Home Gigs Gig Review : Nozlite featuring Bad Touch, Daxx & Roxanne, Ethyrfield and Skinny Knowledge The 1865, Southampton – Saturday 7th May 2022

Gig Review : Nozlite featuring Bad Touch, Daxx & Roxanne, Ethyrfield and Skinny Knowledge The 1865, Southampton – Saturday 7th May 2022

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Review by Gary Spiller for MPM

When this latest installment of Nozlite, the younger sibling of the well-respected Nozfest, was announced by promoter Jodie Bowie it immediately grabbed our attention.

Three bands who, in varying, degrees have shaped our personal rock n’ roll journey through the last few years and one brand-new-to-us band who piqued our curiosity.

It was via tonight’s headliners from the ‘badlands’ of Norfolk, Bad Touch, that we had our first live encounter with Ethyrfield some five years ago. Minds were blown that night in Tavistock. A year or so later and that same pairing with the additional plus of Swiss hi-energy rock n’ rollers Daxx & Roxanne in coupling the extremely talented Aaron Buchanan and The Cult Classics formed a bill at Saltash’s Livewire.

An evening that was rescued by an online ‘revolution’ with the band, venue and fans forming an alegiance to ensure that ‘The show must go on’; and so it successfully did.

This evening, in a stars-aligning sort of way, marks the commencing of a new chapter. It’s funny how things progress and little did we know, back on those two evenings either side of the Cornwall-Devon border, that we’d wind up on the media and promoting side of the industry. With inspirations drawn on those moments, that proved to be pivotal in a personal sense, so the earliest seeds were sown.

So on a balmy early May evening we find ourselves walking through the Southern fringes of Southampton city centre along Queensway in the direction of The 1865; the city’s largest independent music venue. Tucked away down a relatively anonymous side street it’s not much to look at from the streetside. However once inside there’s no denying its pedigree; a roomy stage with stunning lighting rig and PA system to match is complemented with comfortable surroundings.

Up first are South coast alt-edged rockers Skinny Knowledge. Formed a couple of years ago this bunch of rabblerousers are in the faces of the 1865 crowd from the very off. In their relatively short tenure these Bournemouth lads have already delivered their debut long-player ‘Don’t Turn Out The Lights’.

An album, which based upon this evening’s powerage, gives infectious riffs and hooks aplenty. The Knowledge’s set is, naturally, drawn from this offering but the quartet draw first blood with their new single ‘I Wonder’; it’s full on summer gale whipping up a furore out in the Solent.

With a crossover of Weezer and Green Day fully doffing a cap to the Foo Fighters a line has been drawn in the aranaceous sand.

A cheeky cover of The Beatles’ classic ‘Get Back’ is given a buzzsaw reworking whilst standouts include the supercharged thrashing of ‘King of Nothing’ with an even cheekier segment of Foo Fighters ‘All My Life within along with the hard-driving highway starlet ‘Alive’ with its SKAM-esque fringing.

Wrapping matters up with a fine brace comprised of the furiously paced instrumental ‘Heavy Metal Interlude’ (dedicated to “All the heavy metal fans out there”) which rolls into the Metallica-infused ‘Sayonara’. An appropriately monikered set-ender if there ever was!

Following on from this impressive starter for ten incandescent gossamer-winged demons soar across the endless ragged skies. A interplanar journey of a progressive nature awaits as much-vaunted Devonian trio Ethyrfield tread the 1865’s finely carpeted boards. Their 45 minute set combined with a well-received special guest slot at Swansea’s hugely successful Station 18 Festival are the perfect precursors before they head off as main support for Finnish prog-rockers the Von Hertzen Brothers. It’s a big deal as this will be their first ever UK tour; over five years in the coming. Howling and screaming those demons spark at the moon as they rise upon self-fueled thermals. The powerful sonic grooves of ‘Sunstroke’ swoop low.

There’s a maturity about their most recent offerings with sublime vocal harmonies, from brothers Zach and Ben Cornish, delivered on a subconscious level combined with neo-classical movements that, within, provide shades of contrasting light and dark.

Recent video release ‘The Hunter’ is as fine a slab of prog-metal you’re likely to encounter with lunar energies colliding with a tectonic-like force. Dan Aston’s thundering souped-up double bass drum is a noticeable feature of both an emotively delivered ‘Remembering’ and a pounding rendition of ‘Laying On Of Hands’.

