Go­rilla Riot

Thirsty Man­cu­ni­ans blend blues, grunge and coun­try – while try­ing not to fall over too of­ten.

Classic Rock - - The Dirt - JS

For a young man keen to play the blues but also rock hard into the bar­gain, there are plenty of spir­i­tual homes to be found: Mem­phis to Eel Pie Is­land, New­cas­tle to New York City. But Manch­ester? No short­age of mu­si­cal her­itage there, of course, but it’s more of­ten as­so­ci­ated with dance mu­sic and in­die rock. So when a few years ago Ar­jun Bhishma wanted a place to play the kind of rock­ing, rootsy mu­sic he loved, he had his work cut out.

“There were no blues nights in Manch­ester at the time,” he says, “So me and some mates launched one and it took off – ev­ery­one used to hang out and have beers and it was a good meet­ing spot.”

Bhishma had self-re­leased a mini-al­bum un­der the Go­rilla Riot name in 2014, but de­cided to get a full-time band to­gether “with the best mu­si­cians I knew” – who just hap­pened to be his drink­ing bud­dies. That meant that when they be­gan gig­ging, three gui­tarists made for a se­ri­ously riff-tas­tic propo­si­tion live.

“I re­ally wanted to have Charly (T) and Liam (Henry) in the band,” Bhishma ex­plains, sit­ting in the stu­dio where they’re demo­ing a new al­bum. “And there’s no way I’m not gonna play gui­tar in my own band – so three gui­tars it is!”

Since then, sin­gles in­clud­ing the gnarly, ZZ Top-style blues rocker Kerosene Clown and the bit­ter, coun­try-in­flected break-up bal­lad Down The Road have turned more heads. Both show­case Go­rilla Riot’s abil­ity to blend acous­tic roots styles with heavy, grungey rock.

It’s helped build them a fol­low­ing and won them the pub­lic vote to play at Ram­blin’ Man Fair in June, where they proved a hit. Thank­fully there were none of the mishaps that have oc­ca­sion­ally caused tragi-comic con­se­quences for the band: Henry split his head open af­ter go­ing arse-over tit on one oc­ca­sion, and Bhishma man­aged to fall through the stage dur­ing a re­cent gig, end­ing up with his leg in plas­ter.

So when you hear a re­cur­ring theme in Go­rilla Riot’s songs re­lat­ing to drink­ing, you won­der if there might be a con­nec­tion. Their new EP Amer­i­can Honey, for ex­am­ple, has a branded bot­tle of bour­bon whiskey on the cover.

“I know we should rein it in and not drink too much when we play,” says Bhishma, “but we are what we are. We’re of­ten on a sim­i­lar level as the crowd at a gig – they’ve had a few, we’ve had a few, and we’re all up for a good time.”

This, of course, is an at­ti­tude that makes sense at your av­er­age rock’n’roll venue, but not nec­es­sar­ily else­where.

“It can get us into trou­ble,” Bhishma ad­mits drily. “A few months ago we got thrown out of a chil­dren’s ball pit in a mo­tor­way ser­vice sta­tion. I mean, we were just hav­ing a good time – where’s the harm in it?”

The EP Amer­i­can Honey Vol I is avail­able now from go­ril­lar­i­ot­band.com

“You might hear bits of early Stones, Black Crowes and coun­try stuff in our sound.”

FOR FANS OF...“I was first in­spired to get out and play by BB King,” says Ar­jun Bhishma. “We also like to do both elec­tric and acous­tic shows, just like a lot of our favourite bands have done, from Guns N’ Roses to the grunge bands. Then you might also hear bits of early Stones, Black Crowes and coun­try stuff in our sound. It’s all in there some­where.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.