Live Review: Concrete Donkey w/Weaponry & Boredoms In The Bathroom @ Facebar Reading

A last minute ish line up change sees Black Emerald drop off tonight’s billing to be replaced by Reading natives  Boredoms In The Bathroom [6/10] who are a Post-Rock duo with an Industrial Metal heart and Progressive leanings. Sound complicated? Actually what David Turner and Martin Robertson create could be better described as a soundtrack to Doom or Quake at 2am after a bottle of bourbon. Harsh programmed drum sounds provide a backdrop to endless riffs that build in cycles and have the ebb and flow of a river to the sea. “Choke” and “Optimistic Automation” are a pair of decent songs and while there are some vocals at the start of their set, they are at their best instrumentally.

The change in the line-up tonight means Weaponry [9/10] move up the running order and get a longer set, which is the opportunity to throw into the mix a brand new song that the band have been changing parts to in the build up to the show tonight. “Moving to Andromeda” is moved from its opening slot and will be re-recorded in the not too distant future to replace the rougher demo version currently on streaming platforms and goes down a storm, while “Hard Place” and “Search For Life” take pride of place in a set full of early career Deftones riffs and Alternative Metal. As always, the step ladder comes out and frontman Al Bristow is ever the showman, stalking the floor, sitting on the bar and standing on the ladder so everyone in the audience get at least one bead of his sweat on them. At one point, he’s rolling around on the floor making the shapes of dead bodies awaiting their chalk lines during “Blindly Follow Us (All These People Are Dead)”. He could at least clean the floor while he’s down there!

Exeter quartet Concrete Donkey [7/10] (with a possible reference to the classic videogame Worms) are tonight’s headliners and offer up an eclectic mix of Progressive Hard Rock and Metal with bassist Dan Turner hammering a 6 string. They are a product of a wide range of influences and they wear that on their collective sleeves like a badge of pride. While their songs are solid enough to be engaging and catchy with “Laminate” being a prime example, they also suffer from a few over indulgent moments and some of the material is one verse or chorus too long. That being said, despite the technical issues they blast through their set with drummer Dave Parsons looking like he belongs in an 80s hair Metal band and delivering a jackhammer performance in polar opposite. Closing on a new song in “Control” is something of a surprise but when it’s the heaviest you have to offer and abandons the 90% clean vocals from the earlier tracks and goes straight for the throat, it’s the right move at the right time.

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