The Thursday Thing

by Armchair Anarchist

The Thursday Thing’ has run for quite a while now, featuring talent both local, national and, in some cases, international.
Not bad going for a small promotions company running a music night in a chain pub. Tonight though the talent is all local. This is reflected by a change in the usual student-orientated crowd; there is a generous helping of local musos and their associates, keen to see some of the more talked about local acts do their thing. The shortage of small venues in Portsmouth has made gigs like this very important to the local scene; hence everybody is out to ‘represent’. First up are Chillerton. The first sixty seconds was rather uninspiring and the expectation of a samey set of clichéd, angular brutality was setting in. But by the third song or so, there had been a broad enough variety of influences and ideas to force me to reassess my initial opinion. Tipping the cap strongly in the direction of the many manifestations of NY hardcore, Chillerton belt out a brash, tight set of angry yet measured polemic, with enough variety to keep the listener engaged. Industrial strength and no mistake. Next up are Labour In Vain. Featuring ex-members of erstwhile, local grunge heroes Thirst, they launch into an energetic set of funk-influenced power rock. The rhythm section are awesome, the drummer beating his skins with impressive force and timing and the bass player following hot on his heels. But above this, the guitar is fighting for space in the mix alongside the vocal, rendering both somewhat smudgy and unclear. Undeterred (or maybe unaware), the singer is all over the shop with big arm gestures and small acrobatic shenanigans. Top marks for getting mobile, but either a change of guitar or vocal style will definitely make it easier to hear what they’re really trying to do. Tinnitus are number three on the bill. A young, black-clad, straight-up-metal-without-the-bullshit outfit. They impress with good, tight playing, a clear powerful sound and well practiced vocal harmonies that rarely smack of excess. They are confident, skilled and mobile. The riffs are thick and steady, but there's a certain lack of killer hooks, a riff or lyric that really kicks you in the bollocks. To judge by this performance, these are inevitable, given continued application. Last up are local legends Little London. The set is somewhat shambolic, with front-man Dev more than a little inebriated before they take to the stage. Marred also by the breakage of a guitar strap mount, the set retains a good humoured feel despite the hiatus as members of the audience strive to repair the guitar, while the band jam and Dev ad-libs. Simultaneously amusing and raucous, this particular appearance shows the rock-and-roll side of the band perfectly. But it doesn’t showcase the more professional side of them that puts on brisk, high-octane sets of sleazy riff-rock. Most of the crowd seem unconcerned, however...two pounds on the door is a pretty good deal for music and a floor-show.