Gindrinker - Tommy's Bar, Cardiff
The evening begins not with a bang but with a whimper, lead singer DC Gates takes to the stage in world weary fashion, looking for all the world like a "cool" teacher who's been chewed up and spat out by the system. Howling guitars soon fill the air, like Sabbath fed backwards through a Moulinex, providing a sonic insight into the state of mind of Gates. You can take Gindrinker at face value and dismiss them as a novelty band, with songs such as "God of Darts" ostensibly eulogising Bully, the cartoon star of Bullseye but, as demonstrated here tonight, the laughter of the audience becomes ever more nervous as they realise that Gates is a man at odds with the realities of human existence.
Blur may have found modern life rubbish but one suspects that Gindrinker would have found any era rubbish. They deal in micro-drama and throw a spotlight upon the tragic and pathetic minutiae which characterise our lives - when he rants of a "Frey Bentos pie of a man" we know we've seen him at the bus-stop. In the world of Gindrinker we patently could not become heroes, not even for one second. Moments of respite come when Gates takes up his cornet, punctuating the deathly guitar riffs with staccato brass, but these are brief interludes and the cornet is cast aside as though Gates has just recalled more scorn to pour upon the world. They are here to promote their "Work it out" single, a tale of a man who arrives at the conclusion that he has been forsaken by God. Such commited misanthropy is hardly likely to win over the masses but they certainly give this crowd something to think about, guitarist Graf McGraf leaving an indelible impression as he forges a path from the stage to the bar and ends the show by hammering out deafening atonal shrieks from his guitar as he batters it into the ceiling. We leave the venue in a daze and emerge into a snowstorm, I reflect on the fact that Buddy Holly died in such a storm 50 years ago to the day. That was the day the music died but it has taken 50 years for Gindrinker to come along and give it a decent burial.