Welcome to OUTTA THE HOUSE, our new live review series on the SPIT blog.
Sweat clings to the walls like black treacle - I can barely see the shit under my fingernails in the dim light. Christmas hits of the past murmur softly through the walls of the venue, and my head aches in a fashion not dissimilar to the dangerous nature of Mount Etna, erupting frantically at any given second as I bravely attempt to scramble my way through this boozer, glass of icy water in hand.
“I’ve been here before…” I keep thinking, everything seems all too familiar, the stage lights are blinding, the chatter of the crowd is deafening - is this a dream? Have I fallen into a deep state of unconsciousness, unable to gather my senses and crawl out of this hellish plane?
Alas, I’ve not quite ascended to the fifth dimension, and I’m not the Sun God Ra - I’m actually at the Amersham Arms watching Man Woman Chainsaw again, for the fourth time, to be precise.
And I’m still not bored.
Just at the start of this long, cold Winter, full of COVID variants and Black Friday bullshit, I caught these guys at the MASH Zine gig that Scarlet put on at the Amersham - Man Woman Chainsaw are a primarily four piece outfit, who seem to expand their lineup whenever they feel like doing so. Their sound bounces off the likes of early post-punk groups, namely the Fall, whilst combining this already solid influence with vocal inspiration from Black Country, New Road, Legss, and honestly, a bit of Taylor Swift.
So naturally, you’re already sold. You’ve probably already bought a ticket to their next gig, and there’s no need for you to keep reading. But for those of you who aren’t so easily persuaded, there's more.
Their last lineup at the Amersham Arms for the Big Richard Records end of year party was easily their most captivating yet - at the front of the stage, at their battle stations, we have Vera, Ben and Billy (two guitars and a bass), accompanied by two lads in the form of a brass section. On the drums, behind this already rather large lineup, you can see Layla, completely nailing every song, not missing a single note - easily one of the tightest and stylistically adept drummers I’ve seen live.
I’m not going to go through every bloody song and describe exactly how each one of them went because there's a chance that could be the most horrifically boring thing I've ever written, and nobody wants to read that shit anyway.
Instead, I’ll take you for a waltz, right up to the pit in front of the stage at the Amersham.
It’s a Sunday night, everybody’s either tired from yesterday's shenanigans, or just straight up pissed off because they should’ve been in bed watching Benidorm all day - yet the crowd is moving, somehow. Within the first few notes of the set, the entire crowd, made up of friends of the band, Big Richard associates and other degenerates, is swaying first to their left, then to their right, to the booming sound of a cover of the Universal Studios theme blasting through the PA. The pop culture reference, at first glance, resembles the auditory silhouette of a 21st century meme, yet it still, somehow, manages to stir something inside me - whether that’s the vibrations from the speakers making my stomach turn, or something else, I can’t say for sure.
I reckon it’s important to note that Man Woman Chainsaw’s next song is tensely commenced using the tune of “Mamma Mia!” as an introduction - leading on to their original track, Red Mist. Ben, one of the two guitarists in the band, begins to take on a lead role, proceeding to gaze at the audience whilst laying down lines upon lines of spoken word on top of this slow, dissonant tune, sitting like a bed of spikes underneath Ben’s captivating voice.
The brass section - especially in the band’s cover of “Look What You Made Me Do” by Taylor Swift - go absolutely nuts. Consisting of a trombone and a trumpet, the two are by the side of the stage, glued together thanks to the lack of space on there, and they’re absolutely honking down those pipes, it feels like there should be smoke coming out of their ears at the rate these boys are working their instruments.
In the meantime, the audience is still bopping, moving like a tidal wave of bodies, you could almost hear the feet rubbing against the booze stained floor over the PA, slipping and sliding as the pit of doom grows ever bigger.
Further on in the act, guitarist Billy begins to move with the elegance of a spitfire, thrashing his guitar to and fro, their cover of ‘Silent Night’ blaring through the PA - Vera traces his moves on stage, eyes wide open, Löded Diper t-shirt on - the two are like a pair of restless pitbulls and the energy coming from the stage is absolutely phenomenal. Despite how young this band is, their ability to captivate the audience is something to be frightened of. Gone are the days of standing around staring at the ceiling whilst playing Free Bird, it’s time for bands to bring back that rowdy, foot-stomping energy that we lost somewhere in the 90s, and that’s precisely what Man Woman Chainsaw have achieved with their set.
If you get the chance to catch these guys, don’t miss out on it. They’re absolutely mental, and I’ll definitely be seeing them again, so it’s a chance to point out grammatical errors in this review to me in person.