Tweak Bird, Nano-Tyrannus SUB071, Leiden, 10/4/2015

Was it loud enough though? It was one of those gigs that was loud and sounded quiet, the power being held back for the odd surprising spurt of white noise.

A packed SUB is always an exciting thing. At time of writing the most rock and roll bike shed in the Netherlands seems to be about to enter its last phase. According to the local paper, "plans" are afoot to redevelop the area round Leiden's station area "after summer" - so SUB's goose may finally be cooked. This does, however, mean that SUB shows take on an extra resonance. And this show by Tweak Bird and Nano-Tyrannus was one of those incredible nights where astral and magical forces aligned to give the musty old room a most peculiar "Rock" glow. Sub's glow is a wondrous thing to behold. It's a beery, dusty, bodily fug that - whilst unpleasant in a lit, or empty room - makes this tiny space feel like being wrapped in a monstrously spacious comfort blanket, albeit one that has been ridiculously amplified.

The room was packed, with Heads spilling out from the gloaming of the stage area onto the stairs and into the tiny foyer. This was deffo an event. Squeezing to the front to watch Nano-Tyrannus playing meant getting blasted by the PA and not being able to move for a good 20 minutes, but on the night this wasn't an issue. The band's music (a mix of sub-Dinosaur and poppy, if ever-so-slightly rasping stoner) was pretty darned good. They wanted to please too; relying on exploiting hooks and riffs and showcasing astute changes in direction. The big gruff beardo singer affected a backwoodsman vibe and his whining vocals carried a fair bit of presence; he's obviously the boss man, though and in a way you felt the band were making music for his stories alone. They did everything they set out to do well, balancing out each element  pretty assuredly, making you wonder whether they were playing some sort of talent contest. Though I got the feeling they played an EXTRA LONG SHOW just cos they were supporting Tweak Bird, which - I suppose - is a compliment in itself.

Then the main event. Fear of losing out on the beer front (it's always an issue in SUB of carrying at least 2 bottles around, given LaLa Land prices, and not losing your place) meant a stockpiling of booze that would have put Smaug to shame. To be honest with you, when Tweak Bird sauntered on, Incendiary were tight. Not as tight as the lad who'd brought his sax along to join in the show; he swayed along with his eyes shut, calculating the Golden Mean between his sax attack and Tweak Bird's hard-baked riffery, waiting for the moment to jump into action. He was out there. For their part, Tweak Bird just got on with making SUB shake. They have this no-nonsense approach to rock that is incredibly refreshing; simple and direct statements backed with gloriously confident drum parts that sounded more like the soundtrack to some tribal gathering. When Mr Sax came out of his reverie and joined in, things started to sound like a heavy metal take on Sun Ra; the looseness being brought about by the incredible assuredness that the duo had in their own song structures. In a word or two, they could do what you liked to them. Was it loud enough though? It was one of those gigs that was loud and sounded quiet, the power being held back for the odd surprising spurt of white noise. Highlights were Pigeons and She Preach (both of which sounded like gloriously buttoned down takes on Speed Glue & Shinki) and (I think, though I had been drinking an odd light ale, officer) Children of the Revolution. Even if they didn't do the latter, Bolan's pop-elvinisms were present in the room, as everyone got cheeky, banter got bandied about, shit got funny. Turn it up! Do another! OK, they did. A blistering, paint-stripping version of The Future finished us all off. Time for bed. Someone should go into SUB and make a plaster cast of the space, for posterity's sake.