• Richard Blowes

Imperial Wax & Turnstiles. Róisín Dubh, Galway.

Updated: May 26

Fresh from their thrillingly raucous, beer soaked, body slamming headlining of The Freehouse Session the previous evening, Turnstiles confidently took to the Róisín Dubh's main stage to open for headliners Imperial Wax.

Cheered on by their vocal, local fanbase they opened with new song Tantrum and blasted through a tight set of their own material supplemented by crowd pleasers Slow Thai's Doorman and Idles' Never Trust a Man with a Perm. It was clear that their own take on raucous, melodic noisepunk (think The Stooges meets the Buzzcocks), lost nothing in comparison with these covers. Their closing number Iggy, a nod to the great man himself, presaged Imperial Wax in thumping, staccato-drumming style.


The last time your reviewer saw 3/4 of Imperial Wax, they were with Mark E Smith and Elena Poulou in this very venue as The Fall. They played for 20 minutes before Mark led them off stage announcing he didn't want to be late for the bus to Limerick!


Tonight is a different proposition. Dave Spurr (bass) and Keiron Melling (drums) provide the same pounding, rock solid rhythm section with guitarist Pete Greenway snaking his silky strat lines over the top. And then new frontman Sam Curran. Sporting a silver lamé shirt and thrashing at a high slung guitar (more Hot Chip priest than hip priest), he powered the band through the material from their debut LP Gastwerk Saboteurs. Opener The Art of Projection sets the tone perfectly for their blend of melodic garage rock which is saved from run-of-the-mill by their infectious energy; and style swerves such as the unexpected surf rockabilly of Plant the Seed or motorik psych wig out Rammy Taxi Illuminati.


Turncoat is a standout with its sinister, brooding build up to a spitting, sneering chorus of love gone wrong. And a welcome appearance in rock (maybe the only?) for 'defenestration'. Latest single Bromidic Thrills gets even the Fall t-shirt wearing, wonder what his band are up to now, Mark E Smith devotees to dance. No Man's Land simply thrills by its sheer visceral power with Keiron a blur of arms behind his forest of cymbals.


The only downside was the relatively sparse crowd. Those who made it were fortunate to witness an unusual phenomenon - a band touring their debut album at the height of their considerable powers.