A DECADE ago, Gallon Drunk frontman James Johnston fulfilled his spiritual destiny when he joined Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds as a touring member.
Star rating: * * * *
He followed this up with a spell in influential industrial Krautrockers Faust and, along with his Gallon Drunk fellows, forms the backbone of Lydia Lunch’s band Big Sexy Noise.
His own outfit – who are indeed a British Bad Seeds, minus the baroque flourishes and, sadly, the killer songs – have survived all these sympathetic diversions in sporadic form and, frankly, it was a blast to make their reacquaintance at this charged show.
Johnston, whippet thin and black clad as is the Gallon Drunk style, is a charismatic frontman in his own right – not an out-and-out showman like Cave but a compelling, committed rock’n’roller with the chutzpah to pull off some poses when the music consumes and contorts him. The band eased into the brimstone over the course of swampy but slow-burning ten-minute set-opener Before The Fire, stealthily ramping up the intensity.
While drummer Ian White and bassist Leo Kurunis consistently laid out the rhythmic menace, multi-instrumental maestro Terry Edwards supplied the killer blows with his steamy saxophone breaks and macabre organ grooves which had pockets of the crowd twisting on the end of his rope.
Gallon Drunk remain a band to lose your mind to, sealing their garage punk dementia with a protracted freak-out finish which was only curtailed by that unrock’n’roll but neighbour-friendly expedient, the live music curfew.
Seen on 17.04.14