LIVE REVIEW: Snakerattlers + Ugly Fly Guys + The Exes, The Doll at the Black Bull, Gateshead, Friday 1 November 2019
It might have been a night late, but what better way to celebrate Halloween at one of Tyneside’s most spookily-decorated pubs than a gig by Snakerattlers?
The York duo have been impressing audiences with their out-of-control trash rock ‘n’ roll for about three years now, after starting life as a side project from garage punk band The Franceens.
Married couple Dan and Naomi combine the darkest elements of trashy rock ‘n’ roll, punk and rockabilly, to impressive effect. At times it’s hard to believe the unholy racket they produce is made by just two people.
Dan plays an electric guitar which he teases some astonishing sounds from with the help of various effects pedals, while Naomi hammers out a propulsive beat on two drums and a cymbal. They’re like a darker White Stripes. Much darker.
Both contribute vocals, with Dan handling the lion’s share of the yelps, howls and snarls, and he also specialises in evil gurning, while Naomi looks over the top of her glasses in disapproving schoolma’am fashion.
Dismiss Snakerattlers as a novelty act at your peril, however. Their sound is hard to nail down, but it is highly addictive, and a good number of those present were obviously familiar with their songs.
They have two albums under their belt, 2017 debut This Is Rattlerock, and the follow-up All Heads Will Roll, released earlier this year, and their 15-song set was based largely around the more recent record, with all but one or two of its tracks making the cut.
They kicked off with its opening instrumental Aither’s Theme, and followed with one of its standout songs, Lose My Mind, and then a brace of their self-referencing songs, Do The Rattlerock and Rattlerock Stomp.
Ooga Booga is a nonsensical romp, while Snake Rattle Rock, Snake Rattle Roll is another song you can’t help singing along to. For the home run we were taken back to the first album – on sale tonight and online at their Big Cartel page here for only a fiver – for Sweet Sixteen and Ripper Rattle Rock.
Calls for an encore were greeted with “we haven’t got any more songs”, but the Rattlerock had done its job, judging by the steady stream of customers at Dan’s bulging merch case, which he hauled to the foot of the stage the second the show was over.
If you haven’t seen Snakerattlers, do yourself a favour and go to see them live. Then buy their albums and T-shirts, and tell all your friends how odd – in a good way – this duo are.
A word too for the support bands tonight. Snakerattlers have played with The Exes, who opened proceedings, before, and the Newcastle trio’s mix of garage, punk and indie was a tasty appetiser. Check out their recent Real To Reel compilation, which pulled together their previous two EPs at their Bandcamp page here.
Ugly Fly Guys are a four-piece from Durham made out of the same psychotic rockabilly DNA as Snakerattlers, and had something you don’t see too often – a drummer handling lead vocals. Two of the band got into the spirit of the night too, with the bass player dressed as The Invisible Man, and the keyboard player wearing a sugarskull skeleton mask.
Their songs weren’t bad either, with titles like Freak, Psych Ward Holiday and Head On A Platter giving you a good idea of where they’re coming from. I didn’t see any music for sale, but you can check them out on Facebook here. Yes, it was a night for outsiders, and I was glad to be among them.