- The Besiders
Baby-faced and bold, THE BESIDERS kick off at Telford’s Warehouse in their hometown of Chester. It’s an instrumental track to warm things up. Without a wrinkle in sight, they proceed to test our hearing with glass-shattering, shrieking guitar shreds ripping from a red Fender Jaguar. Despite guitarist George Asbridge’s evident capabilities, his entire presence screams imposter syndrome; it’s as though he doesn’t feel talented enough to be laying his hands on the mighty Fender, the source of so much energy in the room. It burns his fingertips to the touch. The indie four-piece deserve to have a lot more confidence. They show a large amount of potential for an art-rock band just starting their music career.
In the blink of an eye, the holy trinity of palatable indie-post-punk-who-knows-what (who even cares?) appear almost out of nowhere. Fittingly, there’s a deployment of angst during THE MYSTERINES’ opening track, Good Conditions. Lead vocalist and guitarist Lia Metcalfe’s menacing voice cuts through the crowd like a hot knife through butter, closely resembling the piercing – and rightly irritated – tone of The Big Moon’s Juliette Jackson. All hope of not needing a hearing aid later in life is completely gone; my eardrums are probably permanently damaged, but it’s totally worth it. When it becomes so easy to lose yourself in the heat and energy of sonic delight, ironically, the last thing you’re going to be thinking about is your ear health.
Listening to The Mysterines invokes a curious depth in your chest, almost a nervous energy. The kind that makes you feel like you’re going to throw up. But, weirdly, in this situation, it’s somehow a good thing; something big is coming, and neither you or I are ready for it.
The Mysterines take no prisoners with their all-guns-blazing, kicking and screaming attitude. They use this to their advantage, progressing through more of the eerie, upbeat and harrowing tunes, including Bet Your Pretty Face, which fits immaculately into their shadowy yet gorgeous aesthetic.
The frame of the stage is all very cinematic. On the far left you’ve got the ruthless heroine Metcalfe, who looks to have been transported straight from the riot grrrl movement. In the middle is drummer Chrissy Moore. The fast forward button is clearly stuck on this guy. He’s an example of why you should always make sure your real-life remote is in working order…Wait, what? That’s not a technical issue? So, he’s genuinely that fast? Someone hide him away before he’s harnessed by scientists as source of heat energy. Completing the set with a naughty bit of bass, right of stage, is George Favager.
They are the kind of people your stiff elders warned you about when growing up. Which, of course, means that The Mysterines are fucking badass, in the best sense. They’re the perfect way to get back at those voices of authority, those that haven’t allowed you to be exposed to the very real, no bullshit, stating-it-how-it-is stuff, rather than experiencing it all first hand. I’m certain that the trio would have been a great comfort to many during those times; their music has a way of empathising with those who are heartbroken and frankly pissed off with the world. They simply vocalise that pain in a way that’s accessible to everyone. Although this seems very depressing, it’s really not. The general vibe, while embedded with a twang of pain, carries the listener through its high-energy style, rather than weighing them down.
Gasoline, the threesome’s most recent single, is the song that marks the unfortunate end to the short but sweet set. During those last few thrashes of each instrument, Metcalfe finds the perfect opportunity to mercilessly boot the microphone stand down to the ground. That move – and indeed the whole gig – feels like it’s been lifted straight out of an impossibly cool coming of age movie. One about a young teenager from a relatively sheltered, suburban background who learns what rock music is for the first time. I feel like I want to hit replay on this experience. Blow off the dust and rewind the video. I didn’t prepare myself well enough for so much to come at me so quickly; I need a round two. There’ll definitely be a next time.