting things for the future of the band and, undeterred by broken strings or fatigue, they set themselves apart as the bulletproof doom moguls of Cornwall.
It takes a brave band to have support acts as great as Bobby Funk and Monolithian, but F. Emasculata are no mear gimmicky sci fi band; far from it. The band explode into their set with new songs from their ‘Take Me Home’ EP given the airing they deserve. Firing out short, thrash riffs, the whole band are tight and exude a confidence and technical skill that is admirable. Nat Gyll-Murray’s vocals cut through the hot air like a chainsaw and when joined by Simon from Monolithian the effect is a spiky cacophony of incredible force. Tracks like ‘What’s in the Jar?’ and ‘The Great Mutato’ sit perfectly alongside older tunes and the crowd are literally thrown around amid the perfect chaos. It’s no great mystery why F. Emasculata are so popular…the truth was in here.
Rick and his sick, horror/sci fi visuals brought a psychedelic, tripped out feel to the night, particularly effective during the sludgier side of Monolithian. Luminous B-Movie monsters bursting on screen for Bobby Funk and classic X-Files scenes during F. Emasculata‘s set enhanced the atmosphere of the night and added to the high spirited performances on stage.
By David J Blanks