When last we saw General it was opening for Clutch at a packed Rock City. The Coventry band showed enough that night to convince us that they have something interesting going on. Tonight, it is a less than huge audience at the Asylum that greets them, but that somehow suits the band – they seem far more at home and somehow the riffs to songs like “Bullet Train” and “Better Dead” seem heavier tonight than back in July. Not trying to reinvent anything, instead General are a very passable Midlands version of Wiseblood era Corrosion of Conformity, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that whatsoever.
Desert Storm are another band that RTM has seen in the recent past. In this very venue, in July they performed opening duties for Karma To Burn and they impressed us hugely, with their take on what might be termed “The Clutch sound”. Certainly a couple of their songs owe a fairly huge debt to everyone’s favourite Maryland (Earth) rockers, but what sets them apart from most bands of this type is Matt Ryan’s vocals. A touch more guttural than many stoner acts, it gives him the feel of Lemmy gargling razor blades. That delivery adds an edge to tracks like “Astral Planes” and “Queen Reefer” which has a huge riff and leaves no one in any doubt what it is about. If you thought that Oxford was all about Radiohead and dreaming spires then Desert Storm are here to change your mind.
If you weren’t aware of Dutch three piece Peter Pan Speedrock (and they are very much a cult act) then the opening acts – and the fact that they have been giving Monster Magnet an airing all night in the changeovers – might give you slightly the wrong Impression.
PPS deal with matters a little more punk rock than the other two bands tonight. Like Motorhead if they wrote two minute songs, or the glorious chaos of the first Hellacopters album, they are not a band to do “subtle”. Consequently their 45 minutes with us this evening is fast, loud, riff-filled and snotty.
During the course of the evening they play a song called “Donkeypunch” which finds them “horny and drunk” and another in “Resurrection” which tells us “we are gonna rock, you’re gonna roll”…. you get the picture.
They are one of those bands that seem eternally grateful that anyone has turned up at all, whilst at the same time seeming like they would have had just as much fun if we hadn’t. They end with “I’m A Big Boy With A Big Toy” which is dedicated to an audience member who is getting married and a track called “Rock City” which sounds just like all the others that have preceded it, and that, you suspect is the point.
This is fabulous, big, dumb fun to be enjoyed and not analysed. Not music concerned with how many roads a man has to walk down, but how much destruction he can cause on the way. An excellent way to spend a Friday night.