Me: Interested to hear what sort of sound we get from these guys tonight there only two of them in the band.
Brother: Like the Carpenters?
Me: Erm… not quite… they are brother and sister though.
Brother: Yeah, like the Carpenters. Who plays what?
Me: Sophie plays the drums *Gets cut off*
Brother: So like the Carpenters!!
The above conversation took place around an hour before Stafford based rock outfit The Taskers took the stage last night between me and the fountain of musical knowledge that is my brother. It demonstrates two things, the first being that brother/sister combos are about as common as a long hot British summer and the second is that my brother seems to be quite forceful when it comes to the Carpenters, which as worrying as that is, is for another day.
The Taskers couldn’t be further away from nice harmonies and sweet little piano riffs, because they are grungy, in your face and totally in their own lane, and you know what that’s exactly the way they like it. So many bands talk the talk about ‘doing whatever we like’ and having ‘our own unique sound’ but these guys actually back it up, they wouldn’t know convention if it stood on the table in front of them and performed a lap dance. So that was the backdrop for my night; a band that look a bit like the Carpenters (In numbers at least) but sound a bit like Nirvana. Where do you start with that lot?
Well they started with a track called ‘Raptors’ (They seem to have a thing for dinosaurs) where heavy, grimy, distorted guitar riffs are the order of the day. It’s a whirlwind of an opening but the dinosaurs perched on top of the amp seem to be loving it. Yes you read that right, in one of the more unique things I’ve seen at a gig, part of the setting up process involved lining up three toy dinosaurs on across the top of an amp… as you do. ‘Litas’ is more of a straight rock song, big chorus that you can really latch on to backed up by a great guitar solo by frontman and chief riff creator Jack.
The intro to ‘Kaunas’ is almost funk-like in its execution, but it retains a healthy slice of rock heaviness which you can feel through the walls. In the following few minutes we get duel vocals, masses of energy and guitar wise everything from blues to Black Sabbath. The gloriously titled ‘I Want Pasta!’ follows, a track which as the title suggest is quite a surreal affair. Metal style riffs mixed with a seriously impassioned plea for the stuff that every fitness freaks dreams are made of. As you would expect the track is totally bizarre but somehow it just seems to work.
Up to now the hugely wide ranging guitar riffs have grabbed the headlines but the one girl rhythm section from Sophie has more then played a part with huge crashing drums holding everything together. And these crashing drums take centre stage for a moment during a guitar change which leads effortlessly into ‘Trials.’ In a set characterised by a blend of styles the duo dip their toes into indie for the first time with the results being predictably anything but predictable. The forceful vocal from Jack hammers the chorus out in impressive lung-busting fashion.
‘Ed’s On MDMA’ begins with an anecdote which will be kept well away from Manchester tourist brochures before the Fleetwood Mac tinged effort glides into life. The main verses are almost spoken over the top of quite light guitar and drum work. This peaceful illusion is soon shattered however as the chorus hits you like a brick to the face. The catchy and as yet unrecorded ‘Saint’s Way’ follows with a guitar lick that will get stuck in your head for days. The main feature of the track though, is a section where everything strips back before the rolling drums build everything up once more. It’s nothing ground-breaking but it’s a nice touch.
A magically distorted riff signals the start of ‘Halfway’ before things move into safer, more traditional indie mode. The track skips along and is probably the most radio friendly thing that the duo have played all night, with the variation going down well with the enthusiastic crowd. ‘Shit and Blossom’ is as unorthodox as they come. (Who would have thought it!) Considering there isn’t a bassist on the stage, such a bassy sounding central riff is quite an achievement. The rolling drums of ‘Smear’ leave a real impression as they smash and crash their way round the round the room, while a few knowing glances between Jack and his hard rocking accomplice show that they are really enjoying themselves.
‘Hogs From Hell’ was the only song that I had heard before when I reviewed it for the blog so I was looking forward to it and its dirty riffs didn’t disappoint. Final track ‘Taproot’ begins as frantically as the previous track ended. The song feels like an all-out assault before it and the set as a whole reaches a climax among a haze of distortion and crashing symbols.
The Taskers are not your usual band and this certainly wasn’t your usual rock gig. They use toy dinosaurs as props for crying out loud! But what they are is capable of putting in a fantastic live show. They have energy and enthusiasm in spades and the musicianship from both guys is first rate. It takes a special kind of band to be able to pull off a song about pasta trust me. The Taskers are probably one of the most unconventional bands that you will ever see live in your life time but take it from me they will also be one of the best.