Following on from the release of their critically acclaimed sophomore record The Free Life (You can read our stellar review here) Turbowolf are back with their biggest headline run to date. The group have been rightfully gaining recognition since their debut release in 2011, with their hometown of Bristol being the hotbed of their fan base. Capping off the UK leg of the tour with a hometown date, we caught them alongside Puppy and Big Spring.
Whilst the rest of the line-up has their own distinctive persona and sonic aesthetics, opener Big Spring (7.5) choose to pursue a more middle of the road experience. However, as they show within their set, this isn’t a criticism in the slightest. There’s an unmistakable grunge orientated noise to the act, with a solid, concrete and omnipresent bassline providing the foundation of their sound. Whilst such bass duties are an important factor within their recorded work, such an aspect proves to be a crucial element of their live set, with such reverberating lines proving to be irresistibly infectious.
The vocals also compliment the grunge inspired tones present, with such fluttering and wavering vocals reminiscent of the early founders of the genre. However, the way they are presented live tonight seems effortless, easy and almost lethargic, further complimenting and reinforcing their grungy aesthetic. It’s a safe sound, one that’s universally approachable and agreeable, but at the same time infectious on an unconscious level.
Puppy (8) are an act who have been lately cutting up a multitude of various demographical scenes, and for good reason. Opening with the metallic doom inspired riff of ‘Entombed’, they perfectly project their classic metal inspired aesthetics and inspirations without delving into any exhausted or cliched stereotypes. Blasting into thunderous performances of ‘Just Like You’ and ‘The Great Beyond’, this act is all about one thing - riffs. And boy, do they deliver. Each track contains its own extremely engaging and hooking riffs bolstered by tight symbol patterns that form the basis of their sound.
Yet one of the most striking elements of this act is the vocal efforts of Jack Norton, who’s smooth, melancholic and high-pitched vocals offer juxtaposition against the 80’s era metal orientated music being projected. It’s a great contrast, one that flawlessly enraptures the creativity and unique charm of this act, whilst being performed perfectly. Every single minuscule change in dynamics and tone hits like a tonne of bricks and highlights the brilliant unique nature of this band. Leaving the stage to cheers and applause after a flawless rendition of ‘Forever’, Puppy prove they're more than the sum of their parts and establish that they’re one of the most crucial, contemporary and interesting bands on the scene right now.
Last night of tour. Biggest hometown show to date. It’s Turbowolf (10) for Christ’s sake. Given these circumstances this was always destined to be guaranteed party, but I don’t believe anyone was expecting a shindig as wild as this. Opening with The Free Life hit ‘Capital X’, the group waste no time projecting the eccentric and kaleidoscopic themes within their latest album. But as the group sweep though electrifying performances of 2015’s ‘American Mirrors’ and ‘Cheap Magic’ such vital and defining sonic features are only amplified to extreme levels live. The stage is where Turbowolf naturally belong, conjuring pure energy and conducting the sheer psychedelic rock n’ roll mayhem that unravels before them.
As the group delve into the kitsch nature of ‘Solid Gold’ before descending into the punk sensibilities of ‘Blackhole’, one of the most appealing elements of this show is how the material from The Free Life blends seamlessly with their older tracks. Yes, there’s an audible difference between the material live, with their self-titled material carrying a much more raw sound in comparison to their much more developed current content, but the way such tones dance and compliment each other is fantastic. It’s an absolute testament to their growth over the years as musicians.
The sheer, remarkable amount of energy being whipped up is mind boggling, with such raw power seeping into every punter in attendance. The flamboyance of front man Chris Georiadis only adds volumes to this, with the crowd eating up with his flashy showmanship and perfectly delivered vocals. Throughout the entire set he has the crowd eating from the palm of his hand, teasing them with hints of the hit single ‘Domino’ and ‘A Rose For Crows’ before launching head first into explosive renditions of such tracks. Vibrant and bombastic, he’s the absolute embodiment of this weird and wonderful act.
As Turbowolf crash into 'Rabbits Foot' and set closer 'The Free Life', with the glamorous bassist Lianna Lee Davis adding a feminine touch with her vocal efforts, tonight feels like a true home coming for the act. As everyone leaves gleaming with ecstasy and covered in a thin veil of sweat and alcohol, not only have they solidified themselves as heroes of the DIY psychedelic rock scene but tonight as felt like their official induction as Bristolian music legends.