The celestial triumph that is the sublime ‘Serenity’ worships at the altar of prog-metal before the set is brought to a scorching finale with ‘Bag of Bones’ – off their debut self-titled EP – featuring Zach’s wondrously sinuous bass alongside searing licks that emanate from Ben’s brand-new seven string PRS SE Mark Holcomb SVN7 all atop Dan’s fast moving percussive assault.

Capital city-based Swiss rockers Daxx & Roxanne burst onto stage with a mighty rumbling bass and engage with the crowd from the beginning. It’s in your faces rock n’ roll, plain and simple; the party is delivered right to your front door before barging in and raiding your drinks stash! Hurtling headlong into the ram-raiding AC/DC-infused riffage of ‘Ticket to Rock’ – the smash and grab title track of DnR’s 2017 debut album – the early pace is rapid. ‘Girl Next Door’, also off the aforementioned debut, possesses a heavy, sleazy groove not to mention some delicious six-string dueling.

Bare chested skinsman Luca Senaldi raises his sticks crossed before launching into ‘Strange Woman’ a scalding track that melds a southern groove with the brassiness of Motley Crue’s ‘Shout At The Devil’.

The gentle guitar intro of instrumental ‘Dawn’ evokes an Iron Maiden-ish spirit before the six-strings begin to roar and howl virtually simultaneously seamlessy slipping into ‘Heal’. These lads love their AC/DC for sure and in gutsy ‘Sugar Rush’ this riffage is entwined delightfully about some rock n’ roll harmonica.

Stevie Wonder’s subliminal 1973 US chart-topping soul classic ‘Superstition’ is treated to a turbo-boosted DnR reworking. Influences are worn proudly on their sleeve and AC/DC and Motley Crue come through to tickle the palate like a particulary flavoursome bourbon. Swigging neat from the bottle ‘Wrongside’ is the concluding track of a dynamic 11 tracks, 45 minutes plus set that has entertained from throughout.

Tonight’s headliners Bad Touch have garnered a thoroughly deserved reputation, through hard touring and quality recordings, of being amongst the leading lights of a resurgent grassroots rock scene. Hollering out of the flatlands of the Norfolk HQ this quintet had just released their fourth album ‘Kiss The Sky’, to universal adulation, when the pandemic cruelly struck a death knell to live music.

Mercifully it was a temporary, yet painful, blip and this evening we are able to witness a stonking hour long set that is, most understandably, tilted towards that 2020 offering. However for the opening brace Bad Touch delve into their extensive back catalogue with ‘Lift Your Head Up’ and ‘Good On Me’. A pairing that completely epitomise everything that BT are about; southern grooves atop a solid rhythmic foundation about which sultry vocals entwine.

The bayou alligators snap lazily at the buzzing mosquitoes as BT continue to dish out the delta vibes with ‘Strut’. A groove-laden track, the first of six from ‘Kiss The Sky, which does exactly what is says on the outer of the metaphorical tin. Captivatiing frontman Stevie Westwood encourages the crowd to “Put your hands together.

If you can’t show us what you’re drinking!” before enquiring in time honoured fashion “So who’s dressed to kill?” Following ‘Let Go’ and ‘Too Much Of A Good Thing’ a swerveball of most pleasant proportions is thrown in to the wondrous mix. Edwin Starr’s R&B classic ’25 Miles’ is given the Bad Touch treatment. With a Stones’ strut this freeway constellation shines brightly.

‘I Get High’ takes us several miles closer to orbit with a swaggering Rob Glendinning guitar solo which couples together neatly with ‘Can You Save Me’. Alanis Morisette’s smash ‘One Hand In My Pocket’ is now a firm part of the set and it’s reworking is soulful to the core. Stevie confesses “I ballsed this one up last we did it! This goes out to all the lovers and weirdos.”

A fine hat-trick of classic Bad Touch ties up a fine southern-infused baker’s dozen set that clocks in just over the hour mark. The highly infectious ‘Come A Little Closer To Me’ leads the way before ‘Outlaw’ brings in the country vibes with Stevie asking for a collective “Yee-haw” with six-shooters at the ready. The crowd cries for more and the Norfolk outlaws are only too happy to oblige by raising their standard ‘99%’ to bring the roof down.

It’s been a great evening thanks to a bill lovingly put together by promoter Jodie Bowie. One must applaud her efforts which deserve rich support. Next up is Nozfest on Saturday 13th August featuring Mason Hill, Florence Black, Collateral, Scarlet Rebels amongst an extensive lineup.

Photography by Kelly Spiller for MPM

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