Painted Blackby Roger Young / 19.01.2010
Critically, the problem with Submachine is that they are so fast and there are so many of them that it’s hard to take in all the details. However this is only a problem if you are watching Submachine for critical reasons. Whereas the band of death nerds playing masturbate metal before hardly managed to get the audience to head swish, let alone bang, even with the promise of free Thornfest tickets, Submachine have the young punks of Burn throwing themselves around with glee.
Submachine are like Mel Gibson’s army from Braveheart if that army had passed through Savannah, Georgia and gone drag racing at the drive-in. Five big shirtless smiling men painted black and giving their instruments no mercy, they play a hard fast rock that stops way short of taking itself too seriously but is nevertheless still damn serious.
The chug a lug sing along that is Submachine is nuanced by the percussion work of guitarist and vocalist Kevin S Flee, and driven by the heavy rolling but not oppressive drumming of Pat Riot, the combined guitar work of Hugh Davison and Flee, flinging slabs of rock groove at the bouncing kids who want, but seem afraid, to stage dive. Their set flies through ska riffs to solid southern death blues and the extra drummer dude, Storm Thomas, is a manic grinning little voodoo doll picking up his floor tom and rushing around stage, accentuating Riot’s kick drumming everywhere he sets it down. The songs are sorta chanted by all the non drummers, swapping parts for verses and pulling the crowd in without asking to the repeat of “Lets go. You’ll see. You and me on the back seat baby. Yeah baby c’mon.”
As the set crescendo’s the manic leprechaun leaps with his drum into the crowd and leads some kind of war dance with it, goading the kids on. And then it ends, over as suddenly as they drop their instruments and walk off. Except for Riot who stays to deliver a drum solo that induces sweat just watching him go, an overeager sound tech almost ruining it by turning on the venue sound as he is getting into it, but Riot plays through drowning out the piped in music which is quickly dropped. The young punks indulge in one last quick throw down, and then it ends.
Flee introduces me to the bassist and other vocalist Ewald after the show, for a moment I don’t recognize him as he has taken off his hat and stripped the black pain from his face, I ask him if they have showers backstage, he says: “No, after being in this band a while you learn some tricks”. I nod. “Beeswax”, he says, “It strips it right off.”
“Beeswax?” I say.
“Yeah “he says, putting his face close to mine, “Can you smell it?”