Zig Zags @ Drop The Dumbulls, 8th March 2017
Lying twenty mins walk outside the city centre, Drop The Dumbulls is a resolutely DIY former pub venue reclaimed from Liverpool’s industrial heartland. Bedecked in anti-capitalist artwork and with amusingly anti-royalist toilets (the gents pee into the Queen’s mouth), it’s nevertheless a kitsch place rather than a political one and consequently it attracts a mixed crowd that, thanks in part to numerous cheap tinnies from the bar, responds warmly to enthusiastic support from local hardcore upstarts Sheer Attack and the promising Short Fuse’s first ever gig.
Some bands, in any case, are supposed to be heard live and LA-based trio Zig Zag’s natural habitat is definitely crappy pubs such as this one. Just as an album is more alive than sheet music, a live performance always feels more vital than a recording. As art, though, they all depend on audience and venue interaction and, on International Women’s Day, it was therefore also pleasing to see the small but fervent pit predominantly full of ladies enjoying themselves to the sound of supercharged ska and heavy thrash.
Warming up with white-hot tracks dedicated to Motörhead (“Giving Up The Ghost”), what followed then was 45 minutes of heavy riffs, incandescent solos and blown-out grooves led by guitarist and explosive vocalist Jed Maheu’s low growl. Headbanging highlight “The Sadist”, taken from last year’s ace Running Out Of Red LP (“A soundtrack to getting high, occasionally getting laid…occasionally getting laid out”), rippled through the small room on quickfire snares, eventually contorting into snotty, skate-punk shred. Equally special debut LP cut “Brainded Warrior” later finished the night in proto-punking biker-fuzz territory, the soundtrack to the most bone-headed party in town. Were you there?