The Scala, London, is more reminiscent of a bear pit than music hall, with its various perches on three sides overlooking a small stage. First to be thrust in, is fellow Leeds thrashers, Autobahn. Their noise is fierce and raw, the set highlight being Ulcer, with its thunderous bass under screeching guitars, and sequined frontman Craig Johnson stirring the crowd.
If you thought Autobahn were fierce, Bad Breeding sent the crowd into a frenzy. Ramping up the manic energy with relentless crashing drums, 100mph pace and spat out screaming vocals, they have much in common with demonic two-piece, Slaves.
The lead singer spent the majority of the first half the set curled up in a fetal position, before vaulting the barriers and shrieking within the epicenter of the mosh pit. It was such a chaotic, deranged support, it threatened to engulf the anticipation surrounding Eagulls.
Eagulls marched on stage and into the opener, the catchy Moulting, which seemed a way for the band to test the waters, and gauge the atmosphere.
Wearing his uniform of black t-shirt tucked into black trousers, George Mitchell is a captivating frontman. Ghoulish and gangling, he looks allergic to sunlight, as he lurks on the unlit stage, one hand either leaning on the mic stand or other wise tucked behind his back, he wails mid-set highlight, Nerve Endings.
The oscillating, grinding guitars and echoing drums have much in common with Killing Joke, and their brand of nihilistic post punk has a little more purpose to it than the two support acts. Unlike the explosive anger of Autobahn and Bad Breeding, Eagulls is more restrained and introverted. Mitchell’s self-loathing and neurotic lyrics draw heavily from Ian Curtis, such as in Hollow Visions . “Hollow visions all around me, hollow visions you’ll see, I’ll see”..
After half an hour or so, Mitchell, who had barely said a word to the crowd, announced the next would be their last song, and Eagulls kicked into crowd favourite, Possessed. Leaving without an encore, they left as passively as they entered . There seemed to be a certain disconnect between the band and the raucous crowd.
They don’t care if anyone likes them, or if anyone enjoyed the show. Perhaps cold and obnoxious, but more likely a hallmark of Eagulls authenticity as a punk outfit.
Eagulls are now embarking on a European tour, and their debut album is available now http://www.eagulls.co.uk/
Autobahn debut album also available http://www.autobahnmusik.co.uk/
Bad Breeding EP, Chains, reviewed here http://backseatmafia.com/2014/10/29/new-music-bad-breeding-chains/