All Hallows Hall is my new favorite place. It is right next to the Jolly Roger in Easton which is a pub that looks terrifying but is run with a rod of iron by the landlord so it’s safe. Unlike the 2 pubs either side of it you won’t see guns, knives or drugs. You will see some pretty steamy dancing on a Saturday night though and the Guinness is very good.
The church hall was derelict for years and it’s been taken over and turned into an amazing venue. A tardis stands in one corner, the ceiling has an insane mural of the sky and circus rigging is set up ready to go. It’s a work in progress and there is still clearly more to do but it’s a great start. It is just a hall, bars to the back, loos to the side and with a stage so high that even the presence of my nemesis Big Jeff didn’t piss me off – I could still see the band even though he always stands at the front and is about 8 feet tall and wide.
Some genius had the idea of projecting psychedelic kaleidoscope images all over the stage which made it look like a taller, more spacious version of the Factory. Without the projections it would have just been a church hall. The sound isn’t great, it all bounces back and echos, it would be a good place to sing madrigals but guitars and drums sort of get lost in it all. I think they have plans to insulate the top back wall which would probably make a huge difference.
We rocked up at 9 on a miserable wet Saturday night with minging hangovers and little energy, found chairs and beer and felt old. The place started to fill up with people half our age, lovely happy young people drinking wine from bottles. Good humoured young people who accepted me using the night as a tipsy opportunity to practice properly being old and ranty. Shouting ‘pick up your bottle you fucking reprobate’ made them blame each other, question whether they should do as they were told and fall over the bottle when they couldn’t see it to pick it up. I love being right.
There were 4 bands playing for a bargain £3, all of which I’d heard of but I’d only seen 2 of them. They are all with Howling Owl Records who I only know about because I bought one of their records purely on the basis that I liked the cover, not because I am a young hip thing who knows about bands before 6 Music finds them. It was a good album, I got lucky.
First on were Let’s Kill Janice; indie, pop, garage rock with a tiny little singer with kooky dance moves. Fun. She has a kind of weak voice which works really well with the music, bringing a sort of sweet lightness to what would otherwise be just normal garage rock.
Next up were the stars of the show – Velcro Hooks who are a nice mish mash of the Pixies and the Stooges with great catchy tunes, proper thumping drums and enough jangly guitar to make even me consider dancing. For me to dance I have to be so drunk I can’t stand so it never happens.
If you ever need a song to sing along to try this one -‘it’s been a long time coming with you……’. The wine had kicked in and by this time most of the crowd were throwing beer cans around, jumping up and down and singing along. Oh yes! There was tangoing, there was breakdancing, more beer cans were thrown, people were getting up on stage and joining in….From out of nowhere came free vodka jelly’s! The night just got even better.
Hollow Giants were the ones I really went to see. Having seen them rock the tarp off a marquee earlier in the year I was really looking forward to them. They played magnificently, impeccably, but the acoustics in the hall didn’t do them any favours. They mostly remind me of BRMC a couple of albums ago. They are a whole lot better live and in a venue with a lower ceiling.
Last up were Towns who I saw a couple of years ago when they looked a lot younger and their parents came to see them. The are still Madchester shoegazy types but instead of shy teenagers they’ve got hip; fur coats and shades have replaced baggy t-shirts. There was no sign of any parents.
By the time Towns played the audience were raddled. They called Oliver Wilde up on stage, he barely made it up the steep steps, then crash landed next to the drums. Most everyone else followed, with people climbing on the scaffolding, more beer cans flying and guitars screaming. By the time we left most everyone else was on the stage. The beautiful happy drunken crowd made the night into one big happy joyous celebration of noise and wine. Bacchus was worshipped.
I’d go and see all these bands again without hesitation and I’ll be keeping an eye on developments at All Hallows. What a fab night.