This is only my second time in the Oobleck, the first being to see some less than impressive hardcore bands that screamed me out of the room. But this time, I’m pleasantly surprised. Though the venue is small, the growls and melodic squeals of bands tuning up their guitars have been echoing around the inner plaza of the Custard Factory for a while, and various leather-clad punks sit drinking beers and dipping their Doctor Martens in the outdoor water feature. While the jointly-owned Alfie Birds next door is unfortunately not doing their delicious chips which I’ve been lusting after forever, I do get a chance to sit down with two of the members of Truckfighters on their tour bus, which you can read about here.
The cave-like room is about half full when Witchrider [8/10] come onstage. These guys hail from Austria, and as a result their accents were a little hard to understand, but that did not stop them from putting on an incredible show which far exceeded expectations for a first support act. They describe themselves as “Occult Stoner Rock” and have a similar sound to Queens of the Stone Age, however are a little more doomy, a little more grinding, which sets all the heads in the venue nodding appreciatively. For the last two songs, including fan-favourite ‘Black’, they were joined by drummer Axel Enzo from Truckfighters, giving them double the drums, and double the raw power. For a band who have signed to their first record label this year, and whose album was released right in the middle of this European tour, their live performance was very impressive.
Next up are White Miles [7/10], a female-fronted grungey duo who claim to be from Madagascar, but I can’t find any convincing evidence to back this up. Medina Rekic’s strong, harsh vocals scorched their way into your brain, and steady smashing from drummer Hansjörg Loferer made for an excellent set, with single ‘False Smile’ being a particular highlight. During one song, the lead singer stage-dived, and was picked up by a burly dude who proceeded to carry her around the room above his head which she made swimming motions. When she eventually made it back to dry land, the vocalist/guitarist from Witchrider joined her to duet on a final raw track. These guys supported Courtney Love earlier this year, and with such a dynamic stage presence, it’s easy to see why.
Finally, clouds of dry ice fill the cave-like room, giving it a strange, ghostly atmosphere as mohicans and shaved heads alike rise up through the smoke. As the members of Truckfighters [8/10] step out onto the stage, eerie twangs and noises come from their idling instruments, and the smoke swirls into sandstorms. With the briefest of introductions, the band launch into latest single ‘Mind Control’, a driving, relentless assault to the senses. While they play many tacks from their newest album Universe, they also give a nod to their huge repertoire of other songs, even doing the full 7 minute version of ‘Desert Cruiser’ from their debut album Gravity-X, which is so immersive that the Oobleck was briefly transformed into some roadside bar from a Mad-Max style dystopian future.
As Truckfighters soloed through the last moments, all the other bands then joined them onstage for a riotous party, and soon beers, rubbish and drumsticks were flying all around as they joyfully celebrated the last show of their long and winding European tour. As their drummer sat exhausted from playing two sets, surrounded by random garbage and confetti, I thought about how rare it is to see a show at such a small venue with such excellent supports -and ones that actually support each other too!