First things first, don’t let the name put you off, this is not a death metal (or any other kind of metal) band. Think bluesy rock, think White Stripes, think Slade, think Led Zeppelin if the songs were more melodic? … ohh I’m going to hell for that comment!
I’ve seen them a few times now, from their first album tour where me and another 60 odd souls realised that ‘hey, these guys are good’ to an audience of several hundred a few years later. I am still waiting on their “big breakthrough” but, like Eagles of Death Metal (also NOT a metal band), I’m quite happy that they remain reasonably under the radar; although to be fair Band of Skulls have supported Muse so I’m still not sure why mentioning their name to people I know enjoy rock music still illicits blank stares.
This time around saw them performing at The Bungalow in Paisley – one of four smaller gigs they are doing to support Independent Venue Week – and I joined maybe 100 other souls at this sold out gig. Not a venue I’d been in before, but I’d say it would be at capacity at about 150 so it was a bit odd to see so much room for a sold out gig, maybe Monday night syndrome?
I feel sorry for those who had tickets and didn’t show up because they missed a belter of a gig. It was pretty much a showcase for all of their best known tracks, a few they admitted they hadn’t played all that often, and a chance to bed in a new drummer (which is why these smaller gigs probably appealed ahead of a new album and bigger tour next year no doubt).
There is something wonderful about a venue so small that you are feet away from the band, and their ‘stage’ is raised all of 10 inches off the ground. Even standing at the back I could see the band members smiling, laughing, chatting to the audience away from the mics. The type of gig where you feel as involved as the band and the energy flows back and forth.
Band of Skulls are my type of rock band. Heavy at times, but with good tunes and a sense that they don’t take themselves all that seriously, after all it’s only rock and roll (and I like it). There are no 5 minute guitar wank solos either, just tune after pounding tune, and then a sudden calm for a quieter song that hushes the entire venue. Captivating.
Worth a mention were the support act, Vanilla Sky Mistress. A little too snare drum heavy for my liking, it was only towards the end of their set that I realised they had more than two drums on stage… that said with a lead singer who knows how to use her voice (and what a voice!) they could be a name to look out for or, you know, change?
Not a bad way to spend a Monday evening, and a great reminder of the power of connection that you get in a small venue.