Clark Kent’s Rock and Roll Revue #002 Feat. Dumbjaw - Change Inevitable, Change Undeniable
July 27th 2013
Holloway Road (London)
Just like any band worth its salt, the review you’re reading has been severely worked on. This piece has been expanded, truncated, fleshed out and further edited. Again and again and again. Why? Well, if you’re not confronting who you are in your own work then you’re continually missing out on the opportunity for growth. What is circumstantial change if not a blatant invitation to adapt? Financial setbacks often alert us to what our long-term plan is – if any, and romantic upheaval helps us see who we really are. I can tell you this: foraging through the articles of my peers has led to my rediscovery of thematic structure and conclusion. Continual confessionals are no longer enough for me, ergo my hyper-editing schedule.
Fitting then that this weekend finds Dumbjaw in a similar state of re-evaluation/flux…
I’m on a watery trek to the music venue Nambucca and the sky is seeking to remind me of what the weather in this country is really like. The English downpour is punishing everyone out here for having the audacity to wear shorts and t-shirts. We’re being showered and by the bucketful, but I’m grinning, I’m buoyant on my odyssey through Saturday’s deluge; my carnal draught has been broken…WIN!
Time for some sonic celebration... I've escaped the downpour drowning Holloway Road, and I’m so drunk. I’ve had enough drink that I’m sure I overpay the doorman, but I can’t fix the argument in my head that will help right this heinous wrong. Doesn’t matter, in my holdall I’ve smuggled in a can of cider.
Clark Kent 1, Thieving Doorman 1. Now, into the backroom I go.
Dumbjaw have gone through two songs already and are playing to a crowd that isn’t quite where they need to be on the excite-o-meter. Not a problem: Dumbjaw are fronted by Lee Veralis.
There goes Lee, lifting his axe during a barbarous solo…
See him scream as Better Than You’s juggernaut of a chorus ploughs through the audience. Such is the craft of this musical battering-ram that one can only suspect that Lee is some kind of sadist for uploading a mere segment of their most commercial song. Wow, these punks have been going for a few years now but they’re still an eager proposition to witness live.
And oh man, the bass!
Graeme Lynch makes a fantastic foil for Lee’s sporadic and wild stage persona. It’s as if Graeme is in some alternate universe where the only thing that exists is his bass guitar. Were it not for Lee’s movement and sheer force of will, Graeme would be en route to the dead moon of performance sacrilege - but man - the bass in "I’ll Give You Hell" bludgeons even the most cynical concern. Every distorted note roars, ‘I’ll eat your children’!
Luke Ford is filling in for Jamie Oliver on drums tonight and man he’s good (found out just before this release that Mr Ford played with Lee in Noisepilots and Noxious). Dumbjaw - normally a trio - are tonight a quartet, and I think I recognise the guy on second guitar. Andreas Podda! This dude plays bass for Tricks of the Gods and here he is…playing lead parts for Dumbjaw! It’s the first time in a long while that the guys have featured two guitars. Andreas expertly feels his way through the set using long ringing notes here there and everywhere. For the sake of clarity, I would prefer less distortion from one guitar or the other. The chaotic elements of a bad soundman or cheap amps are easier to combat if the overall tone is clean, right?
By the time we get to Dissociative the room is thankfully more reactive. Imagine being at an early Nirvana gig. Imagine singing along to Lithium before it became a hit. That’s what Dissociative is. Yeah Yeah indeed! Ah yes, heads are bopping up and down. Hand claps are more impassioned. We’re hardly mimicking the openness of a Saturday night in Leeds but we’re southerners, y’know? The band finish up with "One in a Million" – a departure from usual set closer "Dissociative." The four piece version of Dumbjaw isn’t perfect yet but the fun is in watching them get much more experimental and grow. So c’mon – challenge yourself - try something new, try out Dumbjaw.
Take a moment to watch an interview of the band via MAX SCENE (a youtube show I produce with some mates).
Future gigs featuring Dumbjaw:
31st August @ DOCKSTOCK, Bermondsey!
22nd September @ PURPLE TURTLE, Camden With Chasing Melfina
12th October @ THE UNICORN, Camden.