Seven is the magic number. What’s more, this is about more then the number of days in the
week or continents in the world – psychologists have theorised that the human memory’s ability
to calibrate information on a short term basis is mostly limited to a sequence of this length. Thus,
it seems strangely fitting that Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – the Newcastle-based
maximalists whose riffs, raw power and rancour have blazed a trail across the darker quarters of
the underground in the last five years – have made a second album in ‘King Of Cowards’ which
does its damnedest to take consciousness to its very limits.
I seem to be a little late to the party with Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs. The first I heard of them was a video I didn’t ask for on The Internets about six months ago, which I watched with what I assumed was meant to be horror, but slowly realised I was supposed to be taking seriously. It was both awful and wonderful at the same time, so when I saw they were here I decided to see if they’d force me off that fence of indecision.
They powerfully pushed me off, and I gaily ran so far into the yes field that I can no longer see that stupid metaphorical fence. I simply didn’t understand. But now I know better.
“I think these guys might be quite loud,” the sweet guy says to his cherubic boy, about seven or eight years old, as the apocalyptic-tinged sound check begins. “Is that alright?” “It’s fine daddy!” The boy insists sweetly. Because this is Latitude there are large numbers of middle-class children around. They look like they’d know what to expect at a vegan dinner party, and probably have complex views on tapenade.
By the end of the gig about half of these innocents will be left. What they must have learned in that time! What a musical education!
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs are definitely metal, but with a hefty dose of punk, and an important sprinkling of glam. Maybe I’m just naive, but I can’t think of any other glam punk metal bands.
The singer is Matt Baty, and a harder-working human I haven’t seen for quite some time. He looks like a very ordinary man, but this is profoundly misleading. He acts like a preening, camp supermodel who’s read about tai chi in a book and is trying it for the first time. Only drunk and high.
This is genuinely some of the strangest and most wonderful dancing I’ve ever seen. It is powerfully weird. It makes me think of Jarvis Cocker, Ian Curtis, um, that’s about it. He looks like someone in ecstasy, literally. When he pauses for well-earned breath and addresses the crowd his soft, camp northern brogue comes as a shock. But it also makes perfect sense. Halfway through when he removes his sequinned waistcoat the crowd cheers wildly. We don’t know why; it just feels right.
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs operate on the assumption that everything will be fine if you just turn it all on and up all the way. I don’t want to suggest that there isn’t artistry here; the sound check was reassuringly fussy and precise. These guys know exactly what they want, and what they want is face-punches of howling noise.
There’s so much I want to say here, but really the point is that all day I’ve wandered from mediocre band to mediocre band, unable to find anything more than a seven-out-of-ten. In general that’s what music festivals are like. So many bands just fail to stand out in any way. I’ve gone into half a dozen gigs, optimistically writing a title in my reviews document, googling the singer’s name, and then I had to leave bored.
And then I stumble into something like this: a truly transformative musical experience. Of course I understand that this isn’t everyone’s cup of cha, and I utterly forgive the past me who didn’t get it on a YouTube video. If you look up Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs you will almost certainly assume that I’m mad. I’ll definitely listen to them when I get home, but I won’t be at all surprised if it turns out to be a let-down and I never do again.
But live, this is exactly what music should be: unrestrained, raw, angry, wild and truly, deeply mad.
Gig of the festival. ALL the stars!