The Wild Eyes & Mashemon

The Nerve Centre (open from 13/8/10 - 11/9/10)
The Old Rapid Paint Shop, Renshaw Street
Saturday 4th September 2010

Reviewed by Richard Lewis

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.

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