|Picture: Callum Bunker
Wizards sleeve had their EP launch last night and, despite the absence of an EP to be launched (or even a proper stage), showed everyone there what a band can do using a couple of distortion pedals, a dressing up box they found in the loft and a barrel or three of beer.
The gig was on a boat cobbled together out of a couple of buses and decorated with enough animal skeletons to supply a lifetimes worth of nightmares, as well as artwork from Callum Farrell and Abbie Brothers that had been shipped in for one night only and went a long way towards making the place look more “gig” than “someone’s living room”, which is always a danger when the venue actually is someone’s living room. Wizard Sleeve added their own artistic flair with balloons with “Ned Flanders votes Trump” scrawled on in sharpie and a merch stand consisting of a couple of plant pots, a de-icer and a lovely picket fence. It was all a bit weird basically, and at one point I did feel like checking that nobody had slipped any LSD into my beer, especially when a band member wandered off and came back wearing a kilt.
Support was from Chilli Gibbons and the Purple Monk, a two piece band described by their singer as “Garage, Folk and Grunge” (no, not the Craig David kind of Garage, sorry to disappoint) although the emphasis was definitely on the first and last of those three, with the frontman all bulging veins and sweat as he blasted through possibly the shortest set I’ve ever seen a band play, with 4 or 5 songs condensed into about ten minutes of snarl and swagger.
After Chilli Gibbons and the Purple Monk’s Blitzkrieg set was over Wizard Sleeve themselves took to the stage, sharing the same singer as the support (although he had at least changed his shirt in an attempt to stop people noticing). They opened with a bizarre cover of Fat White Family’s “Borderline” performed by Bassist Luke Davies in a crooning Scottish accent, but quickly slammed into their set proper, a kind of psychedelic Punk inspired metal, including an excellent version of “She’s Not There”, more reminiscent of the UK Subs’ cover than the Zombies original and all the better for it. The band mix the overblown style of early heavy metal with a collection of clothes that include the previously mentioned kilt, an Anonymous-style Guy Fawkes Mask and what can only be described as a bargain basement steampunk ogre outfit, all helped along with a generous mix of face paint and beer. My only real complaint is that the venue was above ground, because if any band is designed for a sweaty basement gig it’s this one.
Overall Wizard Sleeve seem as cobbled together as the boat they were playing on, a hybrid love child of Fat White Family and Black Sabbath that seems to have been dropped on its head at an early age, and by god I love them for it.
Chilli Gibbons and the Purple Monk aren’t online in any form, maybe I hallucinated them after all.