Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Marmolized. Live review of Marmozets at The Scala.

Lonely The Brave *****

Scala, Kings Cross, London, Friday 10th October 2014

As the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness stumbles towards that ceremony where we burn effigies of Catholic conspirators and spend fortunes filling the sky with cordite and burning holes in wooly gloves, it seems only apposite to draw an autumnal parallel between tonight's pyrotechnics and the impending night of the roman candle.

So, let's get the taper lit, the pets behind the sofa, the biscuit tin of air bombs and bangers out from under the stairs and get things lit.

Lonely The Brave *****

First to be thrust into the bucket of soil to be sparked up on this alternating headline tour are Cambridge's movers and shakers Lonely The Brave.

It doesn't take long for the fuse to crackle into life and deliver its charge into the beefy payload as a huge sound cascades all over the packed confines of this grand old, whimsical venue.

As fireworks go, Lonely The Brave are a slick, impressive well organised display bursting with oohs and aahs, filling every corner of the space with impressive and gut-vibrating booms and a glittering smattering of pomp.

However, if there's one minor gripe, this son et lumiere, while full of grandeur and spectacular fizz, gets, well, a little repetitive. The songs, while pretty much all stadium-friendly anthems and chest-beating canon fire lack a little nuance or definition. A bit like a really impressive long series of dazzling bright white Chrysanthemum-like fusillades; although captivating and hypnotic, it feels like there's a need for the occasional change of pace. Of colour. Of, dare I say it, key.

That all said, like any band with an original or specific sound, the line between trademark oeuvre and repetition is a difficult and precarious one to tread. Muse, U2, Biffy et al all emanate a clearly recognisable scent and it doesn't seem to have harmed them all too much. Anyway, it's horribly unfair to unduly criticise a band so early on their journey and without a whopping sac bulging full of backed up goop to draw upon.

It's such an engrossing and explosive show, that the always slightly rum positioning of singer David Jakes behind the guitars isn't particularly noticeable here, camouflaged by the cascading joy, emotion and explosions, he delivers a pretty much flawless vocal performance which is helped out in the big sing-a-long bits by the gawping display watchers.

A crackling and cracking set which clearly puts this lot in the big cabinet of fuck off serious fireworks behind the counter and certainly hints of even bigger and brighter things to come. I just hope they do dip into the weird and wonderful, slightly more challenging and dangerous part of the chemistry set to change things up just now and again. 

Fiery and impressive stuff though.

As the lingering cordite and last wisps of Lonely The Brave smoke swirl into the Kings Cross sky, it's time for tonight's main display. Once again, the powder keg of a room is as full as a fat chav's grey sweatpants. And just about as hot. And stickily sweaty.

The lights dim and we're off. Right from the off, there's a different air. A different energy. Whereas Lonely The Brave were more pomp and circumstance, Becca MacIntyre and her  ragbag collection of MacIntyre and Bottomley brotherly miscreants are more downtown Helmand. Full on, gloves off, pin out relentless bombast.

Kicking off with the Ebola grade infectious Born Young And Free, the place melts down in the face of the incendiary assault. MacIntyre's voice has never sounded better. Swinging effortlessly between pitch perfect cleans and testicle rearranging growls and screams, the diminutive Tyke-ess leads her likely lads unquestioningly and loyally over the top into artillery saturated action.

The set unabatingly keeps delivering spectacular explosion after spectacular explosion. The variety box that is the brilliant new album (The Weird And Wonderful - definitely cemented as one of the albums of the year) is virtually emptied of one fizzing banger after another.

But this is no spluttering, crackling family selection. Oh no. This is weapons grade stuff. Massive thunderfucks. Laced with the heaviest of metals, jizz, shards of tortured Sheffield steel, bile, phlegm, napalm and face-melting lava. Like some sort of fierce, snarling pyroclastic flow, engulfing all in its path while sardonically and mischievously flicking the middle finger up as it passes.

Not some dad-lit 3 inch fizzling back garden Mount Vesuvius, but the raging hard on of the real thing; right in the hellish pit of the ejaculating crater. And it keeps coming. The malevolent album title track, the angsty Why Do You Hate Me and the drop tuned majesty of Hit The Wave keep the bombs raining in on the shell shocked, sweating, writhing hordes.

But like all pyrotechnic displays, it has to come to an end and seems too short. And, as a first album band and with only a couple of handfulls of previous math fuckery at their disposal, 10 songs is about as much as we can hope for. But with two last songs like the brilliant blitzkrieg of Move Shake Hide and the astonishing neutron bomb set closer Vibetech there's no feeling of being short changed. 

The B52 delivered Vibetech leaves a huge circular crater on the floor as a spastically frenzied circle pit opens up to accompany the mathy, Dillingeresque explosion that wrings the last drops of sweat from the adoring and by now mutilated crowd.

Tonight, Marmozets have moved up a notch and rightly can take their place among the very best of British live bands, in fact, fuck it, among the very best live bands full stop. Their energy, tightness, melody, technical ability, maturing songcraft and integrity sets them apart from the pack by a country mile. Brilliant, bewildering, explosive stuff.

Boom indeed.

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