To think: there’s people out there who don’t think of a cold and rainy Monday night at the start of February as a cue to indulge in an evening of frenzied garage rock and freakbeat. I know, strange really. For those more hardened souls though, Snakes Don’t Belong in Alaska’s opening set proves sufficient reward. Their taste for winding improvisation ups the lysergic quotient, but there’s also a down and dirty grittiness to their sound that makes for something distinct from their fellow travellers.
Cheap Lunch meanwhile offer thrills of a far more immediate and visceral nature. Quite how a trio makes such a formidable wall of noise may not be entirely clear, but as they barrel through a performance that balances the skewed rock thrills of Ty Segall with the queasy psychosexual drama of early Cramps, their great potency is not to be doubted.
Italian-French headliners J.C. Satan might have started to offer a cleaner, more refined approach on record, but thankfully their live presence remains as overdriven as could be hoped for. Paula Scassa’s stoic stage presence is the ideal foil for the frenzy her bandmates work up besides her, as guitarist/vocalist Arthur Larragle wails his way across the stage and Alice Ronzini offers a veritable masterclass in rock’n’roll bass wielding. Building up to storming takes on Hell Death Samba and Crystal Snake from their latest album, their immensely fun and energetic show is the ideal antitode to any lingering winter blues.