Kyrb your enthusiasm
What do you do when you arguably have one of the best voices at the BOA festival, and are also one of the best drummers in rock today (Voted best drummer 2004/2005 by the classic rock society). Do you sing or do you drum? The easiest answer is to hutch your drum kit forward six foot, strap a microphone to your head and do both. It's not your usual set up, in fact it looks rather odd.
Kyrb Grinder had already started their set when I reached the beer tent. The constant overlapping of time between the two stages became a constant niggle throughout the day, but that's beside the point. What hits you first when you see this three-piece, is the sheer power of the sound. Bringing the drum kit forward really gave the percussion a potency, a strength that seemed rip straight through the ribcage and thump on your very heart. Add to this some funked up bass lines and meaty guitars, and what you're left with is a wall of heavy metal with funk tendencies.
What was special about Kyrb Grinder is Johanne James. He was perhaps the most enigmatic and entertaining front man over the two days. He played to the crowd, eyeballed the front row, and looked so intense that he was difficult to take your eyes off. He managed to do this whilst sat behind the drum kit, bashing out some of the best drumming I've heard...period. This man was incredible, so incredible that the tent filled quickly, all onlookers appreciating the skill and pure talent of this man. And do you know what the MOST impressive aspect of his performance was? It was the fact that he made it look so so easy, effortless even.
Bass player Dave Lugay and new guitarist Dave Dart provided excellent support, but it was Johanne's band, Johanne's gig. I have since found out that this chap is also the drummer with Brit rockers Threshold, of whom I saw at Prog Power earlier in the year. With Kyrb Grinder it seemed that Johanne had been let of the leash, given free range to show off every aspect of his skills.
Of course none of the above would mean a thing if the songs were a big pile of fetid compost. Kyrb Grinder had this side of the proceedings sewn up as well. Their ideas were heavy, melodic, funky and extremely in your face. I caught up with the band later in the day (whilst interrupting Johanne's baked potato, sorry about that Johanne), and the maniac drummer I had witnessed had turned into one of the most humble men I've met. When I asked why he sings and drums he simply said, "we've not found anyone who can do the job better." And too be honest on this performance, I don't think they ever will.