Natural Child, Strange Collective, Black Diamond, Ohmens: Studio 2, Liverpool

Natural Child

Natural Child

A midweek thriller for GetintothisNeal McGrath as Natural Child head the bill at a trio of scuzzy treats at Studio 2.

The sleek setting of Studio 2 has seen some sights in its time, but few nights will have been dirtier than when Natural Child and their support swaggered into town. Whisky-soaked, scuzzy riffs were the order of the evening as a triple-headed guitar-slut of a bill proved a winner in this midweek Mersey thriller.

Ohmens are up first on the this improbably warm September evening, playing their debut gig. Their first song is a mess of squalling feedback and screamed vocals from the drummer, a curious cross between Gerard Depardieu and Johnny Vegas, and in short, was atrocious. Our heart sank. However, all was not lost, and from the second song (Second Song) onwards they progressively improved. Powerful, heavy, rocking in-your-face riffs abound, great machine gun drumming on their last song (Last Song), and while they sound like they’re going to collapse at any minute, it’s part of the their charm.
They don’t take themselves too seriously, but someone should probably tell them they could actually be quite good.
Black Diamond are next and are the exact the opposite of Ohmens. Young (the drummer never would have got on the thunderlooper at Alton Towers), annoyingly good looking (the singer definitely lost his virginity before all his friends, to the best looking girl in town), perfectly rehearsed and all prodigiously talented musicians.
However, the swaggering desert riff of Down in Flames aside, they were a bit too safe and middle of the road. Ironically, they could learn from Ohmens’ wild abandon.
Strange Collective are a band who are already making waves on the local scene, and from the first chiming powerchords it was easy to see why. Great Ty Segall fuzzy guitar leads, garagey rhythms and dream pop vocals. Bassist Michael Robinson was easily the coolest person in the room – Dylan ’66 hair, dark sunglasses and tobacco pouch poking out of the top pocket of his military shirt. It all would have been pointless had his bass tone not sounded so damn fine.

Strange Collective

It was after ten when the evening’s headliners, Nashville’s Natural Child took to the stage. After a slow start they soon settled into a dirty, rough, barroom rock ‘n’ roll groove. They sound like beer, they sound like whiskey, they sound like cigarettes. The new album is a more slick countryfied affair but out here on tour it’s all rocking out. Even their brilliant cover of Billy Joe Shaver’s Slow Rollin’ Low sounded like a Faces single.
They even generously gave us an insight into their writing process. Revealing that their unreleased composition Swing Story is about a friend of their’s from back home, who managed to seduce a disabled girl. Upon getting back to her house he helpfully placed her in her support swing in the garden. After having sex with her, he helped her back in her wheelchair and wheeled her back into the house only to be confronted by her father. Amazingly the dad embraced him and said he must be a real nice person, as “guys usually just leave her in her swing”
Natural Child are a louche, hard edged rock ‘roll’ roll band that don’t get anywhere near the plaudits they deserve. Check em’ out.