In an age where most venues possess the personality of Eric Clapton (dull, workmanlike) the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club is a rare treat, a carpeted time warp where nothing appears to have changed since it opened in 1953. It’s perfect for Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell.
These Hastings hairies have been attempting to turn back rock’s timer since 2012 debut Don’t Hear It Fear it!, but it’s only now that their stopped-clock appeal is reaching beyond those who know their Blue Cheer b-sides.
Because whereas the likes of Temples and even Rise Above labelmates Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats take an academic interest in the past, The Shovell live and breathe it then wash it down with a crate of Watneys Red Barrel.
You only have to look into the bloodshot eyes of singer-guitarist Johnny Gorilla as he ambles on stage at ten p.m with a flying V — think Lemmy meets Sex Machine from Dusk Til Dawn — to know this is a group who take their retro-active fun seriously.
But the image — Reading Festival 1972, essentially — also comes with an encyclopaedic knowledge of their source material and — crucially — killer tunes.
Opener Do It Now is a brutalist slab of proto-metal which nods to both Sabbath and The Pink Fairies, while Running From Home is an unsavoury tale which lurches from Motorhead-sized riffing to full-blown sludge metal.
Put it down to some intensive gigging - tonight is the last date of their brilliantly dubbed the Wreckin’ and Wrockin’ tour - but every aspect of the trio’s second album Check ‘Em Before You Wreck ‘Em is pushed to the limit.
So Bulletproof is the sound of a methalated Zep, while Louis Comfort-Wiggins’ bass on 2 Tonne Fuckboot is filthier than Sir Lord Baltimore on a crack binge, all somehow held together by drummer Bill Darlington’s Bonham-esque energy.
In other hands, of course, such fundamentalist thrills might seem pointless. But The Shovell’s conviction also comes laced with a surrealist streak worthy of Vivan Stanshall.
“This one’s about a prize marrow, he’s called Bernard” drawls Gorilla before final number The Thicker The Better erupts into a titanic fret-frenzy of trashed cymbals, overdriven bass and squalling feedback.
Gig of the month.