Times New Viking

Artist: Times New Viking
Date: 30 April
Venue: Stereo, York
Review: Tom Killingbeck
Rating: ****

Stereo on Gillygate is fast establishing itself as the most hard-working and exciting new venue in town. A stream of bands from the local area and much further afield never seem to stop wheeling through its doors. This weekend special, the highlight of a three-day mini-festival, showed just how much effort has been put into the establishment: five sterling bands playing, two all the way from the US. After disparate sets from mordant Former Bullies and London beatniks Yuck, Seattle natives The Pharmacy splash out an energetic set of drug-addled fuzzy indie with some exceedingly wild keyboards.

Times New Viking are the big billing here though, back in York after a successful destruction of City Screen Basement last autumn. Today their set is even more of a triumph; as a rabid crowd lays waste to the tiny venue, crowdsurfers (including myself) take down the festival bunting and semi-nude goons (again including myself) dance in front of the stage, spilling all the band’s beer. The band seem unfazed by the ecstatic reaction; coolly laying down their distorted and jagged ghost-punk, sweet melodies fighting with vicious guitar tones for attention.

Beth Murphy is a statuesque figure behind her keyboard, motionlessly delivering the soulful organ sounds and cooing melodies that are the yin to guitarist Jared Phillip’s yang – brutal swathes of lo-fi punk noise. Adam Elliott on drums is the most animated of them all, his loony fills and exaggerated percussive violence shaking the foundations of the venue and possibly the main inspiration for the increasingly absurd audience antics.

As the crowd staggers away having created a fairly out-of-place mini-tornado in tribute to the band’s bleached barrage, it’s safe to assume that Stereo has emerged as the indie venue to hit in York. Long may it continue.

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