“I’m sorry everyone had to film Eastenders to be here tonight.”

Fortunately, this author hasn’t seen that particular load of guts for a quarter of a century, and my sanity is all the better for it. However, George Garratt has indirectly stumbled upon an important point.

heavy lungs they’re too good to be a support act for anyone, certainly not in their hometown. As the huge crowd that has gathered at Top Of The Pops tonight serves to confirm, this band is a big draw here.

Tonight is the post-punk quartet’s first show in Bristol in a long time. Was the last one really the Ukraine benefit concert with IDLES last spring? – and a decent proportion of the crowd is clearly here to see them, rather than headliners The Murder Capital. Unfortunately, their position in the support slot means we’ll only get 30 minutes of them tonight.

When there are only two bands on the bill, isn’t it reasonable to expect support to take a little over 30 minutes? Is anyone really going to object to that?

Of course, Heavy Lungs is a band that packs more emotion into 30 minutes than most bands in their entire career, and tonight we see plenty of proof of that.


Tonight’s set is a fine mix of some new tracks with some of his classics. The new tracks are hard and punky, and hopefully 2023 will be the year we finally hear them on vinyl (or CD or cassette, we’re not picky). It’s crazy to think that almost four years have passed since its last release.

However, the old favorites are the ones that really turn the moshpit roiling. ‘Self-esteem‘ is a behemoth loaded with feedback, and ‘Stutter‘ draws you in with a slightly silly guitar piece at first before exploding into a chaotic finale.

Singer Danny Nedelko remains one of the most compelling frontmen in the industry, a perpetually moving, constantly moving, and infinitely expressive being. He takes himself to the pit to deliver the fierce black flag hard of ‘Descend’, and the crowd spins around him in a circle like stars around a black hole. Except this black hole is nothing more than an affirmation of life.

The gang behind him is also powerful. Garratt and bassist James Minchall are fierce, and Oliver Southgate is the real secret to this band, a vastly underrated guitarist whose work truly gives this band its uniquely heavy sound. the brutal stone age queensopening riffs in the style of tonight’s set closer,’(A bit of) birthday’they are always a noise to behold.

Considering that the four of them have only really played a very small number of shows since pre-COVID, the precision of their performance tonight is hugely impressive.

Sadly, the brevity of tonight’s set means we’re all left somewhat unsatisfied, but hopefully, the promising number of live dates that are beginning to fill the Lungs schedule is a sign that this band is ready to rise again. Let’s hope so, because there are very few bands that can do it as well as they can.


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