On Thursday 9th April, Tuff Love, Dragons That Make Love To Pandas, ItoldyouIwouldeatyou and Belladonnas played at the Boileroom in Guildford. This great line up comprised of three local bands from Guildford and one on tour from Glasgow.
Three-piece all female band Belladonnas began the night, dressed in their pyjamas, with their thrash grunge sound and a Riot Grrrl attitude. It’s rare that there are any girl members in the bands I see when I attend gigs, so it was great to see an all girl band with great confidence and music, rocking the stage especially in the DIY punk scene where we are so welcoming of anyone who wants to play and perform music – regardless off age, genre, backgroud etc. Their set was filled with upbeat songs with grungy riffs, but it may have been the slower and quieter songs that made their set. These songs retained their overall sound and feel through the catchy drums and vocals, but the guitars sounded more experimental here. All the girls sang at some point during their sets and complemented each other perfectly, blending into bittersweet, emotional grunge.
At points during Belladonnas set, it felt like something was missing. Maybe they were nervous or maybe it’s because they have only been together since June 2014, but they are great fresh local talent emerging from Guildford with a difference, they’re all girls and they aren’t sticking to the rules after only just becoming unbanned from The Boileroom to play this show.
ItoldyouIwouldeatyou have a sound influenced by pop punk, emo, indie, math rock and punk that would make them diverse and accessible to almost anyone. Their songs are filled with twinkly guitar riffs over rhythm guitars and catchy punk drum beats that give them their distinctive sound. The bands vocalist, Joey Ashworth, has a voice I’m a little bit obsessed with and sounds amazing live. During “Learning From American Mistakes”, he croons “it’s my very first time” over and over, showing his delicate perfect tone delivered with confidence and energy. Mixing Joey’s vocals with shouts from their guitarist Lewis Friend gave them an extra emo influenced edge.
ItoldyouIwouldeatyou were definitely my band of the night. Their sound is big and eclectic, perfect for much larger venues than The Boileroom and their performance was energetic and bouncy throughout, oozing confidence and passion for their music. They delivered each song immaculately, full of energy with a great sound and were a lot of fun to watch. It’s clear ItoldyouIwouldeatyou have worked to build up a small local following in Guildford, as most of the crowd seemed to be there to see them and it’s well deserved.
Dragons That Make Love To Pandas followed on from ItoldyouIwouldeatyou perfectly with a similar sounding math rock, emo, punk, and indie-influenced sound. Having only three members allowed guitarist and vocalist Sam Lewis to play around with a loop pedal during their set. As his style is to play twinkly tapped guitar riffs, he used the loop pedal to record rhythm guitar and loops of twinkly lead guitar parts adding a fuller and more complete sound to their set. Although most songs began with quiet and stripped back sounds before exploding into light and catchy punk/math rock songs which featured the use of the loop pedal with soft silvery vocals over the top of this. The bass and drums kept the rhythm within Dragons That Make Love To Pandas’ set, whilst Sam shone through and almost stole the show. His excellent guitar skills for creating and performing intricate and delicate riffs combined with his vocals showed that he is an incredibly talented musician.
It’s very rare that the crowd for the headline band is smaller than the crowd for the supporting bands, but at this local show this was the case. Closing the show were three-piece Tuff Love from Glasgow who were clearly not as known to the crowd as local Guildford bands ItoldyouIwouldeatyou and Dragons That Make Love To Pandas were and they, sadly, weren’t as good either.
A similar theme within this show was bands combining different sounds and genres and Tuff Love did this too, combining grunge, punk, indie and pop influences to create their sound. Their songs were full of sickly sweet melodies throughout, catchy drums and the blending of two vocalists singing high and light. Contrasting to this were the occasional heavier grungy riffs showing a mix of influences and a varied sound. Touring had clearly taken it’s toll on Tuff Love, as they discussed how they hated having to spend so much time with each other and seemed extremely distant shown throughout their performance.
This gig was a great showcase of local bands in Guildford in the DIY punk scene at a venue that that is known for putting on bigger shows. ItoldyouIwouldeatyou and Dragons That Make Love To Pandas are definitely bands to check out, listen to and catch at a local show.