18 min read

Review & Photography by Manny Manson for MPM

The Nottingham Rescue Rooms is the place I’m heading to on this wild Monday night, getting there has turned into an adventure in itself thanks to the city’s football frenzy, Nottingham Forest are playing at home, the streets are bustling with fans draped in red and white, thereby creating a chaotic start to a night of rock ‘n’ roll debauchery.

Tonight’s show has two great live bands, the explosive splash of colour that is The Hot Damn, and their ‘Dancing on The Milky Way’ tour, having previously painted the country in their psychedelic blend of colourful rock and roll as they toured with Hayseed Dixie, they bring their palette to Nottingham in support of Black Spiders who are touring their fourth album, the cracking ‘Can’t Die, Won’t Die’ which was released to critical acclaim earlier in the year. Tonight, is day 4 of the tour so all the tour gremlins have hopefully been ironed out.

Amazingly I get to the venue with time to spare, it’s an early doors so I’m not surprised to only see a handful of the faithful fans already in the queue. Getting in, I’m set up, I’m informed there’s just me reviewing tonight, and ready to rock. I quickly have a chat with Heidi and Elysa on the merch stands, always fun catching up with friends, before the night begins.

As the light dims the crowd greet this with a show of anticipated appreciation, the claps and cheers start.

The night is set ablaze, as the brightly dressed dynamic quartet, The Hot Damn, burst onto the stage. Led by the pint size Josie, who skips across to her kit, it’s tight against the wall, so she has to squeeze around her cymbals to get behind it all.

The night starts off with “Fizz, Buzz, Crash,” setting the tone for another high-octane, fun filled performance. Josie, the vivacious drummer, seems possessed as she slams out the groove, her arms and hair flailing around the kit while the crowd nod along. “Dance Around” follows, with Laurie in striking red, dances as she rips out her electrifying licks, her eyes darting from beneath her trademark hat.

Lzi, sporting a dazzling pink outfit, caught everyone’s attention with her seismic bass line, her new streamlined look had me momentarily wondering if they had someone new on the four string.

The set continues with “About Last Night.”, and continues with infectious favourite tunes like “Jukebox on The Radio,” “Live Laugh Love,” and the “Merch Song,” where they playfully sing about their offerings of Tee’s, Hats, CD’s and mugs, giving Heidi a well-deserved shout-out.

The atmosphere reaches a crescendo with “Going Down,” as Gill, in her cool blue jumpsuit, incites the crowd to show their middle fingers in tribute to the Black Spiders. The crowd quickly conform only to be told to wait for the right part of the song. The room was filled with raised fingers at the appropriate moment.

The set ends with “I Didn’t Like You Anyway”, this song has quickly become a firm fan favourite, who it’s about is unsure, and it would be rude to ask. The catchy hook has the fans sing at the top of their voices. As the song winds up there was an explosion of confetti cannons, covering the room in bright coloured ticker tape, very in keeping with the bands ‘everything brighter than everything else’ ethos.

The fans in tonight, have been on fire, some have dressed in band made tie-dye tees, others sporting hats and tour tees from previous shows. All have sung along, filling the room with laughter, and pure coloured fun. The Hot Damn always bring the party where ever they play live, and with the promise of an album next year, that party can be had at home too. Another great opening set.

The stage was quickly cleared to accommodate the early curfew. Its Freshers Week in Nottingham so the City is buzzing with a party atmosphere. Speaking of which, there’s a growing buzz of anticipation amongst the crowd eagerly awaited the main act in this intimate venue.

As the Scorpions’ track, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” blares through the speakers, it’s time for the headline turn, Sheffield’s very own BLACK SPIDERS make their way on stage, led by Wyatt, who salutes the crowd as he walks across the stage. This Planet Rock DJ has taken time away from his day job to thrown sticks at his kit. His Cymbals of Appreciation are going to get a good beating tonight.

Once perched behind a LED-lit drum kit beneath a massive BLACK SPIDERS backdrop, he flicks his hair out of the way and settles in for a thunderous night of Rock n Rawness .

