Live Review from The Underground’s 17th Year Anniversary Party
1. See You In Hell
3. Nothing’s Gonna Go My Way
5. Raining Men (cover)
With power chords in their hearts and a nineties swagger in their step, punk kids What They Do took the stage as the second act of the evening.
Their sound is an eclectic one, that much you can gather from opening track We Are Doing. They seem to be gunning for a rock n’ roll genre bender; think if Metallica and Hole had gotten wasted together and collaborated in Kurt’s basement. Whilst their sound has a way to go to achieve it, WTD are a curious group who attempt to encapsulate those converging worlds of grunge rock and thrash metal.
Lead vocalist Josephine Wellton offers shades of a Courtney Love/Taylor Momsen lovechild, her gravelly deep vocals and powerful belt a match made made in heaven with any rock band. The raw energy in her performance buffs the edges of a few missed notes, reminding you of the sheer beauty of live music because dodgy notes don’t matter at all when you’re putting on a show like See You In Hell.
However, with each song centred around djent-y riffs and manic guitar solos, they feel virtually indistinguishable from one another in style and structure. The result is a predictable – though in no way objectively bad- setlist.
With chugging guitar notes tearing over shimmering high hats before descending into chord-laden verses, I am never blown away by any one track. Rather, I am preoccupied with figuring out how I know the blatantly sampled (or borrowed?) intro riff of Nothing’s Gonna Go My Way. It is Marilyn Manson’s Sweet Dreams, of course. A solid, dark, winding riff. This thew me off- it works well with the trebly punk rock edge of WTD, but it jars against the utterly hectic Metallica tribute guitar solo shoehorned into in the song. Well, all the songs.
Bay Leung, guitarist and songwriter for WTD, is very clearly a skilled and impressive lead guitarist. However, the disproportionate focus placed on the guitar elements is extremely pronounced throughout the set. Even their rendition of Geri Halliwell’s Raining Men, featuring revamped heavy metal instrumentals of Blondie’s Call Me, had a guitar solo squeezed in. The transition into this solo in particular could do with some fine tuning. Who knows, maybe Hammett and Harry wouldn’t sound bad together if the tempos actually matched up?
So what are What They Do doing? Trying to make ‘post-hardcore-punk-metal’ happen, I reckon. Perhaps next time they can do more to showcase their killer bassist, Nic, whose effortless cool and wicked talent deserved more of a spotlight. Or perhaps Adrien could have had more of an introduction with a cheeky drum fill? They are so close to something brilliant, and I look forward to watching them find it.
– Jasmine GW