Lower Than Atlantis ****1/2*
Don Broco *****
The Dangerous Summer *****
October 11th Electric Ballroom Camden
Rain. Loads of it. Scene kids. Hundreds of them. Anticipation. Palpable. Cider. Downed.
A sultry, soaked Camden was cut in two by a huge queue of buzzing yoof clutching all manner of luminous, toxic alcopops for one of the most eagerly awaited gigs since the last king died.
The house full sign had been posted weeks ago and the general energy and excitement rivals Jimmy Savile’s if he’d stumbled into a wendy house or a One Direction gig.
Anyway, first up were pop hunk gruff bastards Gnarwolves. There’s already a decent sized crowd waiting to be entertained and when the trio kicked off into the fabulous shout-alongy (if not ludicrously short) History is Bunk, but most faces look a tad non-plussed as the testicles out TNT-charged pop punky bombs were launched into the room.
A strange choice as support perhaps, but thankfully the crowd seemed to warm to the guys after the initial dissonant shock. The set continued apace and drew more bouncing heads with every grizzled, fierce fusillade.
There’s a vibrant hardcore-esque revival (did it ever go away?) bubbling under the surface at the moment and bands like Gnarwolves along with Polar, TRC, Real Adventures and Palm Reader are leaving a trail of caved in faces and brutally kicked genitalia wherever they ply their fine trade. And on tonight’s evidence, it seems to be set to gain a wider audience. Which can only be a good thing in the eternal fight against the anodyne, predictable and manufactured.
The Dangerous Summer *****
Talking of which, next on the Royal Variety Performance are The Dangerous Summer. Not familiar with their work, I was curious and willing to be impressed.
A sugary, tight, limp MOR melange was all they could drum up. A watery mix of Death Cab For Cutie, Nickelback and Creed with no guts, balls or edge. A muscle cock replacement powerful sportscar with a remote controlled car motor. A bottle of overproof Bourbon with tea in it. An oiled up, super flexible porn actress with saggy tits and a disappointingly huge hairy minge (Think Omar from ATDI up to his neck in quicksand). Disappointing. Lame. Meh. Shame, cos they drew a much bigger crowd than the excellent Gnarboys.
By now the cavernous Ballroom was packed from its head to its anus. It’s hard to imagine that it’s this rammed for a support act. But what a support act.
Monsieur Duce and co must have thought they were on relatively safe ground asking the Bedford Babe Magnets to open for them when the tour was conceived 6 months or so ago. Don Broco have been treading the boards as a regular support act with everyone from Futures to Four Year Strong and have been staples on the festival tour. So they’d do a great hors d’oeuvre job. Get the juices flowing. Set the appetite nicely. You know, a prawn cocktail. Or Whitebait.
But my how they’ve grown. Since they were invited on the bill, the sublime Priorities Album has dropped, they’ve signed to Search And Destroy, had more positive press coverage than Mother Teresa and Princess Di put together. So there must have been a wince or two in camp LTA as Heston Blumenthal showed up with the starter at their own dinner party.
Seldom have I witnessed such fervour for a support act. In short, the place goes off its tits as Bobby D and his boys rip into set opener Priorities. Pretty much from front to back, the whole room bounces in unison. Pints are spilled, phones dropped, toes trampled girls probably accidentallly impregnated. Total joy. Total mayhem. Totally brilliant.
The set is pretty much all culled from the new album (with the exception of a brief tease of Beautiful Morning before the surprise drop into the always chaotic and fabulous Thug Workout – press up boys ‘n’ all). There is just so much swagger. So much fun. And so much talent. Theses guys have developed such wonderful stagecraft to complement their ridiculously good songcraft but, even allowing for hilarious synchronised moves, lunges and leers they never come over as arrogant or contrived. Just bloody nice blokes having a bloody good time. And producing bloody good music.
Massive sing-backs, mass shoulder-riding, walls of death, friendly but full-on pits and loads of bloody bouncing left the crowd spent. And by the time the anthemic and masterful set closer Actors was launched into the adoring hordes, the good time vibe rivalled the Olympic Stadium’s on super Saturday. A real game changer for the lads tonight. Of course they’re going to be huge, let’s just hope they stay as grounded and as genuine as they appear.
Despite the baying of LTA from the dripping full house for a good 10 minutes before the band’s arrival, you couldn’t help but be a little nervous for Mike and his gang. It’s irrelevant at moments like this, that they’re clearly one of the very best young rock bands in the land; after seeing what Don Broco had just done, it’s got to play on your mind and effect your manhood.
Thankfully there was no need to worry. No performance anxiety here. Despite a tiny initial sound problem, Mr Duce is monumentally and throbbingly erect as the four piece tear into the wonderful Love Someone Else. And the crowd play the supplicant and ridiculously moist bedfellow, cumming loudly and spectacularly with every distorted thrust.
The sexual gymnastics continue throughout drawing climax upon climax from the insatiable nymphomaniac throng. There is so much love in the room. So much lust. So much passion. Brilliant tracks from the masterpiece new album Changing Tune dovetail beautifully with old favourites like Far Q and (Motor)way of life. The gorgeous Dear Prudence joins the boys for the beautiful and haunting Scared of the Dark before the main set ends with like the deep droning and brown noise peppered surefire classic Normally Strange.
It’s rare to see such a brilliant performance from such a brilliant, original band. But tonight I’m proud and privileged to have been in the presence of two. And judging by the Beatlemania-like reception for LTA and Don Broco this evening, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling like that. Spine tingling.
Wish I smoked. Need a fag now.
The always fabulous Yearbook and Straight Lines up next.
More tunes soon. Bwooooar!