Wednesday 13 is not one to rest on his laurels, having been the lead-singer of the Murder Dolls until January 2004 when the band entered into indefinite hiatus, whereupon he started a successful solo career, as well as forming his own outlaw country band Bourbon Crew. Having become tired with the horror genre, he started a fresh project, rock and roll group, Gunfire 76. Despite an ambivalent reaction to Gunfire 76’s début album, I was genuinely excited to see what Wednesday 13’s latest project would sound like on stage as he is a consummate performer.

Wednesday 13’s name also carries a lot of weight, for whilst the name Gunfire 76 may be relatively unknown, everyone there knew who Wednesday 13 was. But despite the popularity of Wednesday 13, the Nottingham Rescue Rooms were surprisingly low in numbers, although it has to be said there were more there than what you would expect for an unknown band. The crowd themselves were interesting to observe, as it showed a broad age-range of fans, which if anything highlighted his appeal, and despite the smaller than expected numbers the atmosphere was great.

But people expecting to see a Wednesday 13 gig would be disappointed. Wednesday 13 has, for the moment, become tired of the horror-elements; and so the night’s gig was intended as a pure rock and roll experience with none of the horror trappings. With that in mind, Bullets and Octane proved to be a fantastic hard rock/punk warm-up act, whose infectious energy and genuine skill soon had the crowd bouncing along in time to their music.

In many ways I was surprised that such an established band as Bullets and Octane would be a warm-up act, as these guys played an incredible set. Their lead singer Gene Louis not only has a commanding stage presence, but possesses an incredible vocal range, and regularly interacted and ad-libbed to the audience. Bullets and Octane played a simply flawless set,that was enhanced even further by the passion that they brought to the stage.

After a brief change-over, Gunfire 76 emerged onto stage, and quite frankly blew me away. Any low expectations I might have had from being unimpressed with their album were dismissed. For the studio album lacked the manic power and visceral energy that they brought live.

Although Gunfire 76 only has a single album to their name, they still performed a set more than long enough to satisfy the crowd’s expectations. The encore however was pure Wednesday 13, which had them playing the classic ‘197666’ and ‘I Love to Say Fuck’. If I did have to a level of criticism at the night, it was that it ended surprisingly early at 9.30. This may have been at the request of the venue itself, rather than from the bands. Nonetheless, it was surprising to have the evening end so quickly.

Overall this was a great night filled with incredibly raw music from bands playing at the top of their game. Some bands sound better sound better on CD than when playing live, whilst other bands sound better live than on CD, but some are just meant to be heard live. Gunfire 76 are one of those bands. They really are that good.

The photographs that accompany this article were taken for Pennyblackmusic by Alan Taylor-Shearer

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