The band file out, D’Ron on stage right instantly reminds me of a ‘gone bad’ Ritchie Cunningham from the TV show Happy Days. His Gold Top guitar screams into life and that’s where the similarity ends, this boy has the chops, that’s for sure. and with that the whirlwind of sound begins with “Si El Diablo.” From Sons of the North, the 2011 debut album, kicking things off.

Their latest single “Hot Wheels” from Can’t Die Won’t Die quickly follows on, showcasing their anarchic rawness, and Spilby’s song writing prowess. With BV’s provided by the guitars and Wyatt, the band are quickly laying down a heavy gauntlet and are setting the stage on fire as well as getting the crowd light in the loafers.

“Alright, Alright, Alright”, again from the latest album, is the explosive third track, filled with a rebellious rock mayhem, the guitars power the song along as the thunderous set continues with “Medusa’s Eyes.” another from the debut album.

Fox’ Irwin, with his low-slung bass, is a frenzied powerhouse, he relentlessly races around like a Duracell powered rodent, all the while making the strings growl in a concussive wave. “Just Like a Woman”,is up next, staying again with the 2011 debut This is followed by another from the new one, “Driving My Rooster” further amps up the crowd, bringing the set count to six. And the enjoyment factor to eleven.

Singer Spilby occasionally fielded shout-outs of “FUBS,” responding with a defiant, “You’re too early!”, The call outs a feature now firmly embed in the ethos of the band. The relentless energy continues with “Balls,” the only treat from, This Savage Land, the sophomore album from 2013. “Destroyer,” and its brutish speed and scorching guitars, continues the wave after wave of raw rock n roll, a treat from the new spinner.

“Death Comes Creepin’,” from 2021’s eponymously self-titled album, the first after the four-year hiatus which saw Wyatt Wendels join the band on drums, maintains the almost Garage Rock intensity supplied in spades by this Sheffield Rock n Roll band, who were only formed in 2008 to play a few covers at a friend’s passing. 15yrs on and we have some of the most genuine dirtiest rock n roll to come out of Steel town in recent years, must be something in the water.

“Strange,”, from the new long player keeps things going, hard and brutal in its melodic attack, “Stay Down,” takes us back to the early doors of the band with its raw bullishness, fast and furious. Not forgetting the aforementioned F*&k You Black Spiders. The crowd are momentarily lit up as the fingers fly into the air at the band. Brilliant.

“D&B” from ‘No Goats in the Omen, with its’ driving stoner vibe has the audience bouncing along to Wyatts percussive thraipsing, moving the Rescue Rooms several places down the post code.

The night continues with “Stabbed in the Back,” and its driving riff, “A Rat is a Rat, “another early 80’s punk-esque offering and the rocking “Fly in The Soup,” all make sure the crowd are awake as the continuous, thunderings bounce around the venue, and pummel your auditory senses. J’Evan’s hair is all over the place as he has his foot on the monitor squeezing out the notes on his battered Telecaster during “What Good’s a Rock Without a Roll”, another from the earth shatteringly good first album, keeps the night raw, raucous and damn loud.

Thank heavens for ear plugs

The night reached its zenith with the anthemic “KISS Tried to Kill Me,” yet again from the first album, showing how good it still is, has the crowd in a frenzy of rock ‘n’ roll ecstasy. With references to the mighty KISS, a band who has had the longest farewell tour in Rock n Roll history, brings the house down and the end to a stunning night of raw talent, Wyatt has the last note with a groovy ‘Flats in Dagenham’ flurry to finish the night of proper like.

There’s something to be said about a band getting up there and delivering a sonic powerhouse of a set. The rawness and interaction with the crowd is what makes it all stand out from a polished studio offering, it’s the reason why live music is so great, the heartbeat, the energy and the crowd’s reaction to everything coming from the stage make it an event that you’ll never get from a recording. LIVE MUSIC ROCKS!

On the way home, the roads were still swarming with Forest fans, this time they’re on their way home. Early doors at The Rescue Rooms has clashed, for me anyway. The traffic heading out of town is causing road closures and diversions that turn a 30-minute trip into an epic 1 hour and 20-minute journey. It was the perfect chaotic ending to a night of pure, unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll mayhem at Rescue Rooms, Nottingham. Loved it.

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