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I have never been to the Tunnels before, so it was a bit of a new adventure for me as I walked through the doors for tonight show. You see it felt like a working men’s club and it didn’t take me long to find where the stage was – it kind of felt like being in an extension to someone’s cellar with its huge tunnel shape, I guess that’s why they call it the Tunnels.

Long Day Fear kind of had a steady but fun-filled rock sound, that was permeated by a hit ‘em hard, steady drummer. I guess I could loosely describe it as classic rock sound, with that whole feel of riffarama – duel guitars generating quite a big noise. Next up was Sancturam, who I saw support My Ruin at the Thekla back in February last year. They fared better this time around as there were definitely more people here tonight. It was almost as if their singer had every metal growl engraved on his larynx. The guitarist was competently rolling out riffs like there was no tomorrow with the drums falling into every predictable stab possible.

Next up was Godsized a band that actually look like they belong in southern states of the US, rather than south east London. Their look is one that could be described as muscular, with both the guitarist and bassist bulging with muscles. They had all the hallmarks of the sort of band you can imagine of being on Relapse or Lords of The Southern Priests record labels. I could quite clearly hear elements of Clutch, Monster Magnet, Black Stone Cherry and The Black Label society. It was a sound that they had cultivated really well and the singer’s American accent sounded really authentic. It was all laced together with duel guitars and boogieing metal feel.

So since the last time I saw My Ruin, wee they got dropped by yet another record label, self releasing their latest album A Southern Revelation. From the off it is clear that they are still full of intent. Entering the stage to a dark classical intro track, with Mick Murphy looking like a younger version of Lemmy, bristling with a grin on his face before ripping into Silverlake 65:71. – where Tairrie came in with with her teeth gnashing and signature roar.

Tairrie B’s stage presence is magnetic; I mean the years have definitely not diluted her in both spirit and determination. She prowls the front of the stage resplendently, holding onto the front row, screaming out lyrics with such passionate aplomb that I can personally feel the force coming from her mouth – despite not really being able to hear what she is singing. Every aspect of their performance is drilled rock tight, the rhythm section absolutely pounding as they storm through Long Dark Night hot in The House and Blasphemous Girl. Each guitar solo sees Tairrie’s husband, Mick Murphy, pulling every single classic rock gurn in the school book. The beats blasted with heavy intensity and down tuned bass I could feel rattling the brick walls keeping the adrenaline pumping and fists pumping the air. Tairrie’s voice is is riffled out with sheer break neck intensity which is gradually cranked up and up through out the set.

She dedicated Middle Finger to My Ruin’s last record label, for screwing around with their last album, and it is fair to say that they served it up with full on intention as a fuck you, with Tairrie B screaming out this is what I’ll give you, which is quite frankly a terrifying prospect if you ever cross her. There are very few women in the world of rock or metal like miss Tairrie B Murphy. Tonight’s display shows that they don’t give a damn about being a fashionable or cool, but are freely digging in their heels, sticking staunchly to their guns. Stick it to Me, with the aid of their tour merch man on vocals, sounds as feral as it did 12 years ago.

The final pairing of Burn The Which and Beauty Fiend is served with huge amounts of whoopass and passionate vim, that rips from Tairrie B’s scorched vocals, backed by down tempo beats and long winding guitars that lace many classic metal moments, before giving way to a frenetic finish. It leaves the audience wanting more, with their eyes blazing, and with one question in my mind which is why aren’t there more women in rock?

Words: Jeffrey Johns
Photo: Helen Brown