Leatherface

Leatherface - Live In MelbourneThere are certain things in life that make me really happy. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than getting into bed, it doesn't even have to be my own bed as there is a slight thrill in getting to know the intimate lumps of a strange mattress and the varying crispness of sheets and the obligatory pillowcase. Some people approach different beds with a degree of caution. I've seen people in hostels turn their noses up at bunk beds and exclaim "i'm not sleeping there, who knows who has had their greasy head on that pillow?". To those people I urge them to just dive in and embrace what is unfamiliar because in the end you're just going to wriggle down, relax and let yourself drift into a state of peace and relaxation... Just like a Leatherface live album...

Now Leatherface make me really happy... Frankie Norman Warsaw Stubbs and the rest of the Mackem hellraisers have been a massive part of my life for a long while now. If they released a brown paper bag full of shit with their name on the front in crayon I would still buy it. Stubbs' gravelly and raw voice reminds me of the strange beds mentioned previously, you shouldn't find them so comforting and relaxing but you just do... At a one Leatherface gig I was honoured to be at, Stubbsy was so pissed that he waded into the crowd during Little White God and smacked a bloke in the face whilst sneering that he was a "Little White C**t" on the grounds the bloke accidentally hit Stubbsy in the mouth with his own mic stand.... good times.

Viva La Arthouse manages to harness all the chaos and craftsmanship of a Leatherface live show but still contain the Northern charm and British cultural references that purvey all of Leatherface's discography (see the chants of "Stevie Bruce's red and white army" throughout the end of Hops and Barley, a reference to the dough faced Sunderland manager). The legendary Arthouse in Melbourne provides the backdrop for this live album and allows some light hearted xenophobic Stubbs banter between songs "this kangaroo meat is really having an affect on me". The setlist is cracking encompassing most of the material from the latest album The Stormy Petrel all the way back to the simply cracking Peasant in Paradise from 1996's Fill Your Boots. Some people might moan about the sound quality on the record but if we're being honest a lot of the fun in listening to Leatherface is working out just what Stubbs and the boys are going on about. If you have a look at some of the lyrics of Dead Industrial Atmosphere you can actually feel the destruction of some of England's northern industry in Frankie's vitriol whereas the frenetic intro to Watching You Sleep puts you in the mind of a drunken blur as you nail the whiskey thinking about all the women that slipped away in your life "he bought you flowers, I bought you drink, you can't drink flowers but flowers can drink"...

Do I have some complaints about Viva La Arthouse? Well yeah, there's no Andy, Deep Green Beautiful Levelling or Pandora's Box but then I'm just being well ungrateful. The ramshackle version of the NIN/Johnny Cash song Hurt at the end wouldn't be my way of ending the album after a blistering Springtime and Hops and Barley (seeing them in Dusseldorf recently they ended on You Are My Sunshine) but what do you want from a band that have cemented themselves as punk royalty? In conclusion a really good introduction for those who are uninitiated to an amazing band, you won't want to go to bed whilst listening to it...

8.5/10

Source: punkbrunch.blogspot.com

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