After last doing the rounds a couple of years ago as a two day, two site festival, Hit The Deck returned this weekend on a smaller scale with Milk Teeth headlining a single day event aboard the Thekla in Bristol. All day events always run the risk of being a ghost town for the first few bands and after arriving at 1.30 this one proved no different.
Kicking off proceedings were local band Youth (7/10) to around 10 people, not including bar staff. It was a shame that barely anyone made the effort to come out early as the guys knocked out a selection of tracks that would have gone down well with a Milk Teeth/Decade crowd. As it was we ten got to enjoy them in the most intimate of ways and it was enjoyable for the most part…if not a little awkward. Their rating would almost certainly have been higher if there had been a crowd of any description. Attendance: 10
After a lunch break I headed back in to take in Grumble Bee (9/10), a band I’ve heard a lot about but never really given the time of day. They somehow stole the whole day for me, playing a full band set. Their stage presence was impressive with a sound that encapsulates InMe & Deftones. These guys are really strong songwriters and despite not playing together that much (evidenced by one of the tracks they played having never been rehearsed fully before) they came across as a strong unit. Mr Grumble Bee himself entertained crowds with his likeable but borderline cringey banter, whilst the other two occupied themselves with some jamming. A thoroughly enjoyable half an hour. Check this bunch out. Attendance: Roughly 25
Up next we Big Spring (7/10). I initially struggled with these guys. The vocal style isn’t the easiest to get along with but after a few songs it all starts coming together. The vocals are KoRn-esque with a touch of Dave McPherson in there for good measure and musically they’re top notch but a lack of crowd seems to make the band hold back. This is a band that could potentially have a big future, catch them while you can at this level. Attendance: Roughly 30
Closing the day were Milk Teeth (8/10), fresh from touring the UK with Employed To Serve and Wallflower. After releasing their new EP just a week before I was excited for this having only seen them once before, supporting Creeper in Birmingham. They came on stage to less than a heroes welcome and, despite putting on an energetic set packed with tracks from Vile Child and Be Nice they didn’t get much of a reaction. ‘Swear Jar’, ‘Prism’ and ‘Fight Skirt’ were the major highlights, with Billy Hutton’s shouted vocals coming across powerfully. Becky Blomfield’s vocals, bass playing and all round stage persona has the air of someone on the brink of becoming a true rock superstar. The only thing that stopped Milk Teeth being the band of the day was Billy’s constant berating of the crowd for ‘not having enough fun’. Whilst the band-crowd relationship is often symbiotic, no band ‘deserves’ a good crowd – that adoration has to be earned. It didn’t damage the set too much and with the catalogue they’re building it won’t be long until Milk teeth have this adoration implicitly. Attendance: Roughly 100
So, Hit The Deck is back. Or at least it was. With a greatly reduced lineup and an attendance lower than Metal 2 The Masses heats this may be the last we see of it. A shame really as the Thekla is a great venue. We’ll see. Maybe it just needs a year to build it’s reputation back up.