The Howling: the birth of Tommy Concrete and the Werewolves - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #130

A bog-standard photo emerging from
an exceptional performance.
It is now, strangely, that I reflect that the holistic world situation has become so tense and nervous and wrong that events unthinkable just two or three years ago are now almost beyond comment; like being chased down the Cowgate sprinting at full speed away from werewolves disguised as policemen and streets full of shambling corpses, all the while trying to photograph the whole retched business for some kind of posterity… but not really knowing why… Yes kiddies it was Hallowe’en again, the most misspelled of Pagan Christianised rituals turned pointless and meaningless by societies worst cunts, but more eventfully there was a new incarnation of Chief Heathen and Head Cunt Tommy Concrete, this time as Tommy Concrete and the Werewolves playing solo shit, some Shitball shit, and a bunch of other shit you mighta heard before, might not. Supporting were Edinburgh’s latest doom babies Atragon and Monheim and built into a late-night freak fest, least of all because of location: Bannermans rock and Whisky Bar, the Cowgate, scene of all the finest freak-jiving on the most otherwise normal of nights, and date, 31st of October, all-Hallows’ Eve. It was a weird and twisted night, the weird and twisted interview sliding down the sink of the evening was in many ways the most cerebral and normal moment of the entire affair.

Monheim, all tall, all thin, all hairy.
The interview with Jackal-Headed Guard of the Dead guards Tomas Concrete and Christopher Smith shall be dealt with in another discussion because the full creeping horror of the experience cannot, and will not, be relayed at this juncture. The story shall begin where the gig began, with Penicuik death metallers Monheim. Penicuik is to me what it is to the Number 37, the end of the line. Although that seems to have worked for the post-thrash industrial camo-trousered young Monheim. Led by the imposingly tall frontman and inexplicably heroin-junkie skinny bass and backing guitar players, they attempt to banish the rats from the walls with rippling waves of Benzedrine fury and funnelling down the gullet of time riffs from a bygone age and Sepultura covers from beyond the vale.
Atragon - casting spells and slaying dragons.

I communicate to Ewen Cameron, resident bass-weilding Witchfinder General of Atragon that I think he’s sold out. I hoped the Athens of the North’s foremost doomy pub-rockers would continue the rigorous campaign of self-effacement by only playing the same two-song half-hour set for all of time. Alas, Atragon bring to the evening a new song and a Misfits cover. Atragon come staffed by David Tennant as Dr. Who on gee-tar, the Witchfinder General on front-and-centre groove bass, what appears for all the world like a young Jus Oborn (appropriate he soundchecks with the Dopethrone riff) on lead git-yar, Slenderman on drums and a despairing inhuman hermaphroditic creature on the vocals. Jan Gardener is a revelation, self-deprecating, finishing songs and the set with “thanks for putting up with that”. It’s a weird weird set, thunderous bass notes thundering over the top of everything else like a vast fleet of Messerschmitt bombers, bringing just behind them the cacophonous screaming napalm horror of the rest of the band, not least Jan Gardener’s vocals, which are desperate and screamingly evocative of a dangerous, frightening place. The whole sound is vast, palatial, with intricacies and embellishments on a sound that recreates the audio output of a scanning electron telescope passing its gaze across the surface of the sun. Call it fuzzomatic if you like, this is ready to take astral flight. Atragon in many ways, despite their newness and fresh-facedness, becoming a staple of Edinburgh doom, and quite possibly the cure for what ails us.
Concrete bulwark.
And then Concrete, poet, writer, martial artist, star of electricity, backed up by the werewolves of Chris Smith (Lords of Bastard, Jackal-Headed Guard of the Dead) on bass and Michael Brannagh hitting the skins and playing all manner of Concrete solo stuff, some Banished From the Mages Guild stuff and some new stuff too (which went down very well), and Shitball hits like It’s Not Fucked, It’s Just Shit. “Short songs”, as described by Concrete who is now ruminating in the Exploited legion bar and working on Tomorrow We Transmogrify, a sequel to the Wages of Metal. It’s much more punk and death metal than we’ve had tonight, there’s less of the Jackal-Headed Guard of the Dead doom poached by Atragon, despite two thirds of the infamous northern doommongers being present. Concrete and co. are dressed in full garb like corpse paint in the rain, drawing parallels on one hand between Heath Ledger’s Joker and the cover of Blaze in the Northern Sky and playing up a storm of technical, brutally loud rock and roll struck with overwrought poses. The music is a reflection of the players, wild staring queballs writhing in coal-blackened faces and nightmarish writhings in the half-darkness. There are plans to record a new Concrete and the Werewolves album recorded this year and released Aprilish next year. Like in any situation involving Tommy Concrete, keep your wits about you.
A northern werewolf in Edinburgh.
Atragon have a bandcamp with some free music for y'all, and keep up to speed with all things Tommy Concrete on his blog.

Written under duress by Steven.

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