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SUITED UP
:: Archie Bronson Outfit ::
01 November 2004 / Academy 2 / Manchester
By Cath Aubergine

They’re a mysterious bunch, the Archie Bronson Outfit. For a start, it’s a none of them’s called Archie Bronson. Their stage is adorned with strings of fairly lights, a plastic goose and a pumpkin lantern – with a goose in flight carved in place of the face. Of course. Bearded to a man, they look less like a rock’n’roll band than the staff of a socialist bicycle repair co-operative. But christ, are they loud!

They open with Butterfiles, on paper a fairly basic blues tune, but brought to towering life here with bass you could use to drill up pavements, and its “I need you…” refrain howled from somewhere close to the centre of the earth. But immensely talented as the duo up front are, it’s the drummer you find yourself watching. Minimal kit, set up so low it’s almost florr level, he’s almost curled over it, eyes bulging wild like a man possessed and sticks flying hard and fast. It’s blues, yeah, but none of this pretty-boy nonsense as practised by the White Stripes, Black Keys (tonight’s headliners incidentally, who bored me out of the door within four songs) or various other coloured objects… this is raw, psychedelic-edged, brooding, evil rock’n’roll blues. Bloodheat is breezeblock heavy and so loud it almost hurts… but not quite. It’s such a thoroughly intense experience it all feels over rather too quickly, but not before the a new track’s unleashed in all its epic glory – Rituals is a sprawling journey through swamps, cellars and hell and a fourth man also probably not called Archie joining on something vaguely sax-like I’d have recognised if I’d ever listened in school music lessons. Headline tour soon, please…


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