Live Review: The Battery Farm / Cold Water Swimmers / GÜTS / Furrowed Brow – The Peer Hat, Manchester, UK, November 8th 2019

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The Battery Farm / Cold Water Swimmers / GÜTS / Furrowed Brow

The Peer Hat, Manchester, UK - November 8th 2019

Tonight sees us descend into the basement of The Peer Hat, a venue that has established a reputation for hosting nights that lie on the dark fringes of the alternative scene, tonight The Battery Farm are headlining an Abattoir Blues Records curated four band line up that also features Cold Water Swimmers, GÜTS and Furrowed Brow. Ever since the demise of The Madding Crowd the Corry Brothers, Dominic and Ben, have been plotting their return, but The Battery Farm are a much darker prospect than their former outfit, as their debut single ‘I Am A Man‘ indicated, the siblings have teamed up with bassist Paul Worrall and drummer Sam Parkinson to deliver a guttural and visceral reflection of a sick sick world.

Fairly typically for a gig at The Peer Hat as soon as you arrive you can find of the members of the bands appearing tonight in the bar, the heating is on full blast to counteract the arctic chill outside so layers are frantically being shed as people enter the venue. Despite this tonight’s opening act, Furrowed Brow, are all still clad in fake fur for their set of dystopian stripped back post punk that captures the spirit of The Fall’s chaotic legacy perfectly. Furrowed Brow also represent part of the new wave of pissed off outspoken post punk bands that are emerging in the wake of austerity, they are shambolic, eccentric and are gleefully doing things very much on their own terms. as are a multitude of moths that are dancing in the stage lights.

Next up is GÜTS, from the off an overdriven bassline drags you into their dark and dirty world, led by their demented frontman Liam O’Neill who is gyrating, cavorting & strutting his way across the stage like a burlesque act from hell, he is flanked by the twin attack of bass and guitar who deliver the head down no nonsense meancing blues punk soundtrack. This is growling, fuzzed out sexual menace, if you took GÜTS home to meet you parents they would probably sleep with them and then empty the liquor cabinet, seemingly possessed by the spirit of something unholy GÜTS are the scum punk personification of the dark side of rock ‘n roll, which is of course the only side that matters, tonight they were mesmerising in all their filthy glory.

With the moths still dancing in the stage lights it’s time for the penultimate band, Cold Water Swimmers, who not for the first time tonight, and not for the last time either, are a band I have no prior reference point for. Tonight is a showcase for the dark underbelly of Manchester’s underground scene and Cold Water Swimmers dovetail onto GÜTS set perfectly, this is dark brooding garage punk that channels the spirit of the Stooges and who ignite the molotov cocktail with a touch of incendiary punk attitude. As is typical for the Abattoir Blues Records nights this is an eclectic smorgasbord and Cold Water Swimmers bring another element into play on tonights diverse bill of original bands.

After the unexpected and sudden demise of The Madding Crowd it was inevitable the core duo of the band would resurface, but what form it would take was anyone’s guess, although it’s doubtful anyone would have predicted The Battery Farm. Opening with a guttural and passionate introduction of “We. Are. The. Battery. Farm. And. This. Is. How. It. Feels”, something that is underlined throughout their set and acts as the mission statement for the onslaught that is to follow. The Battery Farm unleash a wall of noise that almost defies description, post punk, noise rock, hardcore and punk rock are mashed to together to create their self styled ‘doom punk’ soundtrack.

The Battery Farm is a visceral, vicious and raw reflection of the modern world, this is miles away from the unhinged and upbeat style of The Madding Crowd, the Corry brothers have reinvented themselves with a dark cathartic scream at the injustice and intolerance of the modern world, there are minor elements from their former outfit that infect their sound but largely this is dark, chaotic noise that can’t be contained. This. Is. The. Battery. Farm. And. This, Is. Exactly. How. 2019. Feels. If you want a definition of an inclusive night that showcases the original and unheralded sounds from the underground then you really should dig into your wallet and hand over a fiver for the next Abattoir Blues Records curated night. As we leave the venue to head back into the frozen Manchester night the moths continue to dance in the stage lights to their own inaudible beat. 

Live photography is by Dean Unsworth, his Instagram account is located here and you can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slide show of the images