EAGULLS - Bristol Fiddlers
Eagulls have always a touring band. Even before their debut album release in 2014, they traversed back and forth all over the UK, building a goodly size following. Playing support to bands like the Manics, Franz Ferdinand and Muse they travelled further afield to main land Europe and then over the pond for festivals in the good 'ole USA, eventually getting a spot on American TV legend David Letterman's late night show:
After a short hiatus recording their new album "Ullages", they return to road test new tracks and give an airing to old favourites. I managed to catch up with them at Bristol Fiddlers, a venue that is a converted 18th century prison, so I felt right at home. With a capacity of 450, the venue wasn't sold out, but the band managed to attract a creditable gathering filling about three quarters of the available space. Whilst their previous success does not seem to have afforded them the luxury of roadies and guitar techs, it was quite refreshing to see the old-school approach of the band humping their own equipment onstage, undertaking the mandatory tuning up and later selling their own merchandise.
To ease the crowd in gently, firm favourites kicked off the show with "Tough Luck", "Nerve Endings" and "Yellow Eyes" banged out in quick succession, all of which being warmly received. The middle section was handed over to newer tracks, the two most obvious being "Lemon Tree" and "Life in Rewind" both of which they have already previewed on social media. On listening to these numbers recently there seemed to be a softening in the all-out aural assault the band previously used, with both tracks being slower and more melodic. I was slightly worried that what had originally attracted me to the band was now being dissipated, but live the tracks fit seamlessly into their repertoire of older songs.
Further new tracks "Scale Man" and "Stab in the Dark" follow, before the band round off the evening careering into their back catalogue, to unleash the onslaught of "Yellow Eyes", "Coffin", "Opaque" and finishing with a blistering "Possessed", that had the venue turned into a maelstrom of arms and legs as pent up energy was instantaneously freed in a frenzied pit.
Undoubtedly the release, and commercial success, of their new release will have a critical influence on the future of the band. I guess ultimately there is only so long they can endure the rigours of life constantly on the road, but hopefully, the impetus they previously built up can be continued and they get the wider recognition they deserve.
Bands like Eagulls deserve a place in the mass produced, homogenised, British music scene as they offer a real alternative to the bland, corporately driven, R'n'B that spews out of the radio 24/7. So if they play a venue local to you, and given their history they almost certainly will, go along, have a great night, and in so doing support the fight back of rock music.