Taking to the shop window of the Nerve Centre, Mashemon are today joined
by Richard M. Nixon. Well, a shop dummy with his face stuck to it at any
rate. Alongside Tricky Dicky who is presumably there to provide Bez-style
‘vibes’, the duo kick off their first set with the New Order
influenced ‘Facts’. The group quickly draws a sizeable crowd
of slightly bemused looking passers-by, drinkers on a fag-break from Renshaws
and Goths who have wandered out of Quiggins across the road. Continuing
with Dull Boy, the track is a spin on the kind of 21st century T-Rex glam
Goldfrapp used to do so well. The porn industry savaging ‘Sanity
Check’ follows, ringing out like ‘Heroes’-era Bowie.
The band’s second set, this time performed indoors aided by a back
projection screen is tougher and more guitar-heavy. Diverting into glitchy
‘Kid A’ style electronica at points, the intertwining of live
guitar, bass and vox with triggered samples, synths and drums blend seamlessly.
The band’s current ‘Removal Music’ LP is promoted by
the brilliantly innovative idea of being free provided the recipient does
a good deed in return. Suggestions in the accompanying text include tipping
buskers generously and contributing to a tramp’s Special Brew fund.
Described in the Nerve Centre programme as a ‘psychedelic jam band’,
The Wild Eyes are exactly that only without the tendency of some psych
bands to disappear off into the melodic ether never to return. Opening
with the same delay pedal glide as early U2 they move onto to Velvet Underground
motorik beats and Dylan-style vocals in quick succession. Strongly influenced
by the Nuggets collection, a digest of the greatest one-hit wonders, almost
were’s and never-had-a-chance bands of the US underground in the
mid 1960s, The Wild Eyes augment this with a large dollop of My Bloody
Valentine style guitar clatter. The Nuggets tracks staple elements were
the trebly aggression of The Who, the melodic nouse of The Beatles, The
Stones’ swagger and a large portion of strangeness entirely of their
own making and so it goes here.
The backdrop of the Nerve Centre and the varied crowd makes the group
appear like The Yardbirds during their cameo as the in-house club band
in Blow-Up. Battering through one track with drumming that would have
done the Jesus and Mary Chain proud, the band’s economy is to be
praised, singer-guitarist Huw wringing the maximum amount out of a single
chord before switching briefly for the chorus to one other. Using the
array of FX pedals at his feet sparingly so the sound doesn’t become
saturated, he deftly steers the three-piece through the changes in tempo
and texture with many of the tracks moving through various movements in
the space of four minutes.
The finale however stretches things out to epic proportions. Beginning
with a long-drawn incantation that recalls early Verve before sparking
into life and speeding up, they squeeze the life out of a three-note guitar
riff made vast by the cavernous reverb FX. Concluding their set in just
over half hour which has seemingly felt like a quarter of that amount
of time, The Wild Eyes’ pupils are fixed firmly on the future whilst
acknowledging the sound-sources of the past.