In dedication to Mark E. Smith
John Dwyer is a one-man music industry. In addition to helming the twenty-albums-in-twenty-years band Oh Sees, he is one of the co-founders and runners of the prolific Bay Area label Castle Face Records. But even that’s not enough for him, so he has assembled as much of the Castle Face roster as can fit on one bill and shipped them to the UK for a brief, oversubscribed tour. Tonight, even the ‘Beast From The East’ lashing at the door can’t keep devotees away.
The first of the evening’s five sets comes from twenty year veteran of the scene Kelley Stoltz, a San Francisco native but relatively new addition to the Castle Face family. His songs are defined by melodic, story-building writing and regularly feature handsome guitar licks, more than enough to win over an impressively busy early crowd.
Los Angeles’ Flat Worms raise the pulse as soon as they hit their first chord, their youthful punk attack the true early pace-setter for the night. Each track is a burst of sharp, compressed energy, economical and lean, and most of their self-titled debut album gets an airing. Even so, they barely fill their 30 minute slot, such is the pace of life in Flat Worms.