When Trouble Came to town – StetsonHead at the MarketBar, 22nd February, 2019
- By Cornwallace
Preach muthafucker!! Preach to the converted!!
So, a touch of background. We at the Nettle got our wee heads together and realised that it had been a bit of time since an actual music review.
There’s been gobs going on in the background, forefront of this being Bastard Wordiness. But still, we are here to serve. We wanna give. We also wanna spout our shit and even maybe direct people to see some good fucking music in Inverness.
To fold names of bands into the warm snug recesses of their/ your mind, and have people pull this information out when thinking of heading into town, hopefully improving their night and the size of the audience for the band(s) as a result.
So there’s some (pretty hazy) theory as above, and then there is the chance to act it out in practice.
Once I heard that StetsonHead were going to be playing at the Market, I felt the worlds mentioned above neatly align.
It would only be a matter of getting over my own inertia and do what I knew I wanted to do, and see who I wanted to see.And Holy Mother of God, this was one of those nights where I thanked my own lazy arse for detaching off the sofa and heading out.
Yes, yes, and fucking YES!! Smart move for once!! Fuck these guys are worth the watch.
Things starting to heat up, dancing starting, drums getting hit hard and often.
I have seen StetsonHead a few times, but over the last year it was probably just snippets of a song or 2 here and there. Mistakes of lack of planning and late arrival providing assurance that my opinion still held on them, and that I was needing to see them once again.
Heading into town, I knew that this was going to be a night for mischief. It was in the air.
The young kids jumping over the fence to trespass and affect their own version of chicanery as I walked over the Castle. The rowdy bottleneck outside of Lauders and spilling up across or through Baron Taylor. People wrestling in the street, or walking and singing in happy packs.
Swinging into the wee Market Bar lane to head in and first sight being a genuinely impressive vomit spray – sizeable, but thoughtfully aimed in the corner at least. Maybe that was going to be the signifier indicated the balance of potential for the night. Works for me, thinking back on it.
Heading up the stairs and the thumping, grinding bass and drive of the drums starts vibrating the shenanigan genes in me bones, and when someone above me on the stairs opens up the door and actually lets the volume contained within out, this is ratcheted up 3-4 notches. A need to bop my head with beer in hand. It wasn’t just a thought now, an inkling, it was being tapped into and amplified as full blown desire.
As I feed through the door about 30 minute into the set (if they started on time, I don’t know that), they were in full flight. And the first lyrics heard were those in my head already about the mischievous mood feeding through town, and titling this review – “When trouble came to town”.
So it took me about that long to realise that I’d left it too long between drinks re seeing StetsonHead. I’m being all sweary and religious about this, but my fucking God did they set the scene for a good evening. Sweet Jesus do I like seeing this pile of muthafuckers do their thing.
This pile of muthafuckers, doing their thing. And I got to see it. Sweet, sweet Jesus, thou art kind. Kinder than the thoughts in these guys heads, at least.
This is not a sweet band, with sugar drop lyrics. For me, they range around decades of lurching, malevolent influence to bring their distinct taste of menace to the stage.
The slow songs, of which I must admit there were more in the set than anticipated and remembered from previous experience, were like having a groove-bound brooding stream of consciousness laid bare. The secret darker parts of ones thought processes being growled out aloud.
Actually, that was the mood for the fast songs as well. Less emphasis on the groove, and more on hard pounding relentless drive. Still lots of dark thoughts though. Oozing out and purging the converted who were started to dance, tap their foot, smile at each other a little more broadly or in a dozen other ways warming to the night and the music in front of them.
When I mention the music being from across a range of years, and genres. Bit of reggae, bit of rockabilly, bit of 70s-80s rock, and bit of alternative hard rock as well, to do a hatchet job of categorisation there.
All angles on this under-laced with tones and, importantly, lyrics involving shooting, hands wringing necks, loving the wrong person (and by wrong, there’s apparently a few ways to do this, I found out), and the dark thoughts of how this makes one feel, and the things that one imagines doing to rectify such grief and frustrations. Yeah, purge is the word.
For ease, these are some of the songs that came to mind for the faster songs:
And these for the slower ones:
There’s more to say, but basically it’d be repeating myself. If you like sweetness and light in your live music experience, give these gentlemen a miss. Actually, walk on the other side of the street. Find another street, maybe. Give ‘em a wide birth, however you go about it.
But if you like live music, and the potential it packs, in any other form, then give them a crack.
They make you prick your ears up and listen. They force you to engage. These are mean, angry, brooding, sullen, mischievous, funny, dark songs. They are given with a hard-edge, but often with a groove bass and driving, urgent lead and drums.
Know that this is a blurry, shit photo. However, it represents the end half hour of the gig for me pretty well.
I’m more than happy to be able to see them in the heat-packed, tight sweaty space of the Market Bar. In some ways it’s a perfect bar for them, the way that older cooler people than me say the best way to have been able to see Nick Cave in any iteration was with 40 others in a dingy basement unknown to the rest of the world.
I wanna invoke that selfishness for myself here, and wanna see StetsonHead again at the Market.
But I also feel that they should be in front of a bigger audience. They deserve that respect. Also, more people, nice little cherubs that you all are, deserve to hear them.
They are one of the best local bands and live experiences that you’re gonna get. Don’t like pushing shit on people, but fuck it, it’s a review. Give them a chance. They’re fucking excellent!