If you’ve ever wondered, and to be fair it’s extremely unlikely, what Harry Enfield’s 80’s creation, Stavros, would look like fronting a doom metal band, then look no further than Pigsx7. Lead singer, Matthew Baty, resplendent in a t-shirt proclaiming, “Find What Feels Good” and a very natty pair of “pig-dragon” shorts, prowls the stage of the Albert Hall barefoot menacingly. Part Idle, part Begbie, this is a man who means business. The bare chested hardcore Rollins look has been replaced with a moustache and longer hair. Lockdown can do strange things to a person.
He points to the enormous banner, with the word Pigs dripping in blood and tells us how happy that gigs are back and the chance to unfurl it in public after so long. It dominates the stage and there can’t be many venues around at their current level, big enough to display it.
This is my first Pigs live experience, and they don’t disappoint. With their 3rd and most recent album, Viscerals, already nearly 18 months old, tonight’s set is pretty much split evenly with it and King Of Cowards, with just Sweet Relief putting in an appearance from their 2017 debut, Feed The Rats. To be fair it’s the only track that fits with the current set, clocking in at a miserly 4 and half minutes, compared to the 15 minute slogs of the rest of the album!
With echoes of the spoken word opener Blood and Butter, ebbing away as the band take up their places, the pounding drums of Chris Morley take centre stage, as the opening bars of Reducer reverberate round this old Wesleyan Chapel. It is Black Sabbath loud, which is fitting. In my dual role as both reviewer and photographer, I curse the fact that the stage is unusually tall and I’m not. I soldier on as Matt throws his shapes and proclaims “ego kills everything” as Rubbernecker takes shape. He’s certainly getting through his 10,000 steps tonight. The twin guitar assault of Sam and Adam, have to compete with the bass heavy sound of the rhythm section. Pigs live sound is full and crushing, taking no prisoners. Every second is filled, every potential gap has been coloured in, like a happy child with a new set of crayons, but who has only been given the black ones!
Gloamer slows things down for a few minutes, 8 of them to be precise, Hawkwind-esque. Shortest track of the set, at a shade over 3 minutes, World Crust gets the crowd moving again, a chance to get the blood flowing again. Cake of Light follows quickly before set closers, New Body and A66 take us on another quarter of an hour journey through premium doom/sludge metal territory. I disappear upstairs to take a few more shots from the balcony and as I remove my ear plugs, I’m struck by just how loud it is.
Their home town team, Newcastle United, might be bottom of the Premier League but on tonight’s evidence, these boys are definitely heading for the Champions League places. Wow, a whole review without resorting to a pork-based pun. A crackling night (oops, too good to resist!).