Concert Review: Swerve City & Curlys Jewels – Anthology Lounge 30 May 2021

A Metal showcase tonight from the two headliners at the Anthology Lounge. Curlys Jewels brought a polar blast from home town Wellington with them and won the fans over with disciplined and relentless riffs and a totally winning and charismatic performance from singer Jel Pollock.

Then Swerve City dialed up the heat of the Metal blast furnace and attempted to lay waste to everyone’s heads, chew you up and spit you out better for the experience at the finish.

But first, Metal Unplugged to open proceedings.

Crooked Royals

Crooked RoyalsThat was Crooked Royals who are a Metalcore trio, but tonight it is bandmember Christian Carstensen alone armed with an acoustic guitar.  Stripped and naked, the music that is.

Ashes, Rumination and Copacetic are original songs from the band. Tonight, the sound is Folk Grunge. Carstensen has a superb voice from which he can easily climb to high peaks and sustain effortlessly. Lyrics become clear and the emotional delivery sounds like an unplugged version of Bob Mould’s testifying on Husker Du’s more angry songs. But with a clear and cleaner sound.

Drown is a cover from Bring Me to the Horizon. Vocals closer to soulful Folk. Makes emotional connections. You know I can’t do this on my own/ Who will fix me now?

Finishes a short set with the Foo Fighter’s Everlong. Power Pop with an emotional delivery and by now the early crowd has been completely won over.

Just demonstrates that many Metal bands are fronted by technically gifted vocalists.

Curlys Jewels

Curlys JewelsThe Jewels kick off proceedings with some good, concentrated Punk energy. Which they hone down and concentrate to the essence to make it sound Metal. Post Ramones Rock’n’Roll Art. Lean and mean and absolutely no fat.

The noise merchants are Aaron Ludlow guitar, Andy van der Heyden bass and Corey Bell drums.

But all the attention is captured by dynamo singer and occasional holder of a guitar, Jel Pollock. Dressed in a rugby outfit (black shorts) and looking a little like a young version of actress Mink Stole.

Dances theatrically and hams it up magnificently for the cheering crowd. Importantly, she has a powerful controlled voice which can cut through and rise above the engine of the three guys. A lower toned female voice and doesn’t scream or yelp.

A cleaner sounding Poly Styrene or a more muscular Exene Cervenka.

Golden, Terror and Pisswhistle are all fast riff-driven music, throbbing bass and drums which lead most of the songs.

No Relief and lead drumming. The singer sings low and calm to strong and scary. She has brought on a creepy-looking doll Douglas.

They vary the tone with Absentee. A quiet start with a lone bass riff. Then shards of melody spring from the guitar. Halfway through they switch it back to the familiar meshed attack.

Whiskey is a monolithic rhythm riff monster and all the singer can do is blend her voice to the wall of sound.

How Dare You and the guitarist almost breaks out some solos, but they quickly get swallowed.

Pollock gets more frenetic and energetic as the set proceeds.

Sneaky. We just wanna stay high and she’s throwing herself around like Poly Styrene. Blinders is a head banger.

Frantic opens with ominous overtones, until the drums snap and pull things together. Are you scared now/ Are you angry/ Are you frightened? Ends in crescendo.

Great fun. Disciplined and tightly meshed playing and a totally captivating front woman.

Swerve City

Swerve CityWith opening song Sink Like Stones and the four-piece band immediately mesh and conjure up a signature hurricane of sound which doesn’t let up for the entirety of their set.

From Auckland, they are JP Carroll lead singer and guitar, Kevin Ashby lead guitar and vocals, Shannon Coulomb bass and Adam Forsdyke drums.

Good Enough starts with hooks sounding familiarly like Black Sabbath as a prelude to the blast metal. Vocals can’t be heard all night.

With Dangerous and Avalanche, it is all rolling thunder. Sounds like the Desert Metal that has been developing in recent years around North Africa and the mean streets of Algeria, Morrocco and Tunisia. Desert Storm.

Moving Pictures, their current single, starts with a high tone lead guitar before settling in with the artillery drums.

Dead Dreams begins with the opening riff of Devo’s Gut Feeling. Then it’s a slower Metal blast furnace. A bit of Joy Division gloom with simple chords relaying anguish.

I suspect the lyrics deal with dark themes and psychological overtones. The music is like a cleansing ocean of turbulence, if you surrender to its physicality. The relentlessness is impressive.

Air Support is a good name. It does sound like warfare. The song starts as a barrage which is impressive.

High quality show from all the performers. Naked Metal, followed by Punk Metal and topped by Hurricane Metal. A kick to the consciousness in a good way. Music should never be harmless.

Rev Orange Peel

Click any icon to view a full size gallery of each artist. All photos by Leonie Moreland.  

Curly’s Jewels
Swerve City
Crooked Royals