Live Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: Pagan, Phoxjaw, The Mother’s Ruin, Bristol, 21/11/2018

In life there’s certain combinations that just go together: peanut butter and jam; the Kardashians and plastic surgery; yin and yang; and now, Phoxjaw and Pagan! The two bands have just finished a UK tour which went from strength to strength, and we joined the sold-out crowd at Phoxjaw‘s favourite home-town pub, The Mother’s Ruin, for some Pagan worship and phoxy rock ‘n’ roll.

Crammed into the upstairs of Bristol’s alt-music hub, fans are armpit to elbow and ready to face what Phoxjaw have to offer. With their debut EP Goodbye Dinosaur… as their Weapon, we know this will be a hometown show to remember. The make shift stage and set-up is basic, which is all that’s needed for these up-and-comers. The band riff and rip through their tracks, each bringing its own chaos. They treat the crowd to three unreleased tracks, Melt Me A Face of Wax, Whale and opener, Monday Man, which are received with headbanging that erupts the stage, and the band cling to their instruments for dear life. 

The band show off technical skill and boast ability with a 7/4 time signature section that adds a dimension that simultaneously disturbs and sucks you in. Its a hot mess; thrashing drums lulled to control by growling guitar tones, its very familiar yet alien. Danny Garland‘s gritty vocals screams Deftones,  but like said band, there’s something unique and undefinable to their live performances. It’s pure: blood, sweat, tears and determination. By closer and crowd-pleaser Triceratops Garland seems burnt out with his vocals catching on strenuous melodies, but the band bounce back the imperfection and mould it into a gritty line that bares all. It’s a live show that is raw and filled with such talent. Each member is a master of their craft; it’s like a staged car crash you want to listen to forever.

You can tell this band have only tapped the surface with this recently released record, they’ve evolved and they are getting ready to say Goodbye Dinosaur… – we can’t wait to say hello to their future material! 8/10

Australians are known for being the life and soul of the party and apparently this is true of the their bands too! Pagan bound onto the stage with a ready-to-go energy. Vocalist Nikki Bruman is a like a power surge and when opener Il Malocchio Si Apre hits she blows the place to pieces with her beastly screams.

By our favourite, Holy Water, everyone is immersed in the Pagan cult. Guitar and drums lead this heavy worship into earthquake, and soon we are lead to Blood Moon by the seductive but brutal vocals. Florescent Snakes is a crowd favourite, with Bruman swinging the mic in unison to beat downs like a musical ritual. Their sound is tight and perfectly executed in every song, and although each needs a bit more differentiation in delivery, it’s one big inviting mess and we can’t look away!

As cyclical closer Il Malocchio Si Chude ends the hardcore ritual everyone seems burnt out. Vocals are this band’s strength and it’s refreshing to see a female who breaks down gender barriers through sheer talent. This band is unique and pushes a lot of other bands in this genre aside. In the words of our new favourite screamer, “it’s cold outside for Australians, but we brought the inferno tonight.” We can’t wait to see what these ones to watch have to offer in the new year! 7/10

Written by: Charly Phillips