Once describing their name as “a joke that’s gone a bit too far” in an interview with The Quietus, Tyneside’s finest heavy rockers Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs (or Pigs x7 for short) have been rapidly gathering up something of a cult following since the release of their three-track debut Feed The Rats in 2017 on Rocket Recordings. Comprising of two 15-minute long jams either side of one shorter piece, they wasted little time and quickly put out the more accessible but no less meaty King of Cowards last year.
The album has been given plenty of airplay by BBC 6 Music, resulting in them becoming one of the most talked about bands of 2018. Despite sounding great blasting out of the radio at work or in your car, the Newcastle United supporting five-piece are very much at their best when performing live. Taking their cues from metal, stoner, doom, sludge and heavy psych purveyors such as Black Sabbath, Kyuss and Electric Wizard, they’ve blazed through multiple cities up and crap towns up and down the UK over the past eighteen months. Their recent spring tour sold out completely, with their ‘Where are you playing next?’ tour likely to sell out too.
One of the stops on their recent tour was Chester, a city that has often struggled to attract top bands with it being so close to Liverpool and Manchester. Given the turnout at The Live Rooms there’s little doubt that a hunger for quality music exists in the Roman city, with support for the evening provided by the deeply emotive duo Mésange. A stunning collaboration between Agathe Max of Kuro and guitarist Luke Mawdsley of Cavalier Song, they combine Dirty Three-style voilin with ambient atmospherics, doom guitar and a smattering of French accented vocals.
Pigs x7 have earned themselves a reputation for producing performances that are very loud and often very sweaty. They were certainly very loud but thanks to a working air conditioning system it wasn’t quite the sweat-fest many other shows have been. Animated frontman Matt Baty was very thankful for this, taking a little longer than usual to strip down to only his Newcastle United shorts. He also commending everyone on coming to watch them on a Sunday evening as the band tore through a roughly hour long set which was largely dominated by material their latest album.
The squalling guitars, thunderous percussion and Lemmy-like howl of King of Cowards opener ‘GNT’ kicked things off in style, seemingly lasting several minutes longer than the album track. This was followed up with the slow-moving, down-tuned doom of ‘Shockmaster’, enabling some recovery time before the room went ape shit again upon hearing the Black Sabbath-inspired ‘Sweet Relief’ from their debut album. Despite its more subdued opening couple of minutes where Matt Baty calmly offers words of advice, King of Cowards closer ‘Gloamer’ is a builder that bursts into being halfway through before steadily coming to a noisy halt.
There were some fears expressed prior to the show that the audience might get a bit over excited and knock down the barrier but thankfully nothing remotely close to that would come to pass. The rowdiest thing to happen was a few spilled pints and some potential brain damage from excessive head banging. This was particular the case during the relentless riffing of BBC 6 Music favourite ‘Cake of Light’ and the ear-splitting, Black Sabbath-referencing ‘A66’ which could probably be heard over the other side of the city.