When I sat down with Tobi Duncan at the Institute on Sunday, he seemed tired, and not just because he had spent the night driving up from Southampton to get Trash Boat to the show. They have had one of the busiest years possible – from a run of shows with Less Than Jake to Slam Dunk Fest this year (which Tobi had forgotten they’d done!), from releasing their killer debut album this June and touring it extensively to supporting Beartooth, the boys must be knackered. But for all this fatigue, Trash Boat still know how to bring it.
Debut album, Nothing I Write You Can Change What You’ve Been Through, released in June was co-produced by The Wonder Years’ Dan Campbell, for which Tobi is incredibly grateful, saying “he’s a great guy to work with, and just a good guy with a lot of experience to draw on”. Campbell’s influence on Tobi’s writing and vocal style can definitely be heard, with Tobi’s aggressive shouts shining through in ‘Guise of a Mother’. When asked about the writing process, the band takes a very organic approach, with a member throwing around a riff or a beat, which everyone will add to and songs will slowly build up. The difference with the album, says Tobi, is that the EPs were a little rushed but the band had as long as they wanted on the full-length.
Starting their set with their usual opener, ‘How Selfish I Seem’ and roaring into ‘Tring Quarry’ the Hertfordshire lads look anything but tired. Though they battled through sound problems, as well as guitarist Ryan’s axe getting unplugged, Trash Boat’s performance was as charged as ever. All the same, I couldn’t help but think the raw energy of their smaller shows was missing. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t in the pit, but to me Trash Boat will always perform better in tiny, overcrowded rooms, and it seems like Tobi agrees. “I will always have a place in my heart for small, sweaty venues” he laughs, even though they’ve had the experience of bigger stages like Download and Slam Dunk now.
Sound problems aside, the band’s biggest obstacle on Sunday was the crowd, though it wasn’t really their fault. The small group in the crowd that knew the band were unbelievably excited, smashing off each other in pits and screaming every single word, but by and large the band were unknown. Playing to a hardcore crowd clearly didn’t help, but heavier songs in the set list – such as ‘Pangaea’ – certainly made a big impact. When Tobi took a moment to thank the crowd at the end before launching into closer ‘Strangers’, the reception was honest and grateful; I think everyone in the room cheered.
By Jake Scott (@J_Scott_95)
Check out Trash Boat here: https://trashboatuk.bandcamp.com/