Review of Band of Skulls on the Hothouse stage at Belladrum, 9th of August, 2014.
Band of Skulls are one of those bands that insist on growing on you, I’d seen them before at Sonisphere last month and was impressed by them but not enough to go out and buy the albums. This second showing at Belladrum convinced me that the trio from Southampton are worth far more than a grudging nod in their direction. There’s a smattering of different genres here if you’re interested in that kind of thing. Odds and sods of Sonic Youth a smattering of blues-rock, hints of grunge but ultimately at the heart of it, they are pure and simply, a rock band.
As the sun set and the moon rose on the last night of Belladrum 2014 Band of Skulls put on a footstomping performance of powerhouse rock. Cynical arm crossers at the back were quickly won over and heads were soon nodding. These guys were the ideal band for those that struggle with the Celtic tones of Capercaillie over on the Grassroots stage or Razorlight’s indie musings on the Garden Stage.
The downside for some bands playing the Hothouse tent is that it doesn’t get any passing trade unlike the other stages across the festival site and this in turn can make it difficult for bands to pull casual punters in. With this in mind the tent was far from at capacity although there was still a decent assembly of punters there to watch them.
The trio of Russell Marsden (guitar & vocals), Matt Hayward (drums) and Emma Richardson (bass) are a tight unit, Richardson’s bass lines drive everything along at a good pace and seemed in particular to be appreciated by none other than Reef bassist Jack Bessant. I spotted him early on edging his way to the front.
Songs from the new album ‘Himalayan’ featured with Hoochie Koochie going down particularly well with the Bella audience. Likewise earlier material gets a good reception, ‘The Devil Takes Care of His Own’ again being received enthusiastically.
They might not have been familiar to a large part of the Bella cognoscenti but those that took the time out to go see them left suitably impressed.