Monday, 1 August 2011

Tera Melos, Tangled Hair & Iveree @ The Cooler, Bristol. 8th June 2011

I've been a pretty strong supporter of Tera Melos for a while, but having said that it feels like quite an overstatement as I have only really listened to 1 of 8 releases, that being the Drugs to the Dear Youth EP which I had on repeat for about two weeks after downloading acquiring it. Listening to 'A spoonful of slurry' and '40 rods to the hogs head' would send me into fits in my chair, my fingers would get tense as if I was being tazed, I couldn't picture how nuts I would go if I got to see them live.

Me and my friend Martin (who was putting me up for the week) got to the venue a little early so after a street beer we came back in to find a young band by the name of Iveree playing surrounded by a shitload of hot girls. It was so confusing; I didn't know hot girls were into math-rock! Fuck yeah!
The band, to be honest, sounded mediocre. I think in time they would improve but at the moment their sound is still a little under-developed. They played mostly indie music, with some pretty cool tapping riffs every so often. There were moments when the harmonies between instruments really shone, however the singing was lacking in presence. His voice was often hard to understand over the instruments and I feel like he sounded too over-emphatic at times. Combining that with a posh English twang turns me off, reminding me too much of the singer from the Kooks. That being said they weren't a terrible band; I think the singer just needs to try a little less.

We went and grabbed another beer afterwards and came back in to find less hot girls and a band called Tangled Hair on the stage. It all started making sense to me... but at the same time it didn't, why would they pay 8 pounds to see the opener and leave? Whatever… I could tell from the start that the band was something special. Their sound was quite indie but with some really tasty interspersed mathy instrumentals, and the drummer was full of random anecdotes and words to fill the museum silence between songs. The singer/drummer had a really unique voice, quite soft but he could hit some really high notes. More about the instrumental sections: fuck they were awesome, it was a perfect relationship between the drums and guitars as they rose and fell in alternating patterns, adding a post-rocky vibe to some songs. Listen to “Campfires” on their bandcamp and you’ll know what I mean. Though I didn’t know any of their songs they were really easy to dance to. I'm quite disappointed we only got to see the last half of their set, but as they're an up-and-coming band I'm sure they'll come up to Leeds at some point. I fuckin hope they do anyway.

One more street beer later we were back in the Cooler for Tera fuckin Melos. My excitement was reaching tipping point by now; the moment of ecstasy was finally going to arrive…
As it turned out they only played one song that I knew (more about that later), delving more into their new album and tracks which included singing; something quite unfamiliar to my knowledge of TM, but it really worked for some songs. One in particular was ‘The Surf Skin’, the vocals and guitar riffs played together nicely and the song kept coming back to me several weeks after the show despite never having heard the song before. I guess in TM’s case they use their voices as instruments more than word-producing holes, as I didn’t grasp a single word the entire set.
A lot of their songs were of really epic proportions, almost too epic for the sound system as at times the noises became a jumbled mess of CHRRRRRRRAARRRRR which was so overwhelming; all I could do was stand there and take it in. When I could hear the notes hit though, fuck it felt gooood.
Having reminisced more about that night I’ve come to realise that they were unbelievable, and I’m referring to the whole set here - the fact that they managed to last so long in that stuffy venue and maintain the stamina to pull off every song with such force, velocity and accuracy. There was a period when the guitarist was so absorbed by his crazy-ass riffs that he started jolting up and down as if nuts were hooked up to a car battery, his sweat shooting off his fringe like a water sprinkler.

The highlight of the night for me was when they played their final song, off the Drugs to Dear Youth EP. When he mentioned the word ‘old’ my heart jumped. I had been waiting for this moment for so long, I was caught unawares and had to spring my legs into action. After one of the members left the stage the shred began to commence. The guitar tapped its way in and that bass pedal hit just when I expected. It wasn’t… it couldn’t be… YES, it was!!! 40 RODS TO THE HOGSHEAD MOTHERFUCKER!!! I was so happy, I started running on the spot, I don’t even know what the fuck I was doing but it felt so good, the drummer was rolling all over his tom-toms, the guitarist was dipping his feet in and out and the bass continued to twirl its way around and around tying the chaotic mess up in a neat little ball. I really couldn’t contain myself. There is one part of the song that really kills me (around 5.30 minutes), it feels like I'm standing under a waterfall, fuck the poetic meanings, it really feels like a waterfall over me. The whole song builds up to this overwhelming wash of pure golden sound, and then all of a sudden it cuts back to sprinting pace. Just like that. Fuck.. It was one of the most blissful 30 seconds of my life. I felt like a douche afterwards for only going mental when they played a song I could recognise but fuck it. It was so good.

The night was an overall success, for sure. Even Martin enjoyed it which is cool considering he’s not really into that kind of music, and to see TM is like going from zero to 60. The only downside for me was that they didn’t play a lot of their old songs, but when he mentioned that they made those songs about 8 years ago I sympathised a little more, no matter how awesome the song it would get pretty stale having to play it continuously for 8 years. I’m pretty sure everyone who came crashed the fuck out the moment they got home, it was so exhausting. I just want to thank them for playing a song off the drugs to dear youth, it totally rekindled my joy of music-induced epilepsy.

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