Black Bullet Live played host to the first night of the Turbowolf UK Tour which kicked off in Oxford. With more energy than a teenager on their second can of Red Bull, there were thrills and spills as drinks went flying on stage and someone’s crunchie bar failed to survive the raging mosh pit.
Hyena opened the evening with their monster guitar riffs and they had a sound that was heavy from the outset. With raw sounding vocals and great harmonies, that worked really well with the edginess the band had, the songs were fast paced, almost frenetic at times and the band sounded polished as they went through their set. Debut single ‘Mental Home’ was full of great sounding guitars, which was given a slightly punk infusion with their live sound and ‘Dogbreath’ was delivered at a blistering pace. Ending their set with new track ‘Come Down To Hilo’, Hyena are going to impress any crowd that goes to see Turbowolf.
Dolomite Minor have already graced a stage at Glastonbury and so have gained a reputation as a duo to see with their live performances. With their fuzzy rock, that has a blues infusion along with stoner and doom influences at times, this was a band that was delightfully loud. With a searing guitar and drums that pulverised the venue, the vocals were a great contrast as they had a more delicate tone to them, which at times were intense and dark sounding, which made it a memorable set. Full of raw sounding guitars, ‘When I’m Dead’ and ‘Talk Like An Aztec’ with its hypnotic guitar intro sounded immense, whilst ‘Let Me Go’ had one of those guitar riffs that sounded downright filthy, and you can’t ask for better than that.
Turbowolf certainly weren’t a band that took a song or two to warm up, as this was an excellent high-octane set from the start. With fake flowers strewn across the equipment, this gave a false sense of security of gentleness, as the band weren’t going to take any prisoners during their set. Entirely original with their sound as they changed from rock to pyschedelia, touches of prog and punk, they played an excellent set of infectious songs, such as ‘Rabbits Foot’ and ‘Sons Of Gold’. However, with singer Chris Georgiadis crowd surfing during the opening song, concentration may have gone out of the window with what songs exactly were played as you stood transfixed, wondering just what he was going to do next. Chaotic, touches of near insanity, with a lot of charisma and dedicating each song to someone, it is hard to think of anyone else who has this much energy and stage presence, and it was a sight to behold, thrilling even. It was exhausting just watching him. Highlights included getting a member of the audience to play the keyboards, pushing into the mosh pit and bouncing off the crowd, moving to the bar and slurping someone’s drink, before climbing on the bar, still singing at a relentless pace. Then putting a lot of faith in the crowd there, he dived off the bar and into them. Thankfully they caught him otherwise it may have been a rather short set and a visit to the John Radcliffe A&E Department.
With the dedication of the next song going to producer Tom Dalgety who was in the crowd, no one who knew the band were immune from the wit before giving the crowd a choice between ‘Seven Severed Heads’ and ‘Things Could Be Good Again’. There may have been a couple of people that cheered for the latter so ‘Seven Severed Heads’ was the popular choice as voted by the people. Getting the crowd to wave their arms during ‘A Rose For The Crows’ which seemed like a sea of hands, Chris once again tempted fate by taking a running jump off the stage and dived into the crowd, who were getting good at catching him by this point. Leading the crowd into chanting “oohhmmm” as they were just going to think the next song, rather than sing it, the band then took it “to the edge of reason for the next 7 minutes”. Which was definitely an understatement as Turbowolf had been at the edge of reason since the set began, and brilliant it was too as ‘Rich Gift’ was so intense it left the crowd in stunned silence, before ‘Read + Write’ brought with it more delicious craziness. Getting everyone to hold hands as the music tripped away in the background which brought a connection with everyone there, and dragging the set out for as long as possible as they didn’t want it to end before standing there for a minute just to show that this was in fact the encore, ‘Let’s Die’ was a final chance to savour what had been an intense, raucous, effervescent, bordering on madness at times, and utterly brilliant Turbowolf set throughout.