Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Tonight’s gig is not running on time but no-one is too bothered. There are worse places to idle a few minutes than one of Salford’s finest real ale pubs (Citrus Temptation from Denton’s Hornbeam brewery since you ask). The Bell Peppers were recently heard cranking out Nirvana covers on the twisted and squawkingly loud B*each EP. Tonight the left-handed guitar duo – and new drummer Luke – were on more familiar ground. Opening with a cover of ‘Woolly Bully’, the trio then alternated reverb-heavy 60s surf-pop with slower numbers of romantic palm-tree waft given some raw, lo-fi guitar edge. A bit reticent between songs, musically The Bell Peppers became more energetic as the set progressed finishing with the raucous ‘Rattlesnake Coop’ a venomous slice of Hasil Adkins rockabilly.

Fresh from a session for BBC 6 Music, Y Niwl set up their equipment from scratch for this Cloud Sounds promoted night. All The Bell Peppers kit was cleared away and a new group of instruments were put on stage, but so swiftly it was like a time-lapse film. Despite the hectic turnaround, Y Niwl looked relaxed and fresh (especially the new – and very fresh-faced - drummer) but sounded sharp from the get-go. For all that The Bell Peppers demonstrate a solid grasp of the genre, Y Niwl continue to show just how masterful they are. Their taut, garage-rock take on surf is just magnificent. For a genre that could be a strait-jacket, Y Niwl show how inventive and elastic it can be.

Tonight’s sets included plenty of new songs – fast-paced or slowed-down, even grandioise but never flabby or indulgent - they came tumbling out mixed in with classics (not using that phrase lightly) from their debut album. For a small upstairs pub room, the Kings Arm has some fancy son-et-lumière effects (lasers! Live video projection! Smoke machine!). These added to the atmosphere but it was the songs and musicianship that made the night. This was taking surf-rock to the next level. Peerless.

The Set List:

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