Friday 21st April 2023 saw Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs (PigsX7) visit the intimate surroundings of the legendary Le Pub venue in Newport, South Wales. It’s sunny and mild and Newport is looking particularly lovely this evening.
We get there early enough to catch support act Me Lost Me. AKA Newcastle Upon Tyne electronica folk artist Jayne Dent, MLM is a revelation in the way that she uses her table full of instruments to transport one to another world away from the Newport streets. Using loops, effects, wonky electronica and her main instrument (her beautiful voice), she creates luscious soundscapes and intensely layered compositions, all with her tongue firmly in her cheek with regards to the (self-proclaimed) depressing content and meaning behind the tracks off her latest releases ‘The Good Noise’ and ‘The Circle Dance EP’. ‘The End of The World’ was a particular highlight! Seriously though. What a talent. Miss her at your peril.
After a brief trip to the bar, I return to the stage area and PigsX7 have come on stage at their professionally timed hour and immediately launch into ‘Mr Medicine’ off this years’ Land of Sleeper LP. The audience intuitively react to the onslaught and the whole place is a ferocious and sweaty mess. After one song? This is going to be a looooong lovely night.
‘Rubbernecker’ and ‘Halloween Bolson’ both off 2020’s Viscerals album follow quickly, and lead singer Matt Baty is prowling the stage with his mic lead wrapped hands raised above his head. ‘Ultimate Hammer’ and ‘Ball Lightning’, again off 2023’s Land of Sleeper are heavier than gravity itself and Le Pub is headbanging with fists raised.
Between song banter is of its usual high quality too. This includes wrestling (Baty being a keen fan and festooned in his Stone Cold Steve Austin vest) and guitarist Adam Ian Sykes’ now regular and legendary town/city of playing history lesson. This time it relates to a questionable Bruce Forsyth link to the city of Newport. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was relating to as the crowd were too busy laughing and questioning its accuracy. I bloody love this band. Sykes is also singled out by Baty as he is sitting on a chair for this performance as he hasn’t been well that week. What a trooper and a professional. Sykes quite rightly gets a round of applause. This does not stop Sykes shredding the fuck out of his guitar by the way.
After this brief, but well-earned rest, the band plough on through ‘World Crust’, ‘Big Rig’ and ‘Terror’s Pillow’. The last two songs are announced as their last as this is an intimate gig so no encore. ‘GNT’ and ‘A66’ (both off 2018’s King of Cowards LP) are definite crowd pleasers, with ‘A66’ being a particular favourite of mine. The front few rows are bouncing to the bass and drum heavy onslaught and by the end of the song, the crowd (and the band) are spent.
As the last notes ring out from the 5 reprobates on stage, the sensible ones amongst us are removing our ear plugs and are wondering what has really happened to us, questioning our life choices and wondering whether we’ll ever recover. The band leave the stage to take up their place at the merch table. It’s a no brainer that we join the queue to get a much-needed 4th PigsX7 t-shirt. But alas the Welsh Train network is a shower of shit and we have to run for one of the last trains.
PigsX7 are a band that have beautifully honed their particular brand of intense sludge rock, psych rock, noise rock, stoner rock, whatever the fuck you want to call it. With a set taken from their last three LPs, they even can afford to leave off ‘Cake of Light’! The musical influences are exhaustive, taking in Hawkwind, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, etc. But the band have cracked the completely immersive experience of their show due to constant touring and playing venues as intimate as Le Pub, and as large as the Kentish Town O2 later this year. They are a band that never takes itself too seriously yet are ferociously independent and have an exhaustive work ethic. PigsX7 are a national treasure and as thus need to be protected. Playing such a small and intimate venue as Le Pub in Newport is probably going to be an anomaly going forward. Catch them wherever and whenever you can.
May 6 Nijmegen, NL Doornroosje Sonic Whip Festival
May 7 Utrecht, NL Ekko
May 8 Cologne, DE Bumann & Sohn
May 9 Hamburg, DE Molotow
May 10 Copenhagen, DK Stengade
May 12 Berlin, DE Urban Spree
May 13 Leipzig, DE Trip Festival
May 15 Bern, CH ISC Club Bern
May 16 Lyon, FR Le Periscope
May 17 Paris, FR Le Point Ephemere
May 18 Orléans, FR L’Astrolabe
May 19 Tourcoing, FR Le Grand Mix
May 20 Antwerp, BE Trix
May 25 Bearded Theory Festival
Aug 12 Tøyen Park, Oslo, OYA FESTIVAL
Aug 17 Fernhill Farm ArcTanGent Festival
Sep 2 Northumberland Lindisfarne Festival
Sep 23 Glasgow QMU
Sep 29 Bristol SWX
Sep 30 Manchester O2 Ritz
Oct 5 Sheffield Foundry
Oct 6 London O2 Forum Kentish Town
Oct 7 Birmingham The Crossing
Review by @ioan_humphreys
Photos by Kieron Johns