The Anvil, Bournemouth

Slow Crush

It’s a balmy Monday evening as Bournemouth’s Anvil Rock Bar plays host to four acts of quite differing styles. Two headline acts from out of town and two locals. First up is Perry Emery (AKA Ballet Alone) – not a name one will forget in a hurry. His heartfelt and passionate songs are delivered in a thought-provoking style, while keeping us entertained with some hilarious between-song banter. He opens with “18”, sets his stall out early and delivers. There’s a slightly nasally vocal delivery but not unpleasant. His banter extends to explaining how he couldn’t afford to see “Slow Crush”, so got himself on the bill! This Anvil crowd are attentive and pay him the respect of not talking over him. “Player 2” precedes “Unconditional”, dedicated to his lady who is in attendance. His tuning and banter continues to entertain and one might suggest its “Intertwined” (sic). He departs on “Lovelight” and this crowd affords him long, loud applause.

Ballet Alone
Ballet Alone 12

Next up are fellow locals Violet. No strangers to the local scene, this hirsute trio take to the stage with little fuss. Summer (vox/guitar) quietly announces “We’re not gonna tell you what the first song is” (ooh the suspense)!! The ramshackle opener is like an intro track without a name. This messy and turgid noise doesn’t fill me with excitement as they are more akin to a band jamming in a studio, hoping to see what comes out. Official opener ‘Tasty’ evokes hints of early Slits with its Art/Rock, Post/Punk leanings. The scratchy guitars lend themselves to a specific sound which follows with “Touch The”. I notice that Finley Burch on drums spends most of the set staring at Summer, almost looking for assurance. The bassist Dan Crisp holds a high line with his instrument; but is no less important, adding vocal accompaniment occasionally. When Summer decides to tune up mid-set some punters call for some drum n’ bass, and they duly oblige. They literally ad-lib and fool around but entertain nonetheless. As Summer finds her range I’m now reminded of Join Hands-era Siouxsie Sioux, while the influences take us through Grunge/Post-Punk/Riot-Grrrl. “Leave It” is my cue to head to the bar – I’m just not getting it. On another night I might think differently but (to me) it’s a genre clash that needs work. Maybe that is the point? They end with “Reeling” which I’m sure this crowd are left!

Violet 123

Next, up are another trio from just along the Coast. Southampton’s Arid Wave arrive onstage, determined to bludgeon our senses (and eardrums) with a colossal barrage of Rock and Grunge. They open confidently with “Karma”. Ben (guitar/vox) has a guttural, throaty delivery yet his lyrics are clear and audible – despite the earth-shattering power this trio create. I’m even briefly reminded of Phil Lynott. Sam (drums) reminds me of Ginger Wildheart and his ferocity in the engine room only enhances the overall sound. “Destroy Us All” seems somewhat apt – they up the power and at this rate, the walls will start crumbling. It’s Rock and Grunge and everything in-between. ‘Mass Transit’ comes next and again there’s no let-up. They induce the first real mosh pit of the evening as Ben beckons us forward. “Dead Friends” is somewhat sombre with an obvious content, giving them breathing space before final track “Glebe”. Arid Wave has come here and owned this stage tonight and I expect to see them playing much bigger shows in the not too distant future.

Arid Wave
Arid Wave 12

And so to the headliners. Slow Crush land in Bournemouth during a mammoth tour that seemingly is spread over the entire year. Their brand of shoegaze is steeped in the past with all the right elements, evoking memories of both Curve and My Vitriol (to name two). ‘Aurora’ opens the set and thankfully the noise levels have dropped, allowing Isa (vox) to just about be heard. Her soft, sultry vocals fight for space with a Shoegaze wall of sound engulfing the room. “Sway” follows which is more of the same and “Dizzy” leaves us dizzy with the swirling sounds coming from the stage. “Drift” follows with the singular titles and almost immediately I’m picking up a big Curve influence. “Tremble” sees a power hike as the other band members gently lift the volume up a notch. It’s dreamy, it’s swirling, it’s anything you want it to be, evoking memories of the early 90’s. Admittedly it’s nothing I haven’t heard before, but there are so few bands out there doing this it’s a welcome return. They depart on “Glow” and much as they started, create a wall of sound that they began with. Post/Rock, Nugaze, Dreampop, call it what you like. With so few of these bands still around this could be their time.

Slow Crush
Slow Crush 12345

Lastly a word for the promoter. Dom Patience is a legend around these parts, notably for the variety of shows he brings to this venue alone. Tonight saw an eclectic mix of bands and to see a near full house on a Monday night gives me hope that the seeds of change for this town’s live music scene may be about to take an upward trajectory. At £6 one can’t quibble with the value for money for tonight’s entertainment.

Set Lists
Slow Crush
Aid and Abet

Arid Wave
Destroy Us All
Mass Transit
Dead Friends

It’s fine
The Rain
Counting the Years
Touch the Leather(Fat White Family)
Leave It

Ballet Alone
Player 2





Words by Ross A. Ferrone
Pictures and Video by David Chinery (Chinners)

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