The Twistettes’ Album Launch 14/09/2018 - A Two-For Review

The Twistettes Album Launch Night

Or

The Night I Went Out To The Twistettes Gig And Got So Hammered I Forgot Nearly Everything Yet Still Remembered Some Of The Embarrassing Shit I did

Two days after The Twistettes launch night in Stereo, a night on which they were supported by a host of amazing acts, (I say 'host' to try and cover up the fact that most of my night is just a magnificent, screaming, musical blur) I received the email from Gonzo extraordinaire Chris Herron.

He wants to try something different he says.

No… not something like that he says.

Something more like this he says.

...and all the way through reading the email I just mentally nod like a plastic bobble dog on a car dashboard, because my head feels like it is full of bees that are trying to shout their way through my eyes to freedom.

In other words, it's a bad hangover. A really bad hangover. I imagine it’s the kind of hangover Chris Penn had regularly in the mid-late nineties, in fact probably all through the nineties, and most of the eighties too.

Anyway, I digress. He wants to do one of these double article thingamyjigs, where I start it off, and he finishes it. One of those articles where we both take a stab at describing how great the night was.

There is one problem with that though.

I hardly remember any of the night in question.

My most vivid memory is suddenly being awake again on Chris Herron's couch with daylight streaming through the window, and him staring directly at me while wearing a blanket and drinking spirits from a coffee mug.

Pretty sure there was a turtle in there somewhere too. (Not a euphemism)

Sorry, I've started at the end there, which is just madness. This isn't Memento, for starters I have about a third of the tattoos, and there’s been much less wife murder. (Spoilers)

Let's go back to the start as I have a good rummage around in the memory banks, among those hangover bees that still loiter among the heaving foliage of my mind.

I remember one thing clearly. One stand out point that shines like a beacon above all the white noise. I remember I loved it.

I remember seeing, and chatting to friends I hadn't seen in a long time. I remember cheering like a madman at Leyla Josephine as she blasted through an epic set of spoken word numbers including a great piece about vaginas. I then remember how I incoherently fluffed every… single… word outside in the lane when I approached her to over-excitedly say hello after her set.

I remember The Girobabies giving their all (when do they not though?) and me jumping around up near the back of the venue like a madman to their tunes. I also remember nearly falling down the stairs at one point on the way back from the toilet at the top, (as the toilet in the middle was flooded), as I rushed down to catch the start of the Girobabies set.

So in a way, The Giros nearly led to my broken neck, to me lying sprawled and broken at the foot of the stairwell cursing their ability to Pavlov’s Dog me as soon as I hear Mark McG’s voice throatily float across a venue. Thankfully life threatening injuries never happened though, only mental injuries as I imagined my stairwell fall over and over again for the briefest, yet longest of moments.

I remember thinking just how fucking superb The Honey Farm were, and I remember being gutted about missing Victoria McNulty, and Quotes Of The Dead, but hey, that appears to be how some of my gigs go these days. I throw the dice with pre-drinking and I take my chances, sometimes it leads to a great night, sometimes it leads to a myriad of blotchy, hazy moments caught in time, like still life on fire.

Such is life.

Thankfully I already know how talented Victoria McNulty is already, having been wooed by her live show and amazing spoken word on a number of occasions. She is a poet who not only shows her teeth, but bites too. Figuratively speaking of course. Words are her weapon of choice, she doesn’t need to use her mouth to rend your flesh, her poetry can hurt you in places that teeth could never reach.

There I go, off on weird tangents again. What’s all the talk of teeth, and rending?

I must be hungry.

So to recap, and end my near-ranting above, The support acts I saw where all fantastic, and as always The Twistettes were on top form. I can honestly say that they are one of the most vivid, most noisily exciting bands in the country right now, and I am sure they will continue to blow audiences away with every gig they do. If their first album was epic, then this one is fucking sublime, and the only thing better than The Twistettes, is The Twistettes live.

Long live The Twistettes.

Now, onto the main reviewer himself for the lowdown of what actually happened…

J.M.

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Incredible, that I can see a band as many times as I’ve seen the Twistettes and they can still blow my mind as much as they did last Saturday. I guess I should have expected it, as I’ve reviewed the new album and know it is a belter (find that review here http://www.newhellfireclub.co.uk/news/2018/9/11/the-twistettes-a-strange-play-a-c-t-herron-review ) so I should have known it would sound even more spectacular live, especially with a band as loud and rocking as these, with their amazing onstage presence and their cult following of dedicated fans.

Kayleigh and I arrived and entered the familiar cave beneath Stereo, passing the hordes of nepheligenous punters outside and made our way down, dismissing the plus one on my press pass and paying for a ticket to support the bands (cos they really don’t make a great deal of money from their endeavours you know, and they deserve it when they’re so talented). We then headed to the bar, I was elated to see cups of earplugs sitting on the counter like bowls of peanuts. I’ve often said The Twistettes are the loudest band alive today, because standing in front of their amps is akin to standing in a wind tunnel and at festivals you can hear their set from three miles away above every other noise, so I was delighted to see the earplugs confirming what I already knew, in terms of decibals the Twistettes are the new Motorhead, I mean, I’ve never seen earplugs passed out at a gig before, have you!?

Another thing that astonished me; I’ve been to literally thousands and thousands of gigs and they’re always total sausage factories, wall to wall males and only a handful of females among them, but the Twistettes obviously have a huge feminine fanbase and all their support acts were female (or female-fronted) so for once I was at a concert that was more yonic than phallic, which is a refreshing change! Shame most the guys still didn’t have the decency not to piss all over the seats in the unisex toilets! I guess as a man raised by women this still annoys me.

