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NOTHING, live in London

Support: Milk Teeth,

Looking like just about every sixth-form art student band circa 1998, all oversized knitted jumpers, scuffed Vans and possessing that coy, shoe-gazing demeanour that says ‘well, My Vitriol didn’t split up in my household!’, Bristol based quartet Milk Teeth [7] might seem a hard sell if you’re reading this whilst still in your Raining Blood pyjamas, tucking into a bowl of Frosted Kerry King-O’s. However, in much the same way that the earliest output of the Smashing Pumpkins resonated with many a metalhead in a profound yet somewhat confusing way, so does the blistering racket of Milk Teeth.

Perhaps for that very reason plenty of early comers have taken a gamble on the youngsters tonight and thanks to their caustic and noisy exertions few leave regretting their decision. Owing more of their sound to the likes of post-hardcore troupe Indian Summer or British shoegazers Slowdive than the grunge icons, though, underneath the squalls of deceptively luscious noise and rabid fuzz lurks a canny ear for song writing, that shines through the likes of Swear Jar and the infectiously catchy yet gnawingly melancholic Grease.

It seems like this time a year ago no-one gave two shits about Nothing [8]. A Relapse released debut record and a performance at the much hallowed Roadburn festival later, however, and the Philadelphian troupe seem to be on everyone’s lips overnight. That most of those lips are more interested in either talking about how “one of them stabbed a guy, right? And he did porridge for it too, yeah?” or referencing every British shoegaze band from the mid-90s do the band an enormous disservice. Tonight, then, playing their debut London show and closing out their first European tour it’s a chance for the music to do the talking… Eventually that is. With most of their members having come up through the hardcore and punk scenes you might expect a more immediate start to the quartet’s set – wandering on stage amid a flurry of in-jokes and bad cockney accents, noise and Oasis riffs (yes, you did read that correctly: Oasis riffs!) it’s a frustrating few minutes before a furiously deafening July The Fourth collapses every eardrum in the room.

More playful drivel about “weird Europeans” unfortunately follows before the crushing wash of Bent Nail, and just when you start to wonder if the band will play more than three songs in their allotted hour the likes of Hymn To The Pillory and Dig are expectorated with all the brilliantly chaotic precision of a drunk surgeon. Later, whilst numbers like Get Well and B&E are somewhat serene and almost blissfully melancholic on record, live however, swallowed in excessive volume and amp squeals the songs takes on an almost purging physicality; instruments are thrown, guitarist/vocalist Dominic Palermo dives head first into the front row (some achievement in a venue with a 7 ft. ceiling!) and it eventually becomes deafeningly clear exactly what all the fuss over Nothing was about.