Writer Billy Beale / Photographer Emily Doyle
If you find yourself in Digbeth under a moonless night, on the wind you might hear a harmonica played in anger. That’s when Black Mekon make their visitation, and this time they grace Fazeley Park for the ColdRice House Party.
Just about every surface of Fazeley Park is covered in mementos to past ColdRice gigs and it is simply an endless list of the coolest rock, punk, and blues. Jon Spencer, Bob Log III, Oh Sees, local staples like Swampmeat. Those carpeted walls are dripping with history.
In the bar, there’s a Black Mekon arcade cabinet with a game not unlike Streets of Rage. You play as Black Mekon jumpkicking and guitar swinging your way through hordes of Mick Jagger look alike ‘StonesClones’, all against a backdrop of Digbeth landmarks.
A cyborg Elvis bested me. I was advised that “you have to save the guitar for Elvis, that’s how to beat him.”
Against Lynchian red velvet curtains, Ollie from country punk blues band The Temple St. Resistance gives us a solo set of acoustic folk blues.
The playing style brought to mind is Skip James or the bluesier Dave Van Ronk material, but Ollie’s voice gives it more of a biker bar or roadhouse feel. Appropriate against the Twin Peaks decor.
Flanking their mysterious MEKONIZER device, in matching boiler suits, Black Mekon do what Black Mekon does – deliver unto us their brand of scuzzy, buzzy, fuzzy rock and roll. Two minds working as one, each song breathlessly crashing into the next, never putting a foot wrong.
Who does it better?
The relentless momentum continues as All Seeing Eyes lock into their telepathically tight blues grooves. I can’t overstate what a joy it is to see a band this tight.
Bonhamesque bombastic beats underpin frenetic bass grooves, while Johnny Walker’s right hand does the job of two guitarists. It’s a feast of blues, and they don’t stop till it’s well past midnight.
Next time ColdRice throws a party, you’d be daft to miss it. They don’t happen too often but they are truly special.
For more on All Seeing Eyes visit www.facebook.com/masonicsounds
For more on Black Mekon visit www.blackmekon.bandcamp.com
For more on Temple Street Resistance visit www.templestreetresistance.bandcamp.com
For more gigs and events at Fazeley Park visit www.facebook.com/fazeleypark