Max Raptor ****1/2*
Cargo, Shoreditch July 17th
It's bloody hot. Everywhere. But inside Hoxton's achingly hipster hideaway it's even bloody hotter. However, thankfully, the excessive heat hasn't deterred the beardies, weirdies, losers, boozers and substance abusers showing out in force for a boiling night in the company of two of the UK's finest alt bands.
So, in keeping with the heat theme, tonight's show will be judged on the scoville scale.
Sadly, due to the pressing need to rehydrate with refreshing pre-show cocktails, I missed Tigercub the opening dish tonight. So let's dive straight in to the boiling and boisterous Max Raptor.
Max Raptor ****1/2* (1, 463, 700 Scovilles Trinidad Scorpion Butch T Pepper )
Like all original bands should be, Burton-on-Trent's Max Raptor are pretty much impossible to accurately categorise. There's definitely a punky attitude but without the ubiquitous, all too common boring tikka masala nihilism and faux anger that saturates much of the joyless indie punk scene. That's not to say there's no aggression. Far from it. There's real venom, spite and phal-like sizzle to their work, but it's tempered with clever, challenging and often witty lyrics, underpinned with big-boned rock rhythms. fat guitars and a tight as a tick's anus rhythm section.
The overall melange serves up a huge, bowel-shifting, foot tapping, head bobbing, sphincter shredding noise more addictive than Maltesers laced with Meth.
Front man Wil Ray cuts a mean bastard countenance, spitting his lyrics through gritted teeth and strained, narrow snake eyes. He's in control. Carousing, cajoling and flitting around like hes got an angry swarm soldier ants in his pants gnawing at his whiffy bridge.
The set is a triumph of (barely) controlled vitriol, power and raw energy peppered with sing-along woo oohs, huge choruses and heavy bombbursts.
There's new fare on the menu tonight including the brilliant latest single Breakers but the enthusiastic (if not initially a little side of the school disco reticent) crowd are truly set alight by the 'big ones'.
The always fantastic Patron Saint (of Nothing) is sped up and turbocharged, The Great And The Good with it's badge-pinning refrain barked back energetically by the sweaty congregation, Obey The Whips throws in a whole heap of extra chilli and by the time the set ends with the majestic King Is Dead, there's more sweat than on Rolfe Harris's neck every time the doorbell rings.
If there's any justice in the world, this lot of intelligent, challenging, original and refreshing orifice violators will be headlining bigger sweat fests before too long. In the meantime, if you get the chance, haul your perspiring derriere in front of them at one of their many festival slots this summer. Just don't touch your old chap after you've handled them. Brilliant, lively, fiercely sizzling stuff.
Dinosaur Pile-Up ***** (1, 334, 400 Scovilles Bhut Jolokia chili pepper )
So, the Leeds trio shamble onto the stage, complete with light show, lasers, dry ice and probably a marching band, trombone playing elephants and dancing girls somewhere in the mix. A now packed vaulted oven gives the lads a huge welcome and we're ready to force out what little sweat we've left after Max Raptor have brutally extracted gallons.
This is the first time I've seen Dinosaur Pile Up headlining and they take to it like ducks, geese, moorhens, cormorants and grebes to a lake rammed full of, well, duck, geese, moorhen, cormorant and grebe food.
A little like Max Raptor, not in style of music, but in the fact that the're difficult to pigeonhole, they mash up a hole heap of influences and genres. Grungy vibes, punky disrespect, rocky roots and huge poppy hooks. Imagine The Buzzcocks, Weezer, early Ash, Any one of the Seattle set, The Pixies, Pumpkins and uncle Tom Cobbly. In an attempt to invent a genre let's go for Grunk. Or Prunk. Oh, fuck it, whatever it is, I like it.
Anyway, despite the apparently hugely disparate and disonant ingredients, it works. And then some. Mop haired front man Matt Bigland, dwarfed by his Gibson Explorer, has a searing and corrosive but controlled and melodic vocal range and it cuts wonderfully across the big balled thudding, chugging and explosive mainly drop tuned noise that seems impossible to have bene generated by just three folk. There are similarities to The ever-excellent Xcerts but the sound is fatter. There are harmonic layers that Brian Wilson would be proud of and huge power choruses that wouldn't be out of place in any of a Mr Grohl's ouevre.
As the lasers flick and ejaculate light jizz all over the entraptured throng, it's clear the the threesome are loving it as much as the perspiring pit. There's a genuine and humble ring in their whole demeanour, underlined when Bigland touchingly thanks the crowd on what has been their first headline outing in the capital.
The sing backs and singalongs dive us all into some other worldly alternative Mad Max or Dantean karaoke and there's a genuine face hurting collective smile throughout. Mona Lisa, Arizona Calling, Derail and the glittering title track of the new brilliant album Nature Nurture are notable highlights from a highlight infested ball crushing set. Culminating with Bigland throwing himself into the adoring masses and messianically walking on the human water (well, mainly sweat).
Bloody hot stuff on a bloody hot night.
The amazing Burnout Festival next.
More tune soon.
Ril Lay Chinese Ricky Gervais...Got his own two fingers and he's pretty much proud of it.