Saturday 8 October 2022 – London.
Wrong Speed Records is a small and vital record label created by Joe Thompson, bass player with Hey Colossus and Henry Blacker, during the early Covid lockdowns. The label is the centre of the Hey Colossus multiverse, with most of the (at the time of writing) 38 releases on the label coming from bands associated with current or ex-members of the band, and there are quite a few of those. I don’t own all those records but I have at least one by all the bands playing today, or I do now as I picked up the Gum Takes Tooth record from the merch stand after the show.
Today was the Wrong Speed Records all-day gig at The Strongroom bar in Shoreditch. Six bands, five on Wrong Speed Records and one (Gum Takes Tooth) about to be, all for the amazing price of zero pounds; yes it was free. Fantastic, and such a good line up as well.
The first band was on at 3:30 and I arrived just before The Mute Servants hit the stage, meeting Sean, a Walthamstow friend at the venue. The Mute Servants are a two piece formed around the songs of one of Hey Colossus’ three guitarists. The songs were short, sharp and fun, nothing over two minutes in length; garage punk at its finest. They did (at least) two covers, The Breeders ‘Do you love me now’ and The Fall’s ‘Industrial Estate’. It was a great start to the day.
The Strongroom is not a bad venue, I’m not sure if hosts a lot of bands, but it is well set up for them, with a couple of bars, a huge outdoor space with loads of seating and a gig room that would hold a couple of hundred; it seemed really well air-conditioned as well which I appreciated. The one downside for day time bands was the glass fire exit doors letting in too much background light which made it hard to take photos of the musicians on a very dimly lit stage. I had a lot of trouble getting images of the next band. Shooting was hard for all the bands with my ancient beast of a camera, the light was very dim and mostly a horrible red or even more horrible blue.
Haress (prounced hairs) were second on, and the band I was most looking forward to seeing, and they didn’t disappoint; not that any of the bands did. Another of the Hey Colossus guitarists plays guitar in Haress.
Haress play a very quiet gentle gothic country, slow mournful tunes, that build slowly to a gentle peak, I play their records a lot while I work. They all play their instruments while seated, which sort of reflects the vibe of their music. There was even a sing-along with handed out lyric sheets for one of their songs.
I thought they were great and my photos didn’t do them justice, I would have loved to have been on the other side of the stage but someone else was taking pictures there and it seems a bit weird having the only two people taking photos standing in the same place.
Thee Alcoholics were the third band of the day and the third band of the day without a bass player. Definitely the heaviest band so far (it gets heavier), a grungey-noise rock four piece with an ex-Hey Colossus drummer on guitar and vocals. There was a guest vocal by an ex-Hey Colossus vocalist/current Hey Colossus guitarist on a song that which was very reminiscent of the older sludgier Hey Colossus sound. I liked them.
Fourth up were Nottingham punks Blind Eye, the only proper punk band on the bill. They play a fast melodic hardcore and had the crowd buzzing; there were even a small number of people slam dancing through their short and furious set. From where I was standing it was impossible to get a decent photo of the guitarist, he was mostly in the dark, one of the only musicians I didn’t get a photo of.
The venue was at ground level with the locked glass fire door on Rivington Street, opposite a restaurant and bar. It was very early evening when Blind Eye took the stage and I was amused by all the fancily dressed young folk peering in through the glass of the doors, wondering/bemused at the thunderous racket going on inside.
Four bands in, and the first band with a bass player and also the first without current or ex Hey Colossus member.
Not owning of their records meant I was not that familiar with Gum Takes Tooth, only really giving them an online listen in the days before the gig. I liked what I heard and was keen to see them, they were the real outliers on the day; no bass, no drums and no guitars, as well as being the only band on the day yet to release anything on Wrong Speed, apparently something coming in 2023.
The played a set that sounded very techno to my electronic-ignorant ears, and they got a very good response from full venue, I enjoyed their set a lot.
Headliners for the event were Hey Colossus, a last minute addition after another band had to pull out. I always like seeing Hey Colossus, and I guess with so many members at the venue it made sense that they played. It was a cracking set as well, with a couple of new tracks being aired as well as songs from the last three records. I enjoyed it immensely, especially the epic closer, the 16 minute Trembling Rose. Paul, the vocalist is such a fun photographic subject.
This was the first time I’ve been to a multi-band event where every band was excellent, it was impossible to pick a favourite. They were all different enough that direct comparisons would be impossible.Big thanks to the bands, the fans, the bar team, Joe, Chris, Baba Yagas Hut and anyone else who was involved in organising the day.
Roll on the next event in mid-2023.
Big thanks to the bands, the fans, the bar team, Joe, Chris, Baba Yagas Hut and anyone else who was involved in organising the day.
Roll on the next event in mid-2023.