The Anvil, Bournemouth

Drug Church

On a sweaty summer’s evening Bournemouth’s Anvil Rock bar plays host to a bill of four bands of similar genre’s, but with quite different styles. First up is Salisbury trio “Borts”. Shocking name for a Punk band, (I’d love to know the origin}?! That said though they are decent. They open with “The Lake” and their Punk/Pop has echoes of American Hi-Fi in a car crash with (pre-Enema) Blink 182. Their self-deprecating humour and minor crowd interaction warms me to them somewhat, amid their great musicianship and Yank-inspired vocals. With time against them, they hastily wrote their setlist on a Budweiser box – quite unique and something I had never seen before. “Get Better” is a set highlight but they play a simple unfussy Punk with poppy elements and are easy on the ear. They depart us on “Beast” and receive good applause.

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Next up are Basingstoke quartet Buds. Again I’m not enthused by the name but they turn out to be (IMO) the band of the night. Their brand of Melodic Punk hits the spot early on. They open with “Big Brother” and it’s a big, ballsy racket they make. Dan (lead vox/guitar) has a strong vocal and delivers a heavy guitar-led sound that has Emo/HCX elements as they set out their stall early. Sonny (guitar/vox) has a strange way of rabble-rousing this crowd into action by shouting “Fuck You Bournemouth”! Thankfully no-one takes offence to this aggressive outburst as me duly smiles and hollers some other abusive obscenities with a wry grin. “Read The Room” comes next as they grow into their set.

The interestingly titled “Vintage Cricket” follows and while on the subject of sport Tom (drums) reminds me of a young David Fairclough (Liverpool F.C. supersub) – I don’t know about his footballing ability but he’s a fine drummer with an almost effortless style. Buds are an energetic outfit, most notably Zoe (bass) who doesn’t keep still for a second, despite the little space afforded her. Looking at the setlist there appears to be a theme of ambition – “Bigger Fish”, on tonight’s showing Buds won’t be on the “toilet circuit” for long. “Shit To Do” precedes the excellent “Progress” and rather aptly they end with “Building Blocks”. Buds (and all three other acts) are new to me, but these guys (and gal) have made the biggest impression.

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Next up are Night Letters. I had a listen pre-gig and thought yeah, I like that. What they deliver though I’m afraid is totally lost on me. Made up of band members with a good pedigree (Dead Swans, Landscapes, Miles Away, Defeater, More Than Life) this Doom/Nugaze/HCX quartet deliver a set long on songs yet short on entertainment. The only crumbs of comfort I get are the early Catherine Wheel/Ride influences. Deafening soundscapes that just grow and grow with searing guitar lines and huge snare-driven drumming. I get the whole shoegaze thing but after ripping the same My Vitriol intro (Always Your Way) for three songs I got tired of the drudgery and incoherent vocal almost throughout. Maybe that’s the point but I am left non-plussed with the muffled vocals and everything else turned up to the max, so beat a retreat to the bar halfway through.

Night Letters
Night Letters 1234

I head downstairs for tonight’s headline act. Again I have done my homework, had a listen and attended this show on what I saw and heard. On YouTube (IMO) they sound great, on record not so great. So open-mindedly I stand and watch. What comes next is a ferocious assault of our eardrums. These guys play it hard ‘n fast. Describing themselves as “Alternative” they are that alright – and some! Patrick (vox) has an unusual style whereupon he sounds like he’s delivering orders to the masses. Musically it’s pretty faultless, I just don’t know whether it’s a marriage made in heaven. That said an appreciative audience responds in the most energetic way with a sweaty throng down the front giving it the big one. These guys know every song, every lyric and with no quarters given they deliver a ferocious set from a singer with anger in his voice.

It’s Hard-core, it’s Punk, it’s anything you want it to be and tonight’s audience won’t forget this performance in a hurry. Song titles are a thing of guesswork for me. I believe the last track may have been titled “Drug Church”, but in the frenzy surrounding me it is difficult to tell. The final act of the evening sees their fans lift Patrick in the air in a kind of celebratory crowd-surf. Tonight was not for the faint-hearted, it just wasn’t for me. That said though it’s another ambitious promotion by Dom Patience who (among others) is really putting this fine Rock venue firmly on the map.

The Lake
Get Sold
Party in Me
Slow One
Get Better
Broke Alone

Big Brother
Read the Room
Vintage Cricket
Bigger Fish
Shit to Do
Building Blocks

Night Letters
Blue Mountains
The Void
Long Way Down
Smiling Christ
Reflect the Sky
Moments In Between



Review, Pictures and Videos by Ross A. Ferrone.

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