- by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date: Label:
I look to my right and see someone dressed as a cross between a pink poodle and Geri Halliwell, a blood-soaked surgeon and someone in one of those bird-like plague masks. A scary looking clown, a Nun, and Dracula himself. They’re all out tonight. Right in front of me, there’s a guy who looks remarkably like a young Nick Cave (although I think that’s just a coincidence). This, dear reader, is just the audience.
It’s Halloween, truly the most wonderful time of the year and Preston’s premier noise-rock mischief makers Evil Blizzard have just rolled into town. For those not yet familiar with Satan’s very own house band here are a few introductory facts. They’re from Preston, the core line-up consists of four bass players and a singing drummer and they dress like its Halloween every single day.
First up tonight there’s a set from local legends Bilge Pump. There was a time when I’d see these noisy madmen on a reasonably regular basis but it’s been a long time (far too long) since I’ve seen them play. Observe their crazy rhythms, Beefheart-ian song structures and insatiable lust for head-nodding yet complex riffs. Sitting at the more bizarre end of the post-punk spectrum, it’s a pleasure to discover that they’re even noisier than I remember.
Joe Mask sweating as he lunges into his guitar, every song drenched in feedback and inventive, freewheeling noise. Bassist/vocalist Emlyn Jones and drummer Neil Turpin riding pleasingly unpredictable grooves. ‘Om Nom Savoy’ moving from propulsive post-punk thunder through jazzy, discordant breakdowns and back again. Like catching up with a long lost (slightly crazy) friend, I hope it isn’t too long before I see them again. I like their style.
“The next band” I overhear someone say “like being called shit”. It would be fair to say that Evil Blizzard have a very close and particularly unique relationship with their devoted fan base; actively encouraging them to boo. Flicking V’s at the front row. Pantomime villains with a penchant for bass-heavy noise. Welcome to the worst show on Earth. I think you’re going to enjoy it.
Someone from the Blizzard crew strategically places a few cans of cider around the stage, the band appearing soon after. Stomper, Kav, Prowler, and Filthy Dirty arrive dressed like an explosion in a fancy dress shop. Dirty looking like the Jokers long lost cousin. Additional electronic noise (and generally menacing vibes) coming from Blizzpig and a new member that looks a little like Doctor Doom.
Drummer/ vocalist Side calls us something a little bit rude (I couldn’t possibly repeat it here) and they launch into the thunderous and appropriately titled ‘Hello’. It really is something you have to experience. There’s a genuine giddy thrill about an Evil Blizzard show, a rush of noise that pulls you along for the ride. A cathartic, and immensely fun, punk rock circus.
Much is said about the band's appearance and it’s obviously an important part of the show but it’s the music that provides the biggest rush. The epic ‘Pull God from the Sky’ is introduced as “a bit prog” (prog being a somewhat dirty word in the Blizzard vocabulary) but proves to be a hypnotic and powerful excursion into new territory.
The gargantuan ‘Sacrifice’ with its never-ending and impossibly badass bass riff and the glam-goth angst of ‘Unleash the Misery’ are embraced with the sweaty fervour they deserve. Even if that adoration manifests itself as booing. The audience happily exchanging middle-fingers with the madmen on stage.
By the time anthemic fan favourite ‘Are You Evil?’ bursts forth the whole place has gone absolutely wild. A stage invasion that finds a rather sizable chunk of the audience dancing around next to the band. The rest of us singing along for all we’re worth. Audience members playing bass as a band member crowd surfs through the sea of madness. Whether you’re evil or simply a little intrigued, you need to go and see these anarchic reprobates live as soon as humanly possible.