In the time it takes to say, “look it’s that mental lot from Brighton with the funny hair and the vaguely delusional singer, who wants to be the cult leader of the world,” Guy McKnight has ripped his shirt off and dived – head first – into the Underworld crowd. Welcome back, Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster.
We could mention that tonight’s show is to promote their new EP and dissect each song with the precision of a musicology professor. We could speculate what they’ve been doing in their musical hiatu. A stand off with Federal tanks in Waco, perhaps? But nobody, least of all the band, cares.
Men with Mohawks, midgets soaked in beer and every imaginable fuck up this side of the Thames are all dancing and clambering for the stage. In short, this is the living embodiment of everything you thought a band was suppose to be like when you were fifteen and leaping off the sofa. The closest comparison would be a particularly deranged bar scene in Wild At Heart. Only twice as cool. And a thousand times less dangerous.
It is like a ride in a rock ‘n’ roll theme park. In between songs, stage divers are actually picked up and thrown back into the crowd. All the while the band play on like a particularly sozzled Bad Seeds. All that’s needed is somebody to smash them over the head with a sugar glass bottle and slide them across a bar.
Bands should forget dour faced posturing and ambition as, frankly, this is more fun than battering Johnny Borrell to death with a pair of white tennis shoes. Best of all, are the face contortions. All this unabashed hilarity is actually conjured up from the belly of Lucifer. So every few minutes, McKnight’s eyes roll back, his face gurns and he does a little demonic dance. It is the rock tradition, after all.
The cheeky devils are obviously trying out a few new moves as at one point he is flexing his biceps like the man in the Mr Muscle advert. They even give him a break to briefly thank everyone for coming. It is the sort of darkly surreal showmanship that wouldnt be out of place in The Mighty Boosh. So it is no surprise that Julian Barrett is a committed fan.
It ends abruptly with tinnitus inducing feedback that goes on long enough to make everyone uncomfortable. The band disappear into the dark and we’re left hoping that they are fleeing town in madcap onslaught of carnage and gunfire. Not bad for a Monday night.