Friday 1st November @ Club 77
Zeahorse are the kind of band you would never take your Mum to. Their sound is unique as fuck, a brutal amalgamation of punk, hardcore, sludge and metal.They’re loud, noisy and sound as though Violent Soho’s corpse was taken through a wood-chipper operated by Kyuss. Their sound is unique as fuck, a brutal amalgamation of punk, hardcore, sludge and metal. If Eyehategod had a baby, its best mate would be Zeahorse. If Tom Morello, Henry Rollins and Geezer Butler started a band, they’d probably sound exactly like Zeahorse. Do you understand what I’m trying to say here? Zeahorse are really fucking great. And they’re at their best when they’re playing live.
Which is precisely what I found myself doing on that Friday night. Whilst my compatriots made their way to Soho Bar to dance to Lil’ Wayne and co., I headed out to Club 77. Now, if you haven’t been to Club 77 before, you’re in for a real treat. This place is about as authentic as one can go. Buried in a basement on Williams Street, between the Cross and the City, Club 77 is like those biker clubs from the 70’s that you always heard about but never went to. It is like an oasis, crowded between two of the busiest sections of nightlife that Sydney has to offer. Everything is dark and dingy, bathed in a devilish red light. When you walk in, a pungent smell, (not a bad smell, just strong) hits your nose like the gasoline fumes from a Chopper. I felt like I would run into Bruce Willis or Lemmy. This place was the genuine badass article. And it’s where Zeahorse were playing.
Now, although I missed Narrow Lands (a very regrettable decision on my part), I did manage to catch the brilliant No Art, a band that has the unique ability to always be playing live whenever I have absolutely no chance of seeing them, like some sort of drone-y leprechaun. However I caught the fucker this time round, and shower me with gold they did. Their music is swirling and disturbing on record, but in a live setting, you can’t help but feel a certain affinity with their music. Don’t worry, it doesn’t lose any of its nihilistic steel and splintering edginess, but it feels more like that cool goth chick at school who you always wanted to hang out with, rather than this super-cool entity of post-punk genius waaaaayy out of your league. If you’re keen for some overloads of musical goodness, check out ‘Dead Arm’, you won’t regret it.
After No Art had performed their duties of wowing us into silence and gratitude, Zeahorse came on to alight the stage with a noxious intensity. From that opening chord of the set, the unmistakeable clang of ‘Pool’, the audience’s brains were torn apart. Listening to Zeahorse in their natural environment was like being earfucked by a hellbeast. I felt like David Attenborough watching some lions, admiring the predatorial beauty of a band that could dole out killer riffs that would slash you apart in equal lengths with encouraging, amiable spaces of music.
Don’t get me wrong, the whole set from start to finish was a fucking onslaught of the senses, like dipping your mind in a vat of the bubonic plague, and watching in fascination as it turned into something ethereal and otherworldly, brought on by something that probably shouldn’t exist. Except the bubonic plague killed a fuckload of people, and everyone that crowded into Club 77 that night had their jaw on the floor, simply gobsmacked at the sounds and intensity of the sounds that pulverised our ears. I’ll say it again, one minute your headbanging like a rocking horse taking its first hit of heroin on ‘Onion’, next thing you know, you’re slowly grooving your hips to ‘Kathie’s Makeover’. The closer of ‘Career’, with its ‘One Inch Man’-ish bass-line and furious energy, was a particular blistering part of the set, shaking the crowd’s heads into a frothing mass of ecstasy.
To conclude, if you are any sort of self-respecting fan of the heavier stuff, you should already know and love Zeahorse as much as I do. If you’re ever in the need to be overwhelmingly entertained, and Zeahorse are in town, fucking go. Zeahorse are more insanely good that butter on toast at 7 o’clock on a Sunday morning, and that is a fucking fact.