Updated: Jun 18, 2019
If you decided to forego Gnarlah’s recent Single Release Show at The Hope and Ruin, well, you missed out. Gnarlah’s latest release ‘Breathe’ is currently ready to stream or buy online, but let’s focus right now, on openers GURF and LibraLibra:
When drummer Dan walks out in work overalls, and the other two in stuffed boxers and silk kimonos, a first impression of self-proclaimed threesome GURF might be something along the lines of ‘these guys are idiots,’ but then they start playing, and you might realise that they’re idiots, yes; but they’re idiots who know how to throw a party.
GURF know how to captivate their audience’s attention with wet, girthy rhythm section, layered atop: ever-changing, intricate guitar melodies. These guys don’t take themselves too seriously, their absurd sense of humour and personality shines through in their on-stage banter and ridiculous costumes. GURF are, without a doubt, utterly nonsensical and moreish in every respect; they’ll leave you walking back to the bar thinking “what the fuck was that?” and honestly, what more can you ask for?
Two words: pure powerhouse. If you run in the right circles, you may have heard good things about LibraLibra, yet until you experience a full half-hour of their technicolour rollercoaster ride, one can never truly understand the humbling sensation of having all expectations blown right out of the water.
Passionate and charismatic, LibraLibra’s captivation of their audience is credited in part, to vocalist Beth Cannon’s ethereal and versatile technique. LibraLibra bring a refreshing, modern take on their genre. As a unit, they exude professionalism and an inordinate quantity of confidence. They’re provocative. They ooze sexiness and composure from every pore; the grandeur of their aesthetic is on par only to their sonic genius. On the whole, LibraLibra unapologetically command the spotlight with confidence, they’re a beautiful power-rock band on a bad trip.
The room is big on Gnarlah, they’ve waited all night and the boys sure know how to make an entrance. Coated head-to-toe in body paint, glitter and hairspray, Gnarlah race to the stage to exuberant cheers and applause. Launching into Find My Design: they’re in their element: meshing heavy riffs with deep, rough vocals and a healthy scattering of gang vocals.
Bassist, Travis Powers, has some serious groove; Ren Woods and Jacob Andrews however lean into the track’s grittier tones. As a unit, they work seamlessly: each player appreciates how to compliment the others, yet still their respective personalities shine through. There is no room for fitting in, nor standing out in their system - just sweet gnarly tones. The well-anticipated single release Breathe also goes down a treat and Gnarlah are demanded an encore before retiring: out of breath, sweaty, but beaming.
Back in the green room, Ren (lead vocals and guitar), Travis (bass guitar and backing vocals) and Jacob (drums) have all sweat off the majority of their face paints, but the glitter is still plastered to their skin. Exhausted, but seemly thrilled, the guys catch us up with what’s up on planet Gnarlah:
Give us a sentence to sum up Gnarlah to someone who’s never heard of you before?
“I would say we’re like, heavy alternative rock… we have influences from early Muse, but there are little influences, in my opinion, of System of a Down, lately - for the new stuff.”
What’s your favourite gig you’ve played to date? (No cop outs, you’re not allowed to say tonight).
“Here’s the thing, genuinely I would say this one... there was this one show we played in Witney, which is Jacob’s hometown.”
“It was just surprisingly packed, there was a really good sound system… mosh pits. The other bands were all really decent as well. ‘Cause they were all sort of mates, we sort of felt like “ahh maybe they’re not gonna talk to us” but they were all nice. It was all really good.”
What are your thoughts on Brighton’s local music scene? Would you consider yourself a part of it?
