LIVE: Heavy Lungs - Marble Factory, Bristol, 24/02/2023 1

LIVE: Heavy Lungs – Marble Factory, Bristol, 24/02/2023

“Sorry you all had to tape Eastenders to be here tonight.”

Fortunately, this author hasn’t watched that particular load of tripe for a quarter century, and my mental health is all the better for it. However, George Garratt has indirectly stumbled on an important point.

Heavy Lungs are far too good to ever be a support act for anyone – certainly not in their home town. As the large crowd that has gathered at Top Of The Pops o’clock tonight serves to confirm, this band is a big draw here.

Tonight is the post-punk quartet’s first Bristol show in way too long – was the last one really the Ukraine Benefit show with IDLES last spring? – and a decent proportion of the crowd are clearly here to see them, rather than headliners The Murder Capital. Unfortunately, their position in the support slot means we only get 30 minutes of them tonight.

When there are only two bands on the bill, is it unreasonable to expect the support to be given a bit more than 30 minutes? Is anyone really going to object to that?

Of course, Heavy Lungs are a band that pack more excitement into 30 minutes than most bands manage in their entire careers, and tonight we see plenty of evidence of that.

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Tonight’s set is a fine mixture of some new tracks with some of their classics. The new tracks are hard and punky, and hopefully 2023 will be the year where we finally hear them committed to vinyl (or CD, or cassette, we ain’t picky). Crazy to think it’s been nearly four years since their last release.

The old favourites, though, are the ones that really get the moshpit roiling. ‘Self Worth‘ is a feedback-laden juggernaut, and ‘Stutter‘ lures you in with a slightly goofy guitar piece in the beginning before exploding into a chaotic ending.

Singer Danny Nedelko remains one of the most engaging frontmen in the business, a being in perpetual motion, constantly moving and endlessly expressive. He takes to the pit himself to deliver the ferocious Black Flag hardcore of ‘Descend’, and the crowd revolve around him in a circle like stars around a black hole. Except this black hole is nothing but life-affirming.

The band behind him are powerful too. Garratt and bassist James Minchall are ferocious, and Oliver Southgate is the real secret sauce of this band, a hugely underrated guitarist whose work really gives this band their uniquely heavy sound. The brutal Queens of the Stone Age-style opening riffs of tonight’s set closer, ‘(A Bit of a) Birthday’, are always a noise to behold.

Considering the four of them have really only played a very small number of shows since before COVID, the tightness of their performance tonight is hugely impressive.

Sadly, the brevity of tonight’s set means that we are all left somewhat unfulfilled, but hopefully the promising number of live dates that are starting to fill the Lungs’ calendar are a sign that this band is ready to ramp up again. Let’s hope so, because there are very few bands out there that can bring it as well as they can.

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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.