Words & Images By Shirin Hodgson-Watt
Exactly one short year to the day after playing their first ever (and admittedly pretty excellent) gig in support of local heavyweights King Creature at St Austell Brewery, Godstone returned, only this time it was their stark and striking banners dominating the stage, spearheading an impressively tempting triple-header of a line up to herald the birth of their rather immense debut EP, ‘Monument of One.’
With Sam Howard at their helm, new prospects Little Clone Humans opened the night with their first official live show. Never one to simply retread old ground, this is a decidedly more metallic beast than I’d have anticipated, for they’re a distinct step away from the folksier, more roots material of Sam’s that I’m familiar with, and this outing proved that they’ve already progressed in leaps from their ‘practice’ gig in Charlestown a little while back. With sharp blasts of grunge-toned metal, coloured with subtle bluesy touches, Little Clone Humans displayed a new found presence that should allow them to fully cut loose live, and instincts tell me that watching them unfurl will be a satisfying and intriguing journey into new and untested territory.
Perhaps the unexpected filling in the full metal sandwich, Little Clone Humans were followed by the frankly local-legendary The Sum Of. A month or so after their debut show last year, Godstone once again took to the Brewery stage to kick off the night for a rare-as-the-proverbial appearance by The Sum Of, and this time around it was the latter returning the favour. As wilfully indefinable and difficult to categorise as ever, with dreamy echoes of Jane’s Addiction wrapped in an undulating, comforting blanket of hypnotic soulful warmth, The Sum Of remain perversely laid back and ego-free, seemingly barely aware that anyone else was sharing the room with them for much of the time, so lost were they in the spells of their own casting. There’s a needling sense that if they wished it, The Sum Of could become one of the biggest Cornish exports since the pasty, but it’s apparent also that they’re content to be dancing to their own tune only, making them all the more frustrating and enticing by the same token. But then again, sometimes it’s good to keep the most exciting secrets to yourself.
There had been a slow building buzz about this night, amplified by it being a tickets-on-the-door-only affair, but I’ll admit to having had a cautious nagging doubt that Godstone might have been guilty of a touch of over-confidence; the Brewery is, after all, a not-insubstantial venue, and could easily feel painfully cavernous if not well filled, and while I’d had the good fortune to hear the EP ahead of time, this being the launch event I was in an obvious minority.
Did I expect to see a taut, competent band, neatly accomplished and tightly rehearsed? Yes, absolutely. Did I expect to witness the rare, white hot spark unique to potential real contenders? Not on your nelly. At what point did Godstone evolve into genuine possible bona fide rock stars? In that blink-and-you’d-miss-it year, Godstone have broken free of all of the chains of self-doubt and uncertainty that appeared to be tethering them to the limitations of a more polite and restrained persona previously, and from the outset erupted in a fury of laser-focused mayhem, with James having transformed into a frontman fully capable of controlling a capacity crowd that frequently teetered on the brink of chaos (I don’t think I’ve seen a proper mosh pit in 20 years, which is remarkable in itself, but I’m not ashamed to admit I’d cheerfully sell my mythical first born for a photo pit). Crucially, the songs hold up live, the playing is faultless, and the energy fair crackles enough to lead to mass outbreaks of goose pimples. Godstone’s elation at their triumph was touching and utterly deserved, and for me, I love nothing more than when my expectations are blown to smithereens.