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Gengahr bring their searing West Coast riffs to Guildford

09 April 2014, 13:00 | Written by Dan Carson

First things first, Gengahr’s performance in Guildford last night – one of just a handful of shows-to-date – confirmed at least one important detail: contrary to popular belief, the four-piece are definitely not from Devils Lake, North Dakota.

Displaying flashes of early-Radiohead throughout, especially in the clean, crisp rumbles of bass – the band skipped through their five-track catalogue; first taking to the stage with little fanfare, but plenty of youthful verve, to play debut tune, “Dizzy Ghosts”. It proved a fitting intro to those unfamiliar with their lovingly shonky brand of guitar-pop; all vaguely despondent, echo-soaked verses, complimented by machine-gun bursts of cymbal and snare.

The little honeyed coos that emanated from behind the drummer’s tiny toylike kit – a loan from the evening’s headline act – played a pivotal role on wall-of-sound barrage “She’s A Witch”. But the real star on their breakout track remained that thunderous, galloping bass riff which comes to the fore in each verse: a masterclass in nimble fingerpicking, executed from behind an instrument that’s strapped higher than Colin Greenwood ever dared.

Previously unaired third track, “Haunter”, captured a low-slung West Coast feel; its pistonlike, thumping percussion adorned with some of the night’s most searing, sunbaked riffs, while “Fill My Gums With Blood” was every inch the gut-busting indie torch-song we’ve come to adore. The finale of “Powder” oozed nervous energy at its climax, a proper Seattle-meets-Britpop wig out which summed up these boys perfectly: effortlessly infectious but knowingly ragged about the edges, and all the better for it.


Dizzy Ghosts
She’s A Witch
Fill My Gums With Blood

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