As a pleasant starting point to this review, and by way and means to set the tone, if you get the chance to see Wet Nuns and like a bit of dirty stoner punk with a side order of banter, do it. Don’t ask any questions. Just do it.
And I’d be pretty happy to leave the review there but I guess the man at the top wants a little more from me. Let’s start with the venue. Now I really like the Shipping Forecast as a pub. But as a venue, the awkwardly placed support pillars block the performance space from the view of a rather large chunk of the audience and, whilst I’m aware that these beams actually keep the building standing, I’m still forced to point out just how annoying they are. The sound could have been better too. Much better; getting the sound right in such a small, potentially echoey space is always tricky. As a result of the aforementioned awkward pillars, the bulk of the crowd were forced to stand uncomfortably close to the speakers which blows on a many a level. But my main irk with the sound was that the drums were too loud and the vocals were too quiet.
On to the bands. First to the stage were local classic rock throw-backs, the Dirty Vagrants. A talented team of musicians with some rather clear roots in Metallica and Guns n’ Roses fandom, these guys were only really let down by the vocal styles their lead singer had failed to conquer. For their faster, more up tempo tracks, his vocals were more than fine; one might even say bloody spot on! But for their slower attempts, an annoyingly pseudo-American accent seemed to emanate through, detracting from what was otherwise a catchy, rhythmic and rather energetic performance. Still, they did dish out a bag of cuppa soups to the crowd and if there’s ever been a quick way to stardom I think they have found it!
Stereo Virgins followed. You’re going to think I absolutely hate vocalists here, but the same faults I had as with the Dirty Vagrants ensued. The lead singer’s pretty Irish accent seemed to completely vanish when she took to the mic and what came out was more a drunken Courtney Love impression. Assuming there’s such a thing as a sober Courtney Love. Which incidentally leads me into a musical comparison for the band, laying somewhere between Hole and a louder version of Nickleback. None of which I’d consider a particularly bad thing if it were not for the vocals. Musically, Stereo Virgins are sound. Both their lead guitarist and bass player absolutely stole the show and there’s genuinely not a single negative word I could throw at them. Shock horror! I do love a good few power riffs and cheesy shreds and no matter how often my musical friends tell me I should not be as impressed by them as I always am… I always am anyways.
Third up were Bad Meds and I’d like to keep this section short because there’s not all that much I can say that isn’t completely objective. Bad Meds are an all out, traditionally styled punk. Credit where it is certainly due, they really are spot on at what they do. Comparisons to a contemporary Sex Pistols or even Rancid, those that like the genre should probably check these guys out because they absolutely will deliver.
Finally we come to our headliners, Sheffield’s very own Wet Nuns. I had a vague idea what to expect from the work I did on the gig preview but these guys seriously outdid all my expectations! A gritty Americano two-piece using the very few aspects of the punk genre I have come to appreciate. I think these guys might just be the strongest band I have reviewed so far; not only in personal preference, but stage presence and over all competence. What truly sold Wet Nuns to me though, was the stand up routine they managed to perfectly weave into their set list. A risky trick you might think but when you’re as genuinely funny and sharp on the hecklers and audience banter as these guys are it becomes a more than worthy edition to their performance. When you can keep your audience by the nuts with jokes about green poo and service stations you’re doing something right.
There’s little I can think to compare this band to and would seriously urge folks to go check out their Facebook page even if, as I feel myself, you don’t believe my review does them the justice they deserve. Imagine the mutant child of Pantera and the Chilli Peppers and you could be about half way to Wet Nuns. Grunge meets punk meets grit meets metal meets blues. An energetic and sweaty performance with some fine showmanship, all laced with riffs and drum solos and a comedy show to boot; what the hell’s not to like?
Reviewer: Dan Berryman
Editor: Joe ManGone
Photographer: Robyn Lees-Connor
All of the above is to be taken as nothing but opinion and comment. The views expressed do not reflect the views of anyone else at ManGoneBlog or otherwise.