Eyesore & The Jinx
From straight-up hardcore to the pent-up aggression and short-burst pace of Fugazi (with a sinister Protomartyr taint at times also), CAREERING open the evening’s proceedings with a blistering set of pummelling post-punk. Rob Allen’s screams pitch him somewhere between the rivalling rancour of Pulled Apart By Horses’ Tom Hudson, and the phlegm and acute snarl of John Lydon. In fact, after hearing them, it wouldn’t be surprising to find their name a direct nod to PiL’s influence. Brief bass issues lead to a quick bit of MJ patter (concerning the controversial Leaving Neverland doc), with the Manc quintet then convulsing into an ensnaring closing manoeuvre with Allen’s wry pleas of “I need a holiday!”
Psychobilly Mersey exports EYESORE AND THE JINX then emerge, tucked into the snug onstage enclave of Chester’s Deaf Centre. Lurched over as they tune, they seem to be bordered in by the venue’s semi-baroque wooden fringing, giving the effect we’re observing the trio like creatures caught behind glass.
Frontman Josh Miller beckons the crowd closer – “come on, we don’t bite… usually” – and unlatches this cabinet of curiosities swing into a searing opening number before kicking into their second standout single, On An Island. “Enjoy yourselves,” wretches Miller with a cartoon splutter and a gallows humour commentary that brings to mind the caustic doom-mongering of Mark E. Smith or Ought’s Tim Darcy, with guitarist Liam Bates possibly borrowing from the latter’s angular spasms and art-rock bent.
There seems to be a perverse vaudeville feel to their entire set and sound. Manic feel-changes, excessive cowbell and snare-hits that shift from rapid-fire to snail-pace, down to a total dead stop, add to this sleazy arcade sheen they’ve got going. Just as acts like Parquet Courts angle from a breakneck punk diatribe into a lolloping locked groove, their hook-heavy, tongue-in-cheek tunes give a skilful sneering nod to styles of the past; effortlessly incorporating elements of surf and retro rock ‘n’ roll into their live sound, just like if someone was to crank up the RPM on a rabid Trudy And The Romance.
Throughout, Miller sings of “misplaced hate” with such intense conviction that there’s the sense that any vitriol he personally expresses is calculated and pre-meditated. “No one is illegal where I come from,” he later drones with a wild mix of dignity and displeasure. The audience appear to be unable to tear themselves away from this unfolding tragicomedy. The night feels like yet another small victory for Eggy Records, the Chester scene and our hosts Restless Bear. Something’s been stirring behind these city walls for quite some time now and all this noise (both homegrown and from over the water) might just be waking something truly brutal; a spectacle that gig-goers the north over might just start piling in to catch a glimpse of.