Orchid At Dingwalls: Live Review

By on 5 November 2013


Last Sunday, Californian riff hounds Orchid hit London’s Dingwalls as part of a stupidly good lineup that also included Texan hard rockers Scorpion Child and Sweden’s soulful Blues Pills. Terrorizer’s Hannah May Killroy was there to get groovy…




Sunday night gigs are never an appealing proposition (particularly when you’ve just rolled off a 4-hour bus from Damnation festival, but the less said about that the better); however despite the day in question the largely bellbottom-clad, bearded punters have come out in their droves tonight to watch four relatively new bands who all take their cues from heavy rock’s heyday of the ’60s and ’70s, but with different approaches.

First up are Zodiac, whose Southern-tinged swagger would lead to you believe they hail from the swamps of the American south, but the quartet are actually German. Their set tonight is sadly short at only four songs, but nonetheless gets the audience moving and shaking.

Following are Swedes Blues Pills, whose performance leaves all in awe. The foursome are led by the charismatic Elin Larsson; swinging her long blonde mane and shaking a tambourine in a fringed dress, she is a delight to watch, but even more of a delight to hear. Her frankly mind-blowing voice is pumped with gusto and power, while every rich purr and wail is note-perfect. Though it’s the standout feature, the music is also stellar; their psychedelic, wistful blues rock is padded out with instrumental sections tonight, which certify their solid songwriting skills.

Next up are Scorpion Child: their debut album earlier this year was a stomping set of infectious, West Coast-style rock jams so good that it hinted the Texans could one day reach stadium rock band status. Their UK live debut tonight, however, suggests that it may take a while for them to get there. While they have the songs, which are ridiculously polished on record, their live excursion is a much more chaotic affair; sweaty, boisterous and no doubt beer-fuelled, they cut a raucous presence on stage that’s certainly more garage than stadium. While it’s no doubt entertaining, one can’t help but think that they could be destined for so much more.

Lastly, Massachusetts quartet Orchid take to the stage. Though often dismissed as Sabbath wannabes, their live persona is less Sabbathian and more Southern twanged, as they plough through a set bursting with booty shakin’ grooves. Variety isn’t their strong point when it comes to songwriting, but they give the tightest performance of the evening and succeed in getting the audience revved up, even if some of the audience scoot off early to catch the last trains. Think all new music is rubbish and yearn for rock’s day of yore? Tonight’s performances of fresh takes on classic sounds quench every last cinder of such cynicism.

WORDS: Hannah May Kilroy

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About Kez Whelan

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