LIVE: Stillbust Secret Show @ Out of Key Studio, Gloucester

By Ben Adsett

Where did you spend your Saturday night? We spent ours on an industrial estate in Gloucester watching the return of local heavy punk misfits Stillbust. It’s been a decade since their last show and in line with their DIY attitude they decided that rather than playing a standard venue, they would instead build a stage out of pallets in an empty room, fill it with lights and invite people to come along and watch with their own beer (and a ticket).

From the car park, a buzz was audible from outside the ‘venue’ as the crowd soaked up the last of the sunshine. It was clear this wasn’t just a reunion for Stillbust but also for many of those in attendance, with warm greetings all around. This is what happens when local legends come back from the dead. To build hype for their headline set the band had handpicked the line up, starting with Rasin Awareness. These three really warmed in to their set and by the end had heads nodding along throughout to their intense, technical take on skate punk. With nods towards the melodic hardcore/skate punk of Phinius Gage, Melon Ball and Satanic Surfers combed with the mature pop punk of Doe and Belvedere, this is a band who revel in the complex but are unafraid of a catchy hook or chorus.

With the audience and room suitably warmed up, Blood Uncle took things up a notch in both volume and intensity. In a room with so many elder members of the DIY scene, this resulted in ear defenders being applied en masse. Their set was a trip through DIY hardcore with obvious nods towards Minor Threat and Black Flag, whose early experimental sound clashed with breakdowns and the occasional sludgy riffs of Going Off or Svalbard. As the short sharp songs fired from the stage the pit was ignited and bodies began to crash into each other at the front. This seemed to spur Blood Uncle on, and their set became more frantic as their pace increased – along with the temperature in the room. As the last notes bounced round the walls, the stage and the pit were a sweaty mess.

After a brief trip outside for more standing and catching up the room filled up for the return of Stillbust. There was no questioning if the audience were ready as they tore through the first few songs at a reckless pace. The crowd instantly went wild with a similarly reckless attitude, the pit swirling around and growing with every note. The breaks between songs provided some much needed respite and moments of emotional chatter, which seemed as important to the crowd as it did to the band. As they clock up the musical nods to fellow hardcore misfits Refused, Blakfish and Meet Me In St Louis it becomes that clear regardless of current trends, this is a band who will always sound different.

As the chaos increases from the stage to the pit the band call for a human pyramid, deflecting the audience from their ever increasing circles to pile their bodies on top of each other until they can touch the tiled ceiling. Every word is screamed back by the intensifying room and, as the final songs are called. it reaches a heat and an excitement level that can only exist in such a small space. People are crowd surfing, there are kids on shoulders in the pit, t-shirts are flying overhead towards the stage and most importantly, everyone is looking after each other. This is a community, not just a bunch of dickheads spin kicking and crowd killing.

For their final, Stillbust create more chaos with another human pyramid that collapses and returns to an endless cycle of crowd surfers. This turns into the band atop the hands of audience members as they play their final notes, being lifted into the air like the heroes they are.

This show was a throwback to a time Gloucestershire still had a strong DIY music scene. Let’s hope this isn’t really the last we’ll see of Stillbust, but the start of something instead.


Photo by Adam Chandler