For all their irreverent chat, Fat Janitor don’t mess around. Pummeling Nice n Sleazy with dense hardcore, the Jannys’ bracingly raw sound is effective if unsubtle, their relentlessly noisy riffs spiked with baw-kicking feedback.
With their debut album due shortly, Citizens offer a cleaner, less aggressive take on many of the same genre ingredients, with more varied and melodic results. Their approach is no less invigorating, but they accost the room’s collective lugs in more diverse (and arguably more satisfying) ways.
But as good as both supports are, there’s relatively little in the way of overlap with tonight’s headliners (unfaltering intensity aside). As Father Murphy huddle solemnly onstage, the inter-bill contrast is brought into sharper focus; where the opening acts were unyieldingly heavy, the Italian trio experiment with textures – silence to shrieks, quiet clicks to cacophonous rackets.
The crepuscular mood is interrupted twice by mobile phone interference pulsing erratically through the PA, but otherwise they foster an unbroken, reverential atmosphere, in which applause is held back till the set’s end so as not to disturb the carefully placed clangs and moans.
As Reverend Freddie preaches inscrutable sermons over Chiara Lee’s accompanying keys, drummer Vittorio’s loose and inventive percussion holds the elements in place, whether tolling cracked cymbals or punctuating the Rev’s discordant guitar drones with sharp intakes of breath. Though challenging and unorthodox, they’ve a confidence and clarity of purpose both rare and rewarding.