LIVE: Milk Teeth / Hindsights / Eat Me / and more @ West Track Studios, Canterbury

By Ben Tipple

When a promoter advertises an event as limited capacity and suggests early attendance to avoid disappointment, there is usually an ulterior motive. The suggestion of limited capacity aims to bring the hordes flooding in early, spending their hard earned cash at an overpriced bar housed within the venue rather than downing warm tinnies in the rain and arriving half-cut.

When tonight’s promoter advertised this exciting showcase that sees grunge rockers Milk Teeth head to the corner of the country, he wasn’t kidding around. Joined by Maidenhead sad rockers Hindsights, Folkestone rough and cocky Eat Me, self-prescribed shitty dudes Mass Lines (we believe Shitty Dudes may at one point have been their band name) and upstarts Coloured In, Milk Teeth venture into a ridiculously intimate space – one which holds no more than 60ish people, with no bar in sight.

Canterbury’s West Track Studios is a practice space through and through. There’s no sound proofing, leading to regular “shut the door” jeers from those in the know. There are two settings for the lights – on or off, saved by a lamp that sporadically attempts to take centre stage by inexplicably falling over. In fact, for those who regularly attended shows during their school days in decrepit church halls smuggling Reefs in their oversized backpacks, tonight feels just like home.

After Coloured In and Mass Lines battle with some minimalist sound equipment, resulting in the vocals offensively overshadowing some promising doom laden instrumentation and talented math-rock compositions respectively, Folkestone’s Eat Me turn things up a notch – led by their frontman’s brash charisma. They may suffer from the same issues that befall their predecessors however their grunge-punk meets pop sing-along bridges show a wealth of potential.

Hindsights seize the opportunity to showcase various numbers from their new ‘Cold Walls/Cloudy Eyes’ album, including the recently released ‘Pensive’ and the first-part-of-the-title track. Their live performance carries significantly more punch than the record, with the rare heavier moments encouraging hazardous crowd-surfing. Managing in part to contain the vocal issues that unavoidably plague the simple sound setup, frontman Benio Baumgart moves expertly from soft vocals to cracked screams – until the microphone gives up. With the tracks sounding great on record, Hindsights give them even more depth live.

With the room at melting point despite the sub-zero temperatures plaguing smokers outside, Milk Teeth launch into tracks from their ‘Sad Sack’ EP – demonstrating their well-honed balance between grunge revival and full-throttle rock. Their performance moves from a smack in the face to understated fuzzy reverb at a second’s notice, particularly as things slow right down for the stunning ‘Swear Jar’. The dual vocals between Becky and Josh underpin their live show just as it does their music, bringing not only a different sound but a different atmosphere. Milk Teeth are simultaneously heavy and reserved, brutal and gentle. Lit under two lamps and playing through basic speakers, this is just where you’d expect to find their grunge.