Neighbourhood Gout open tonight by thrashing and pounding and yelping and hollering all sorts of punk-tuned nonsense about tornados and the end of the universe. Their substantial geek streak (comparing songs to Dragonball Z attacks) makes their out of tune racket all the more endearing, with Sweat Box the clear highlight: imagine an angry Talking Heads covering J Geils Band’s Centerfold for a taste of its unhinged flavour.
Brighton’s Cold Pumas are less instantly enjoyable. Their steadfast formula – motorik beat, reverb-drenched, languid vocals, and guitars clad in consistently-abrasive distortion – is exhilarating, but gains little from repetition, and the set is consequentially prone to diminishing returns.
Calgary’s Friendo have journeyed from even farther afield, as they road test Cold Toads around Europe. The trio are muscling into a niche that’s far from innovative - sugary vocals from Nicole Greedy sit atop fuzzy guitars, echoing Vivian Girls and Best Coast amongst others - but which is nonetheless easy to get swept up in. Moonlighting from Women, Michael Wallace swaps drums for a six-string, leaving rhythm duties, for the most part, to Henry Hsieh – who, just to complicate matters, is usually a guitarist. From this, it seems fair to paint Friendo a holiday of sorts for all involved; certainly, their infectious levity is a world away from Public Strain. But that’s not to label them disposable; safe, perhaps, but certainly enjoyable.