Gig Review by Natalie Homer
The Water Rats is a sepia treated Victorian -style pub in soot covered King’s Cross that on Friday 5th April, 2013 was crammed full of sleaze rockers straight out of Soho circa 1989. What the front bar saved in lighting (desert rat night vision a prerequisite) was mightily consumed in kilowatts by long time denizens of London’s heavy rock scene – DOGSTATE. Comprising – in no particular order – Wayne Casserly (drums), Richard Garcia (vocals), Paul Garcia (bass) and Rich Groom (guitar) the four piece stalked onto the stage and hurled out a wealth of inspired hard rock stonk at breakneck speed. In a high profile opening slot for former New York Dolls lead guitarist and glam rock aristocrat –STEVE CONTE, who is touring with his band THE CRAZY TRUTH, these proficient performers ripped into TIDE, second tune of the set (I’ll admit I was still battling for a drink at the bar during the first. Boo!). This song says wake up suckas! Early Pixie-sounding guitar gnarl fades into dense domineering vocals that give way to the swagger and wah wah of an astonishingly nimble-fingered guitar solo. Next up is HEARTBREAKER, a song that wades waist-deep into the murky waters of well, heartbreak, I guess. It’s dark electro funk rock and by the end you feel like you’ve just survived a tussle in quicksand. The story continues with GALLOWS. How can I put it? If Ian Astbury and Lemmy decided to duet – it would sound like this. Haunting, heavy, hollow hollering with a guitar that rips the soul out of it. Outstanding is COLT, stompy and playful like the theme tune to Rhubarb & Custard (albeit with a menacing edge) – the rhythm section drives this one stepping aside every so often to make room for a high energy guitar. The set closes out with SOUTHERN SONG (feat. JOHNNY OGLE from PIG IRON on harmonica). This is the one where you simply must mosh – classic heavy rock in flagrante delicto with drums riding the bass riding the guitar while vocals surf the crest. The crowd at this point looks like QUIREBOYS leftovers and as out of control as glam rock got in the late 80s, with the frilly shirts and the hairspray – there was no androgyny on stage tonight – just showmanship – a vintage ‘Stonesy’ swagger that managed to echo the cream of classic & hard rock cult without slavishly imitating influences. Many of the songs played tonight may well make it onto a long awaited follow up to the band’s first EP WAR BABY with producer Pat Collier (PRIMAL SCREAM, JESUS AND MARY CHAIN, THE VIBRATORS) released in 2011. It’s due for release sometime in 2013 but in the meantime, you can catch the boys on the following dates Sun 21st April: Nambucca, Upper Holloway and Mon 6th May: The Carlisle Hastings, May Day Bike run co-headlining with PIG IRON.
1 Last Chance
5 Black 13
7 Southern Song (feat Johnny Ogle from Pig Iron on harmonica)