Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster/ Bad For Lazurus / Black Fangs @ The Hare and Hounds, Wednesday 2nd June 2010

Imagine having the top of your head lopped off, your brains scooped out with one of those ice cream scoops, placed carefully on the floor, battered with a series of blunt objects, then carefully put back in your skull again...that’s pretty much what tonight’s gig was like.

I’ve been meaning to catch Black Fangs for ages. Rising from the ashes of The Indigos (who I really rated) the band once again features lead vocalist Ian’s (or Baron Von Fang as he now prefers to be known) throaty roar set against pounding, sometimes tribalistic, drums to create classic, high octane rock n’roll with enough raw energy to power a hot rod. Sabbath-y riffs clash angrily with a garage rock feel (Black Garage perhaps?) to produce the sort of sound that makes good girls turn bad and bad might be reading this. From ‘I’m a Crow’s’ menacing swagger through to the heads down 100mph danceathon groove of ‘Vampire Boogie’ Black Fangs delivered. The wait was worth it.

Combining rockabilly, R&B Bad For Lazarus sound an odd proposition on paper. Funnily enough they’re a pretty odd proposition in reality too. Introduced by a dude who got our attention by bashing the side of his head in with the mic Bad for Lazarus didn’t so much hit the stage as destroy it. It’s difficult to judge how many people are in the band, given the flailing limbs and all the thrashing about...I’d guess anything between 5 and 68. My sight was partially obscured by an eyeful of warm lager too, kindly gobbed out into the crowd by one of their guitarists...hell, I’m sure it’s good for the skin. Pick of the set, and current release (or should that be escape?) ‘Old Rats On A New Ship’s’ bar room boogie rattled along at decent pace, other tracks (you want names, god, wrong gig for that) were blasted out like sonic 12 bore. After the lead singer flung himself (literally) into the crowd the lager gobbing guitarist climbed the speaker stack and cracked off a few cheeky riffs before descending, striding to the front of the stage, then swinging his guitar over his head like a lasso, coming within two or three nanometres of the audiences craniums. Eventually he either released it or something gave way and it crashed to the floor emitting painful yelps of feedback. Bad For Lazarus...good for music.

Finally Buddhist garage gothabilly nut jobs (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster. The last time I saw this lot I unwisely took part in some fairly (for me anyway) energetic moshing that resulted in a bruise the size of small town on my leg. It’s hard to resist getting stuck in though, especially when their Shaun of the Dead featured track ‘Mister Mental’ gets going. Whilst they’ve lost one of their number to Nine Inch Nails (the band that is, he’s not had a nasty accident at B&Q) they’ve not lost their frenetic energy and, once more, a small but dedicated part of the crowd swiftly became a mass of sweaty bodies all intent on mashing seven flavours of shit out of each other. Guy began the set by kicking a small collection of drinks that a few people had unwisely rested on the front of the stage “They shouldn’t be on there” he muttered as shards of glass hit the deck. That was pretty much the only thing he said all night, content instead to yell his way through the set like a demented preacher. That, by the way, is a very good thing kids. ‘Mister Mental’, ‘In the Garden’, ‘Psychosis Safari’ kept coming with a Cramp-tastic fury, Guy launching himself into and through the crowd like an explorer hacking his way through the jungle. At other times he did that ‘thousand yard stare’ of his, looking for all the world like someone who’s waiting for a bus, which makes the sudden vocal explosions all the more effective. At one point one of the moshers limped off out of the room. I saw him as I left, a broken man. The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster can do that to you, I have the scars to prove it. They may not have got the fame and fortune that some had predicted or, arguably that they deserve, but the story ain’t over yet. With a new album ready to (rock and) roll, and a grim determination to keep spreading the word you’d be...ahem...Mister Mental to write them off.

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