Published on February 13th, 2015 | by The Beige Baron0
Live Review: Blood Duster
Review by The Nazzarene
Before last Friday’s show at the Factory in Marrickville, it had been 15 long years since last my last Blood Duster transfusion.
My first introduction to these veteran masters of grinding death rock was back in 1995. Life was pretty exciting back then. I was in a band, and we went down to Melbourne to promote the one and only CD we ever released. Jeff Halls, an intimidating figure in the Melbourne scene, had kindly organised for us to support the Duster. I think the show was at the Esplanade, and their now classic Yeest EP had just been released.
They were really shredding in those days. Very large McDonald’s flag as their backdrop, and Tone Bone with various marital aids in hand driving the large crowd into a frenzy. Having led a pretty sheltered life, this was my first proper intro to grindcore and Cookie Monster vocals. Back in the early ’90s I had seen albums by Carcass, Cannibal Corpse, and the like in music shops, but they seemed just a little too extreme for my tastes. I had probably heard examples of the genre around the traps, but my mind was too narrow to accept the punishment on offer.
Various factors that night made me a Blood Duster convert. The fine riffs of course, the precision, the twisted atmosphere, and the effortless fretwork and grin on the face of their guitarist. He seemed the odd one out compared to the other three longhairs: Timberland boots, shorts, polo shirt, blond curly hair, cap, like he’d just come down from the farm. But he produced such sinister grooves from his low-slung axe.
I became a big fan of their first three releases, and I saw them a few times in the late ’90s. But then I moved away for the next several years and lost track of them.
A month ago I was glad to find out they were coming back to Sydney. My first time at the Factory, I was very pleased to be able to buy beer in glass, and not plastic. I was not to be disappointed by the show, perhaps other than the somewhat skimpy length of the performance, coming in at about 30 minutes.
But there more riffs and double-kicks per-square-minute than anyone could hope for.
I like how easygoing these guys seem to be after years in the scene. They show no pretensions, and still seem to have an excellent sense of humour. It was like they were playing to a group of friends at a party. The room was small and pretty full, maybe about 150 punters. A band of this quality and longevity really deserves a much bigger crowd, to help them recover losses from the digital holocaust. But it is hard to beat the intimacy of a gig that size.
It was great to see a few young female metalheads up the front. Given the colourful lyrical and artistic content on offer from this band, one has to wonder if the percentage of psychopaths among their fans is significantly above the national average. But everyone behaved impeccably.
At one point a rabid headbanger somehow got his hair stuck in Jason PC’s bass strings.
Once they finally started playing, all hell broke loose. I had noted the “strictly no stage-diving” signs on my way into the venue, but a heavily diseased eye was turned by management.
It was beautiful and cathartic to see people going completely berserk to the pulsating sounds. I winced as a number of the divers, including the girls, miraculously escaped paraplegia during Kill, Kill, Kill and then most of the other songs. I tried to stay in the corner in front to exercise my neck muscles unobtrusively, but at one point a fellow punter pushed me deep into the mayhem. For this I was grateful.
The current lineup is solid. I was satisfied with the guitarist’s sound and fretwork, and Rizzo the new-old drummer was in very good form. Tone Bone is an unbeatable front man, and really deserves some kind of lifetime grind achievement award. Although looking a little weathered compared to his former ’95 self, he wore a tasteful pair of reflective shades, and delivered some superb growls. More than once this week my wife has told me to shut up as I subconsciously mimic the great man under my breath.
At one point a rabid headbanger somehow got his hair stuck in Jason PC’s bass strings. Extremely funny. Even PC looked genuinely surprised by this level of metal commitment. As my old comrade Toby Doctor, he of the lazy eyelid, remarked afterwards: “They played a fair bit of fuckin’ old stuff, eh.”
I left very satisfied, and look forward to when they next return to Sydney.
Blood Duster play tonight, Friday 13th at The Underdog in Brisbane, and at The Tote in Collingwood on February 20th.
Photograph by Tyson Hatton