We met up with fellow NHC cohorts El Hefe and Chrissy, Chrissy was so mangled it was like someone had left him inside a washing machine on spin cycle for four hours! And it wasn’t long before we were mandied up ourselves and were later joined by the Brox Commune’s Kev and Andy and then Ailsa too, as well as all the usual characters of the scene in attendance, all protagonists in a strange play indeed.

Fine support was provided in the form of the mellifluous Honey Farm, a cracking all-girl hip hop group which is like vintage 80’s/90’s girl rap with a modern slant. The aggressive, sometimes unnerving, but no less brilliant, poetry of Leyla Josephine. The grungy, punky, glorious clash of styles that is Quotes of the Dead, as well as a sterling set by the talented Victoria McNulty. The crowd were extremely attentive during both poets’ sets, testament to the quality of their work, remember a group can play over a crowd, but poetry sets are near-silent and require a little more focus.

A special mention as always for the Girobabies, arguably the best band in Scotland and my all time fave of the local scene! Who played their last gig of the year after a hectic summer touring schedule from summer equinox to autumn equinox (almost). The beautiful and talented Josephine Sillars (The Manic Pixie Dreams) joined them on the keyboard that night, adding a slightly different and refreshing slant to the proceedings and the “baffling NED punks” hit us with some of their greatest hits; ‘Equinox’, ‘Planet Fort Knox’, ‘Late Night Sketchy’, ‘Jeremy Kyle’, ‘No Place’ and closed with the powerful and invigorating ‘Bring Potions’, the Giros are an immense live band and their songs are casual strokes of genius, the crowd were going mental for them, from the stage to the bar, and so they should!

It was time then, for the main course, The Twistettes, their set was comprised almost (if not completely) of their new material and had an undulating, writhing moshpit at its feet. The energy of the place was palpable and intoxicating, angst-ridden punk rock vibrating to the higher frequency of love is a special thing indeed. The new stuff sounded fucking immense live, and as if they hadn’t blown my mind enough the encore knocked me dead…

…As the end of their blistering set the crowd were ganting for another song, “Wan mair tune! Wan mair tune!” and this is usually provided in the form of their superlative version of ‘What’s Up’ by 4 Non Blondes. It’s always a highlight because the crowd go nuts, it’s a fantastic Twisted version, and I’m a sucker for a good cover. But I feared they wouldn’t play it as it would probably be shoved aside for something off the old album, seeing as Jilt The Jive’s bound to get neglected with the fresh album being the star of the show. The Twistettes however, did provide the Non-Blondes cover for dessert, as an encore to the encore, but before that they did something even more amazing and unexpected…

…Forming a tradition of taking a female pop anthem and giving it the Twistettes shock treatment they delivered, much to the delight of the audience, a fantastic cover of ‘Zombie’ by The Cranberries! It was totally unexpected, but once you clicked it was like ‘Of course! Of course they should cover that song! It’s perfect for them! Genius!’ It only took me the first few chords to realise what’s going on, and despite being retired from the moshpit after my long and illustrious career in it, my body was diving in before my mind even knew what was going on. Despite being quinquagenarians Kev and Andy also leapt in, alongside Kayleigh and Ailsa, and it was a fantastic moment, but something made it even more fantastic for me…

…As a child I was dragged through quite a lot of domestic abuse, and whenever it was really bad my mum would take me out of the house (whatever time of night) and drive me about playing rock music really loud on the car’s CD player, successfully turning a bad memory, into a good one. Music has always had a very special effect on me, and it has always been the shield I hold up in hard times, and it’s the same with my mum, so we bonded strongly in those moments. Her favourite song at the time was ‘Zombie’ and she used to drive fast down Largs front, sticking her head out the window and singing along to it at the top of her lungs, it always made me happy and made me laugh so that song obviously formed a very special place in my heart, and the Twistettes hit that spot like a guided missile. A very special personal moment for me, my only regret is my mum wasn’t at that particular gig so she didn’t share that moment with me, in hindsight I should have phoned her, she definetely would have cried. I’ll take her to the next one…

But enough about covers, it’s a wonder The Twistettes do them really, when they have as much exciting original material as they do, but I guess they get the same pleasure in playing them as we do in hearing them. And speaking of exciting new material, ‘A Strange Play’ was officially launched that night and is a magnificent opus, available here https://thetwistettes.bandcamp.com/album/a-strange-play-2 an absolute steal at seven pounds!

Like I said in my last article, when you’ve reviewed an artist more than once it’s the mark of a great band, because there’s so much to say about them, and this marks the eighth Gonzo Div. review of this amazing duo! They are the cream of the local crop and it seems like they’re only just getting started! Jo and Nicky’s band have been one of my absolute faves since the first time I saw them at Kelburn many moons ago and since falling in love with their debut album. They didn’t need to do anything else to stay at the top of my faves, but with the release of ‘A Strange Play’ and that amazing night at Stereo (among many others) they proved they will be at the top for a long time to come yet.

Jo (as well as playing bass for the Giros) is also a DJ and she went on to deliver a banging set on the decks alongside Rev. D. Wayne Love of Alabama 3, and then she was off to London to launch the album down there! We stumbled home with our motley crew for a party at mine, where Kayleigh, Jamie and I flashed our boobs at some firemen putting out a blazing dumpster, and El Hefe eventually fell asleep fondling a terrapin after handfeeding my gecko (those aren’t euphemisms by the way) but they are stories for another time. Twistettes, we love you, we salute you, and so should the whole world!

See ya’ in the pit!!!

CTH. (NHC Gonzo Div.)