Welcome once more to Club 444...no scrap that...544...for tonight (as last week in fact) we were treated to not 4, but 5 bands. That's 20% extra. That's why Mums go to Iceland...probably. Anyway, first up, and about to take their own walk into the frozen wilderness, Trust My Dishonour. Yes, this was their last ever gig, which is a shame as lead singer Rob has a particularly strong voice (think a rawer, less battered Rod the Mod) and the band can certainly cut it live. Fear not though, it seems they will rise again like zombies of rock (who knows, that could even be their new name). Watch their My Space thingy for news.
Next up, DRAG. Good to see a female rock group (regular readers will know how often I bemoan the lack of lady fronted bands...did your Riot Grrrrrl sisters die in vain...hands up who remembers the Voodoo Queens? Oh, just me then). Anyway, blending punk rock, grunge and a bit of Riot Grrrrrl (how many r's in Grrrrrl? Is it up to you? Ok, Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl) DRAG put on a sassy, energy packed performance with plenty of attitude from lead singer Heather and a nicely aloof showing from guitarist Velma (who kind of reminded me of a female Sid Vicious). Full marks for the Dresden Dolls cover of Miss Me too.
With barely a moment to refuel on cut price vodka and coke (I know, how rock n'roll am I...oh alright then) AFD Shift stormed the stage with their Rage Against The Machine meets System Of A Down-ish rock/rap hybrid. It took me a moment to get this lot but when they fall into the 'groove' it all works really well, with Clayton's raw rap flanked by the almost angelic voices of their guitarist and keyboard player. They have a single coming out in April too, Listen Then Leave, produced by Gavin Monaghan, who seems to be producing 24/7 at the mo.
Still with me? Good. Penultimate band of the night, The Dirty Riffs, are as good an exponent of their brand of AC/DC / Slade / Who blues rock as you're ever likely to see. Vocal Riff, Richard, has a belter of a voice and lead guitarist Dan is several frets (and a plectrum) above your average player. Yes it's old school rock, but there ain't nuffink wrong wif that. They seemed to be having a blast up there too, which is half the battle when you're trying to connect with a tired and emotional Friday night audience. They finished with possibly the longest track ever played at Club 444, Money Ain't My God, which jetted off to planet riff and is probably still there. Clapton would be proud.
Finally, sleaze rock legends in the making, The High Society. I've seen the band here once before and their performance tonight was every bit as twisted, demented and spunk fuelled (can you be spunk fuelled? I hear it's very high in protein...). Of all the bands I've seen recently you get the feeling that most of The High Society live the life off stage as well as on it and that's bound to ooze through the music, without having to carve 4 real on their arms (although you get the feeling that Maxie Browne might just do that for the hell of it anyway). They have a classic album's worth of tracks that just screams to be played on vinyl, a little scratched and with a nice Jack D stain on the label naturally. How these lot aren't signed, and why they're not playing bigger venues is a mystery...but then looking at the piss poor state of the bloated corpse of the music biz perhaps it ain't surprising. To the non believers, and to quote the band, 'Revenge will get you in the end'.
PS: Thanks as ever to the Plastic Noise DJ's, Killing In The Name Of...good call...I nearly broke my ankle jumping up and down, but good call...
PPS: I keep forgetting to mention this, but if you're a band that plays Club 444 check out dBr Live...they can record and mix your gig...all professional like...for a very modest fee.