Gig Review: Big Spring, Fangclub & Ripley at The Horn, St Albans

Another wicked night at The Horn, Juicebox recently put on a stellar gig with Big Spring, Fangclub and Ripley. Each band were good in their own way, with raucous boldly vivid rock undertones to each of them, the audience at the gig featuring members of local bands like Concrete Caverns and The Violet Shakes. The gig was opened by Ripley, a three piece band from the local area. They were probably the band I was most impressed by that night, with a really pure raw rock feel to their set. I got Slaves/ Queens of The Stone Age/ Royal Blood vibes off them, and they even managed to amp up Blur’s Parklife, giving the jaunty track a more rock feel. The dynamism and raucousness of their set was a result of the band fusing indie and punk, with heavy distorted riffs played to meticulous perfection. Their sound was really tight, and there’s a layer of boldness to their sound and image on stage. Jack’s voice was really pure and gritty, and complimented perfectly by his roaring bass lines. Guitarist Jonty built up this wild punk edge too, backed up brilliantly by Max on drums. It’s always sick to see good local bands opening gigs at the Horn, especially when they showcase the high level of skill and talent that Ripley did. You can check the band’s website out here.


The second support act were the immense Fangclub, who had a few passionate fans in the crowd thriving off their set. Fangclub really are the type of band I click with; they use raw pounding guitar riffs with messy drum loops and rough vocals, giving their tracks a dark undertone. Packed with spit and gravel, Fangclub had a very heavy intimidating aura on stage. It’s brutal garage rock, and the raw punk riffs give their music a very catchy quality. They have a very mosh pit inducing feel also, packed to the brim with screwed up grunge enthusiasm. They managed to blend harsh punk grunge rock sounds with well written melodies, and there was a feel of meticulous tightness to how well the band played together. There’s a very raw Tigercub/ Drenge/ Demob Happy feel to the band, and I’d strongly recommend catching them live at some point soon as I can’t imagine the band to be sticking around small intimate venues for much longer.

Fangclub, backstage at The Horn

And then for the headliners Big Spring. I’ve listened to them quite a bit, and always liked the gritty vibrant rock edge the band have. Packed with rough riffs, distorted amp effects and a nasty grungy force, their music has always been insane. Similar to bands like God Damn, Black Foxxes and Dead!, Big Spring have a very cool reputation, and the heaviness to their music gives them a cool post-metal grunge sound. However, and it kills me to say this, they were a bit underwhelming on stage? For some reason it didn’t click with me as I’d hoped, and the energy and power they have on record didn’t seem to be 100% there. I don’t know if it was the fact they weren’t playing to a huge crowd, or that maybe the amped up distorted loops and riffs they have on record are easily done in an experimental studio, more so than live with only limited hands. I’m not saying they were bad though, as they were fucking good. My expectations (based on killer tracks I adore like Buzzards Leave The Bones and On A Bamboo Sleeping Mat) were just extremely high, and I feel like the killer sound they have was lessened slightly on stage. I’d love to see them again though and give them another go at some point. The heaviness and power they have as a band is undeniable on record, and there’s no denying there is something very special about the raucous vibrant punk sound the band have.

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Big Spring (shot by Alan Wells)

The Horn has some sick gigs coming up soon, most excitingly Dead! and Airways next week (which I am SO pumped for), and Strange Bones in a couple of months. You can buy tickets for gigs at The Horn here.


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