The Underworld, London
17 June 2010
With their tattooed limbs and trucker caps, their wall-eyed glares and N’Awlins shirts that might never actually have seen better days, Weedeater strike about as Southern image as can be imagined, straight out of Wilmington, North Carolina via the casting for a Rob Zombie slasher flick soundtracked by the leavings of the stoner blues. Set down like they were at home on the stage of Camden’s darkest haven of all things heavy and metal, the trio’s sprays of small blond dreads, forked-viper scraggly beard or the smeared pencil moustache of guitarist Shep‘s greasemonkey suavity are the hirsute equivalent of their gear from messers Marshall, Ampeg and Sunn making up the backline of battered cabs whose grilles are held together with gaffer tape as much as screws.
Sniffing appreciatively at a bag of green stuff and downing a beer or two, they launch clenched-fist and devil-horn salutes to the crowd, who throw them right back as Weedeater launch into a Gibson grind and drummed-up surge of good ol’ boys who like to smoke and drink and play their sludgecore hard with a tearing edge of scathing ire, like Khanate playing Lynyrd Skynrd. This is a band who obviously get off on simply playing together, drummer Keko and bassist Dixie (and how much more Southern a name is possible than that?) headbanging and leering with long-tongued gurns of delight at each other as the crowd whips up a small but violently-formed moshpit in front of them. Dixie in particular seems to be spitting out some personal demons like a snake-handler who’s swapped his rattler for a bass, frequently tapping his head hard like he’s shaking something back into place, scowling with the most fearsome cross-eyed 1,000-yard stare along the line of his mic as he shrieks and snarls his anger through the PA.
As the first to final blasts of adrenaline-fuelled vitriol shows, eating their weed hasn’t slowed them down that much, nor the fans in the pit who give it some amphetamine welly in honour of the band’s last spasmodic riff out. It’s akin to being caught up in a bar fight whose energies are directed into co-operative, flocking motion in which damage and injury is skilfully avoided by the participants. But if they were to take on the actual amount of anger being spat out by these inked- and tanked-up beachside metalheads, if the bones were picked rather than just the guitars, and skulls hammered more than the skins of the drums under the onslaught of Keko, then the blood and fury would be a massacre to behold. Isn’t the pacifying power of cannabis sativa something to behold?