“I would say we’re slowly becoming part of it, we’re still quite a fresh band in my opinion. We’ve only been going for about 6 months. Although, I love the scene here. All the bands are really supportive of each other. The only thing I would say is I wish when people went to gigs, they’d stay for all the bands. Obviously people have their own reasons for getting there late or leaving early, I just wish more people would stick around. I also think a lot of bands would find more success by playing outside of Brighton… it’s easy to get trapped.“
“I think the key is to get in your own little scene here first. I’d say we’re really good friends with like, Beach Riot, Peace In Protest, and now we’re chumming with LibraLibra and GURF… yeah I think other than getting in and making friends with people, it’s getting outside of Brighton as well. Put your roots down first, then spread your branches.”
What three fresh artists should we be checking out right now?
“Wooze are great… their name perfectly describes their music. Peace In Protest, they’re really great boys. I’d say Beach Riot, but I’m trying to think of a band outside of Brighton… um, they’re not really new and fresh, but I really like Press to MECO. They’re really good, we’ve seen them three or four times”
What does the rest of the year holds for Gnarlah, are you excited?
“We might be playing a major festival…” They say coyly.
We can only assume here at Dusty Studios that Gnarlah’s big festival announcement was their slot at Boardmasters. As of now the lineup hasn’t been released, so they can’t tell us anything. We move swiftly on:
“Hopefully we’ll be releasing Slave some point later this year. We recorded that track about a week or so ago with Ally Jowett (Record Producer and Audio Tech at Brighton Electric) and Jimi from TIGERCUB helped out too, that was pretty cool. So that’s gonna come out late July/early August, and then another track around Halloween.”
“We do wanna look into getting merch at some point - Oh, and we’re opening for the BEACH RIOT headliner show on November 26th. I think we’re playing with INDIGOs? It just got announced today, I can’t remember.” (Find the event page here, or buy tickets now at wearebeachriot.com).
Gnarlah also let us in on some top secret big things that may or may not be happening between September and December, however we’re honour bound to keep our lips sealed. Keep an eye on Gnarlah for updates.
In the meantime, we can’t wait to hear what Gnarlah are up to next. Hopefully we’ll be able to catch up after Boardmasters (in the past hosted Haunt the Woods, Fickle Friends, Kim Churchill alongside household names such as Bastille, Snoop Dogg, Ziggy Marley). This year both Gnarlah and LibraLibra have announced they’ll be playing in Newquay this year along with headliners: Wu-Tang Clan, Florence + The Machine and Foals, as well as over 200 others.
Unfortunately the boys in Gnarlah are getting down at Download Festival right now, so we couldn’t reach out to confirm this is the top secret festival slot they’d let slip during our interview. Either way we wish them best of luck over festival season, and we can’t wait to hear what’s coming next.
‘Breathe’ by Gnarlah is available to stream or buy now on all your favourite platforms. Catch Gnarlah and LibraLibra at Boardmasters in August.
Any final words?
“Thank you to everyone that came, I think it was one of the best lineups-”
“Shoutout to LibraLibra and GURF, they’re fucking legends.”
“...and BEACH RIOT...”
“Yeah also, big up Meg, big up Dusty” (that’s us: happy emote) “Dusty are doing moves.”
“But most importantly, make sure you stream Breathe - it’s available on all major streaming platforms… and big up Leon. Leon’s the sound guy, he absolutely smashed it.”
Catch up with Gnarlah, LibraLibra and GURF below:
Spotify - https://spoti.fi/2WVMGDn
'Breathe' on Spotify - https://spoti.fi/2ZwImHu
For fans of: Muse, Royal Blood, A Day To Remember.
Instagram - http://bit.ly/2INYkpL
Spotify - https://spoti.fi/2wWO1u6
For fans of: CLTDRP, Bjork, Death Grips.
Facebook - http://bit.ly/31PbnA6
Instagram - http://bit.ly/2K2owze
For fans of: Mr Bungle, Alpha Male Tea Party, grown men in kimonos.
Dusty Studio Productions
Facebook - http://bit.ly/2ColCA6
Instagram - http://bit.ly/2UHkr63
Twitter - http://bit.ly/2ueqQKw
Spotify - https://spoti.fi/2G0BvxT