On a hot summer night (I’m guessing about the weather I can’t actually remember) last year I saw The Taskers bring the house down at The Flapper in deepest, darkest Birmingham. However since then a lot has changed. For one I’ve started using moisturiser, but this isn’t about me… The hard hitting, grunge/punk/rock duo have added two new members to become one of the most diverse bands to ever grace these pages. One of those new members is a cello player for crying out loud!
Anyway Saturday just past the band launched their brand new album Pleasure Point at the Met in Stafford. The room where the bands performed was basically like a small theatre crossed with a TV studio and it made for quite a unique atmosphere, in part because all of us in audience were sat down.
Before I get into what I made of the headline performance I wanted to give a quick mention to the other acts on the bill. Wilcox:Hulse, Sons Of Clogger and Gavin Osborn were all top class. All three brought something totally different to the table but were all brilliantly entertaining.
The first thing to note about the headline performance before I really get into the actual music is the fact that they played 17 songs, that’s a proper headline set! That’s 3 support acts and well over an hour from the headliner for a fiver ladies and gentlemen. That in itself is all kinds of awesome.
The band kicked off their set with a couple of cuts from their record in the form of title track Pleasure Point and Chemical War. As you might expect the addition of a cello has flipped the band’s sound completely, but this new more refined incarnation of the Taskers is definitely a winner. The latter of those 2 opening tracks is my favourite off the new album and if you put it up next to something like Hogs From Hell you’d swear they were by different bands.
Raptors saw the band flick back to their old grungy, hard hitting self before returning to the new record for the majority of the rest of the night. The sound on the backing vocals for the opening 2 songs had been a bit iffy but those issues were soon resolved as the foursome made a very confident start. One of the things I love about the band is that it’s nearly impossible to pin down their sound, it changes with every song! They manage to move from almost Indie on Chemical War to the beautifully distorted riffs of Beneath The Skin with ease.
For the 2nd time on the night bassist Jack with his dryer than the Sahara sense of humour took over lead vocal duty for Undone as the night started to well and truly mellow out. Ghost is an absolutely beautiful track and continued the mellow theme, along with the SBT led Demark before the slower section of the show rounded out with Rafts. A lot of the time when a band throws in a few slow tracks in a row the performance loses its flow and the audience starts to drift but that really wasn’t the case here. The performance may have stripped back on stage but those watching were more engaged than ever, which I think is not only testament to the performance but the songs themselves.
The noise level was flicked up once more with the arrival of Smear, a song which for large parts treads a strange line between blues, rock and grunge. It was a kind of ‘old Taskers’ meets ‘new Taskers’ affair which again was met with enthusiastic applause. People Like You and it’s back story was a good bit of fun and the strangely groovy abrasiveness of Shit And Blossom was something I’m not sure many other bands could pull off.
The first track that I ever heard from the band was Hogs From Hell and even a year on that song still delivered. For those of you who don’t know it it’s got this grungy, dirtiness of a guitar tone which just sounds incredible. However on Saturday the oinking and snorting definitely gave it that something extra…. Yes seriously.
The set had begun to wind to a close but the band still found the energy to absolutely throw themselves into Trials which was brilliant to see, they definitely wanted to leave everything on the stage. The main part of the night was rounded out by the track which is also the closer on the album and that is Mountains To The Sea. It’s another stunner of a song and it rounded out the set brilliantly; well kind of, as there was still time for a full throttle version of the Neil Young classic Rockin In The Free World which served as a great hard rocking encore.
As the last note faded to black everyone got to their feet and the band received a standing ovation for what had been an enthralling performance. Their set had been a journey, and that’s exactly how it should be, they covered a wide range of genres and conjured up pretty much every emotion you can think of. There were peaks and troughs in all of the right places and everyone left with a smile on their face.
The Taskers were always a cracking band and great live but with the addition of the two new members they have become more refined and more balanced. This performance and the release of the new record marked a new dawn for the band, and my word what a beautiful new dawn it was.