Band Of Skulls @ The Corner
The waterfalls of shiny hair were flowing gorgeously from the get-go on Thursday night, as Band Of Skulls opened with single Sweet Sour to their sold-out audience. This was a particularly hot and fun audience too, except for the chick who couldn’t see over my hair (advice: if you get yourself a ‘good spot’ half an hour before the band is on and stand on that square foot of carpet like a dead robot, chances are people will move around and in front of you, and your spot won’t be so great at show time). Drummer Matt Hayward’s sweeping, killer thrashes stood out straight away and he commanded attention despite his innocuous positioning. Bassist Emma Richardson came into her own during Fires, after slightly disappointing vocals earlier on. She was wonderfully unpretentious in a huge baggy tee with no diva theatrics, and squinted with emotion when she sang. It was gritty and raw without the pitch problems that quality can often produce, and she projected that great feeling of being on a soaring bender but also being somehow completely lucid and able to accurately communicate emotions – a paradox in real life I think, at least when you’re looking from the outside.
Hayward was absolutely all over the weird time signature changes in Bruises, his hats chomping down wholly on every beat. He brought his sticks up high but almost caressed the metal, very close and precise. The track was a total ripper and illuminated the great connection between the three musicians. Even though their songs are typically sparse during verses, thumping choruses belie the number of people on stage.
When guitarist and lead vocalist Russell Marsden came to each solo he had the most benign look on his visage; like a monk in (unwholesome) prayer. Meanwhile Hayward made every pause his own intense little baby, and hit the ride as precisely as a blacksmith (kind of sounded like one too, actually).
In between epic mashes the band weren’t afraid to leave space despite the fierce shouts of the crowd – and the crowd truly were desperate for every damn note. Hayward hovered his stick in the air like a gavel, as if it was deciding your enemy’s fate and at the same time signalling the slamming go-ahead to recommence partying.
Finishing off with Diamonds And Pearls, the guitar chords were cool and patient, and Marsden’s solo shredded the place up. It was too packed up front for much movement but behind the sound desk fans were dancing around like someone threw a hyena into Meerkat Manor. Band of Skulls really delivered on the promises of their recorded material, managing to recreate and extend the feelings of space, slowed time and the heavy sweaty fire which their fans clearly adore.
BY ZOË RADAS
Photo credit: Zo Damage
LOVED: Marsden and Hayward’s hair rippling in time.
HATED: Aforementioned robot woman.