Photos by Liam Hancock
Whilst it may not be an ethos, it cannot be denied that in naming your band ‘God Damn’ you are going to bring yourself some unwanted attention. Penchant for potential controversy aside, the band have a loyal and ever growing fan base – especially since their recent signing to label One Little Indian (home to none other than Bjork, you know) – and as a result, the return to home soil prior to the release of their debut album feels pretty poignant.
Whilst you are definitely getting a whole lotta bang for your buck (4 bands for £6), there are moments when the choice of support feels a bit disjointed. The 10+ minutes of one particular WOMEN song saw a good portion of the audience head to the bar, whilst WEATHERBAD – for all their visual enthusiasm and skill – channelled a more classic sound that, given the territory, ultimately failed to be memorable. It is a shame then that THE SCRIBERS, as the first band on the bill, opened to such a small audience in comparison, as their blend of ska and indie as well as the heavier side of things hits upon a sweet spot that sticks, even if it does – at times – sound reminiscent of turn of the century nu-metal.
By the time God Damn take to the stage the crowd is brimming with palpable energy. It is a mix of ages, but no one escapes the vocal onslaught of Thom Edward and the attack of Ash Weaver, who beats his kit with such a ferocious vigour it begs to wonder how he fails to cause injury to either himself or the crowd. As a pair they pack more punch as a two piece than acts of more than double their number fail to muster, and this night at The Slade Rooms – one of Wolverhampton’s smaller venues – is no different. Split distinctly into two halves, the first segment of their set is comprised largely of unrecognisable songs as the audience are given a glimpse of the band’s eagerly anticipated first album, and sprinkled into the ruckus are some of God Damn’s more recent output – namely ‘Shoe Prints In The Dust‘ and its b-side ‘It’s A Pity‘ – whilst the doom-laden chug of last year’s ‘Heavy Money‘ grips the horde by the throat.
However, it is the return of Dave Copson – God Damn’s second guitarist who was seriously injured in an accident last year – that really highlights an already impressive show. Stepping onstage to a hero’s welcome, as a trio, the band dig out some of their older material; it is an indelible release of energy, and the gurning chant of ‘Fought In The Mirror’ has lost none of its potency – as has ‘I’m A Lazer, You’re A Radar’ – and a rare outing of namesake ‘God Damn’ has the crowd whipped into a rabid frenzy.
This all halts with the more sombre tones of ‘Dangle Like Skeletons’, a song that has come over recent months to symbolise the beginning of the end. Crowdsurfing aside, this is the end, and yet also just the beginning for God Damn, and tonight feels like a small goodbye to the local scene, as well as a foreshadowing of future heights.