Fu Manchu

support Bloodnstuff
author BV date 13/10/14 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

If you find yourself in a position where stoner rock has taken over a significant part of your musical preferences and listening habits, then seeing Fu Manchu live is probably something that should also be a top priority. Although their recorded output has arguably been on the down-swing for some time now, redeeming themselves slightly with the most recent album “Gigantoid”, Fu Manchu still remain pivotal as spearheads of a unique and very specific desert/stoner rock sound – having influenced hundreds of other bands in their wake. Hence, I saw no other option that to proceed to Pumpehuset to get my dose of fuzzy stoner rock.

All photos courtesy of: Stefan thor Straten

Bloodnstuff

The support of the night was a, to me, unknown entity. Having only briefly seen their name in the description of the event online I was entirely uncertain of what to expect seeing as the name was no real indicator. What I found, was that Bloodnstuff is basically using a duo-format that is becoming more and more common to utilize – the vocalist/guitarist and drummer duo setup. What I’ll have a harder time describing, however, is their music. The band’s Facebook page describes them as post-rock but I really don’t see the connection there, as their set was an outburst of fast-paced energy – distilled into the usage of heavy riffs topped off with subtle melodic parts in between the riffing (an impressive feat from a single guitarist by the way). In spite of their initial success at having people banging their heads to the music, their set quickly stagnated due to a lack of diversity throughout the set-list. When all is said and done, the duo format is a spectacular thing when approached with the right attitude. However, if one is not prepared to work actively to diversify the material that particular duo can perform then a heap of problems soon present themselves – most notably the obvious difficulties of a duo when it comes to producing a wide range of sounds with only two instruments. What I can praise them for however, is their stage presence. Even though their music still lacks a certain diversity, their antics as performers were entirely engaging with short remarks easily winning over the crowd – my own personal favorite being a nonchalant mumbling of: ”Got CD’s, got vinyl, got shirts” from the stage – effectively giving the band an immediate air of humor that was quite refreshing. As their 40 minutes went by and Bloodnstuff left the stage, I was not entirely down with their sound but I wouldn’t mind watching them as a support band again. I just don’t think I’ll actively seek them out.

Fu Manchu

As the time rapidly approached 22:15 Fu Manchu took the stage to great applause that was soon to be deafened completely by a dense wall of fuzz and feedback. Opening with “Eatin’ Dust”, Fu Manchu quickly cemented their reputation as overlords of fuzz and mayhem – inciting instant headbanging and joy on people’s faces. The dense riff quickly fills the venue with that sort of sensation where you can practically feel the bass in your gut – making you wish you had remembered your earplugs if you had been forgetful enough to neglect them, which I luckily hadn’t. Proceeding through a heavy-hitting series of the three tracks “Hell on Wheels”, “Invaders on My Back” and “The Falcon Has Landed”, the audience makes it known that they are into it. Frequent outbursts about how awesome everything was were not uncommon – nor were the initially charming but soon-to-be immensely frustrating song-requests from the audience that only triggered a single, slightly hazy response from front-man Scott Hill; “Wow man, we’ve got so much to choose from…”

With “Dimension Shifter” Fu Manchu established that even though their material from “Gigantoid” might not necessarily be the greatest recorded material ever, the songs still have the potential to kick ass if they’re played loud enough in a tightly-packed venue filled to the brim with fans in ecstasy and frequent attempts as crowdsurfing. With “Mongoose” the vibe of the room was nearing a temporary peak with frantic bouncing around up front whilst the band as a collective unit made every effort possible to become as drenched in sweat as humanly possible – churning out some excessively cool solos and grooves along the way. Finally bowing down to popular demand, Fu Manchu launched into a riveting rendition of their classic “Evil Eye” – complete with massive applause, beers being spilled due to rapid movement and a massive amount of attempted singalongs. Just as things seemed to reach critical mass, Fu Manchu launched into all-time crowd favorite “King of The Road”. The up-tempo delivery of the track resulted in a slightly different vibe than how I had initially imagined it would turn out. However, Bob Balch’s incendiary guitar work made for an excellent delivery of the track nonetheless, as his riffing playfully fuzzed around on top of Scott Reeder and Brad Davis’ tight rhythmical foundation culminating in a wall of feedback and fuzz before the band left the stage, only to return for one, lengthy encore that took the band through an incredibly heavy, space-rock reminiscent musical excursion that rounded off a night that easily exceeded my expectations for these veterans of stoner rock. This won’t be the last time I see Fu Manchu, that much remains certain.

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