Gig Review: Fuzz @ Leeds Brudenell
Leeds Brudenell, Thursday 3rd September
There is a palpable sense of excited anticipation in the Brudenell (easily one of the best places in England to see live music), as the place fills up to watch garage-rock darling Ty Segall and Charles Mootheart (supplemented live by Chad Ubovich on bass) busting out the big grooves as Fuzz. Paying sweaty, distorted dues to classic hard rock in the vein of Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer, they are the perfect band for an evening of booze, good company and lots of carefree headbanging.
The opening act, a local Leeds three-piece called Cowtown, set things up very nicely with tight, reverb-soaked guitar riffs melding with some furious drumming and solid keyboard lines (acting much like a bass á la The Doors). They whip the crowd up with some stirring, sometimes new wave-flavoured garage-punk and exude a relaxed, understated confidence which marks them out as a band who may well be headlining their own, bigger gigs in the not-too-distant future. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open.
The main event is certainly worth such a solid introduction. Wasting no time, the Fuzz boys launch into a cavalcade of heavy, bluesy riffs which keep this writer headbanging/dancing/jerking spastically throughout. Segall is on drum and vocal duty in this band – whereas he often takes up guitar on his other projects – and he certainly doesn’t hold back on the skins. His playing is thunderous and complemented very nicely by Ubovich, who is solid as a rock and keeps an impeccable groove. Segall’s voice has a cool, weird tone to it; like a slightly washed-out but nevertheless oddly commanding drone, orchestrating mass acid flashbacks everywhere. An attempt at covering Sabbath’s War Pigs is only mildly spoiled by him forgetting the words; but the unselfconscious, fun atmosphere created by their music means it’s no big deal, whatever, just laugh it off. Everyone gets into his brief impression of Geddy Lee’s brilliantly hysteric yowl and there’s just a sense throughout that the band are having a real blast, never taking themselves too seriously and just surrendering to the glorious noise of it all.
It’s Charles Mootheart, though, who is Fuzz’s primary weapon. Blistering solos, some very cool little lead flourishes (he’s fond of the whammy bar), and of course… meaty, bluesy, dynamite riffs aplenty. The man can shred, yeah, but when he and his bandmates are in full-on 70s hard rock worship mode, eschewing technical wankery for unadulterated power-chord RAWK (sorry), the results are irresistibly heavy.
The tracks from their debut LP sound fierce, the couple of new ones they play go down very well, and all in all a very good night is shared. If they come to a venue near you and you have even a remote interest in the power of good old-fashioned hard-edged rock music, then do yourself a favour and get Fuzzed up.