For those who have read my various reviews of Hole in the Wall (thanks for reading them), should know I go there a lot. The line ups on offer are similarly outstanding with big names in the underground such as Conan gracing the walls off this hollowed pub, alongside international acts such as Venezuela’s Cultura Tres. Tonight it was the turn of the international band to take over the venue. On a warm up tour to Desertfest UK, Australia’s Hotel Wrecking City Traders were headlining with support from local boys Telepathy and Suffolk’s Dead Merrick.
Dead Merrick are new on the scene but the three piece were already emulating the spirit of Mastodon with their short but promising setlist. The band (who were the only band of the night to have a vocalist), overcame technical issues to sludge and groove their way into the hearts of the audience with 30 minutes of Mastodon-inspired riffs – second song ‘Knives’ could very well be the band’s ‘Blood and Thunder’. Occasionally, the set was dull and repetitive, but ultimately it was an enjoyable opener and Suffolk may have found their answer to Mastodon.
Great things were coming next from Colchester natives Telepathy. Telepathy were the second band I ever saw at The Hole in the Wall, the first being local sludgers Old Man Lizard, with the headliner being Cultura Tres. The first instrumental act of the evening, the local lads are set for many great experiences in their future career and they wasted no time in destroying the venue. Opening with a brilliant ‘Minus Ten’ and ending on an orgasmic ‘Cystine Knot,’ the set was cut unfairly short due to technical issues. Despite playing a set with gear leant by other bands to make sure the show would go on, the technical issues did bring a masterfully executed set to an unfortunate stop, but from what I saw of Telepathy, they were fantastic.
To Kiss the Oceans Floor
After clearing up the orgasm from ‘Cystine Knot’, it was time for Australia’s Hotel Wrecking City Traders to do their country proud. The duo of Ben and Toby armed with only a guitar and drum kit were quick to unleash their stoner-inspired riffs. There were hints of Kyuss, Truckfighters and Bongripper in their set and it was a surreal but immensely satisfying experience. Drummer Ben spoke to the crowd in between songs stating he was grateful for the chance to play the UK and at the prestigious Desertfest. The band played four songs from their excellent latest album Ikiryo which impressed the crowd and this reporter. Ending with a heavily improvised ‘Ode to Chunn’, the band won over the crowd with their experimental and psychedelic metal and some impressive guitar work. The duo worked well in tandem and the improvisation flowed naturally, it was a joy to see the band on the same wavelength.
Guitarist Toby Wrecker told me when buying merch that he loved playing small venues because of the intimacy and was happy to be performing at a great venue in Colchester. This was shown by when he performed a guitar solo in the middle of the audience thanks to an extension lead longer than a traffic jam on the M25. A week after the gig I heard that the band’s UK tour was successful and their performance at Desertfest was well received. Hotel Wrecking City Traders are a brilliant addition to the stoner music scene and here’s hoping they carry on wrecking for many years to come.
Hotel Wrecking City Traders Setlist:
Dance the Hempen Jig
Ode to Chunn
So ended my first ever gig where there were more instrumental acts than bands with a vocalist. Too often people refuse to listen to a band due to the lack of vocals, fearing they would become bored with no vocals or story to carry the song. But tonight proved that the doubters were missing out.