LIVE: OHMNS, HAMER, Springfield Elementary & SlowHandClap @ The Eagle Inn
WORDS BY PATRICK PRESTON
Tucked amongst Salford’s rapidly rising number of new developments, the unassuming Eagle Inn opens its winding corridors tonight for a quadruple set of ragtag guitar bands, here to dole out some intense grooves and positive vibes on an unseasonably warm February evening.
Manchester’s own fledgling noise rockers SlowHandClap first tease the small gig room with hurried bass and drum rhythms and spacey guitar leads, before pushing measured, chuggy staccato through a wall of feedback and skulking around a repeated, grinding note. The fuzzed-out bass foundation and sharp guitar stabs of 2018 single Concrete Bodies support a crawling, sardonic vocal part, leaving its cryptic lyrics to echo ominously through the air long after the stage is emptied.
After not much at all of this relative quiet, Springfield Elementary shamble onto the stage, who jerk into life with a sinister, yet delicately-constructed instrumental, before strutting with confidence through some frenzied garage-punk and breaks of deft interplay. The band cut a delightfully ramshackle shape, with the strangled cry of new track Jacked Up On Jesus proving a particular set highlight – as opposed to the ill-advised funk-rock of 5-Second Rule – before closing on a high with a beefy death-rock stomp, which fills the room with a palpable, bouncing energy.
Even were I not writing up the show afterwards, I’d be hard pressed to miss tonight’s sub-headliners, HAMER, whose self-generated buzz of anticipation quickly found its way around the venue. A suitably bold and quirky stage presence acts as the perfect vessel for the band’s furiously intense, borderline-unintelligible take on garage rock, which draws from jittery cowpunk and dizzying psych freakouts. Carefree banter and some truly impassioned game faces are traded between all three members, who all seem to be vying for first place in onstage theatrics. Even during longer, more drawn-out jamming, the tempo barely lets up once – making the trio’s ability to dance between tightly-constructed passages and hypnotic noise even more daring and impressive.
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Ultimately, however, it’s Liverpudlian noisemakers OHMNS who tie together tonight’s disparate strains of punk, noise and math rock into something more streamlined and digestible. Choppy chord patterns and co-ordinated instrumental parts drag themselves forwards, while venomous vocal barbs are traded between nearly all members, leading to simple, yet blood-pumping singalongs; with the night’s uneasy heat and passionate performances, it’s all but inevitable when the band spills onto the floor and shirts come off. Even slowing to sludgy, repetitive bangers such as Paul Is Sure, does nothing to stop this momentum – quite the opposite, in fact, as a chaotic moshpit breaks out for the last few songs. It’s been a punishing night, with ears consistently ringing throughout, but worth it to catch a glimpse of such uncompromising new and noisy talent.