The KullEdit this event
Having floated around the local scene in one guise or another for the best part of a decade now, Nottingham five-piece The Kull still seem to be stuck in some kind of midlife identity crisis. At their best, such as on killer penultimate rocker '18 x Again' they sound like the bastard sons of Six By Seven and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. All testosterone fury and metallic sheen, not to mention visceral and excitingly narcissistic in their delivery. Other times however one gets the impression they're quite unsure just where they sit in terms of genre specification, so rather than letting the organic process take its own course, there's a feeling at times they're trying too hard to fit in. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, just mildly irritating for a band who have the potential to be one of this city's finest for many a year.
Dead Confederate also have a similar quandary, but instead of pushing against their better intentions they simply allow themselves enough breathing space to surge ahead into their own, countrified territory. Hailing from Athens, Georgia, previously renowned in a musical sense for the diverse likes of REM, Neutral Milk Hotel and Mastodon, Dead Confederate occupy such a vast musical landscape that even attempting to pin them down would be a nigh on impossible task. Its this embracing of such diversity that makes their live show such an enthralling proposition. Despite their previous visits to the UK being little more than the opening band on A Place To Bury Strangers early spring tour, that old chestnut word of mouth has engendered a healthy turnout this evening for their first visit to Nottingham, despite the treacherous weather conditions.
The five-piece veer between My Morning Jacket type seance-like monoliths to Brian Jonestown/Warlocks style drones, whilst incorporating a heavier demeanour at times that while not quite befitting of the Nirvana tags that seem to have become synonymous with their name this past year, certainly diminish any notion that they're little more than a straightforward alt-country band with a better lineage in effects pedals and amplification.
Current album Wrecking Ball, only just released over here but already a mainstay of the American underground scene for the past year or so, perhaps doesn't quite do the band's live show justice. Whereas the likes of 'Heavy Petting' and 'Start Me Laughing' feel slightly bereft of urgency on record, here they're nothing short of revelations, basking in a similar propensity to that which Band Of Horses mustered in their last visit to these shores. Older tracks 'Get Out' and 'Shadow The Walls' meanwhile hint at a denser, more incisive sound than perhaps anyone only familiar with the aforementioned record would have expected. That they aren't averse to taking their influence from various sources becomes apparent at various intervals, the opening 'Smoking In A Minor' culled from noisy grungers Officer May's back catalogue while a loud, harangued trawl through Elliott Smith's 'Roman Candle' proves both poignant yet inspired in its execution.
Its left to the closing twelve minute plus vignette of 'Flesh Colored Canvas' to really nail Dead Confederate's flag to the mast, its weaving dynamics from fast-to-slow, quiet-then-loud demonstrating both subtlety and splendour where others with similar ambitions can only try heartily and fail. Having wowed the industry crowds at both 2008 and 2009's South-By-Southwest shindigs, its taken Dead Confederate a long time to finally make their mark over this side of the Atlantic but one suspects after performances like this their next visit won't be quite so long in coming.
- Georgia's finest hit the road: Dead Confederate & The Whigs tour the UK next month
- Dead Confederate - Sugar
- Dot To Dot 2010: The DiS Review
- Dead Confederate, The Kull at Bodega Social, Nottingham, Tue 08 Dec
- Dead Confederate - Wrecking Ball
- Darker my love, A Place To Bury Strangers, Dead Confederate at Cockpit, Leeds, Fri 03 Apr