Live Music + Gig Reviews

Antihero + Miss Black America @ The Dublin Castle, London

14 May 2002

I love the idea of seedy bars with low ceilings and smoky air, cigarettesand alcohol. It’s my perfect habitat. The Dublin Castle is just like this. I’m here for a band I saw a little while ago. I caught the last two songswhich had them getting their air miles from the stage via strike-a-pose rockguitarists and a leaping-from-speakers bassist. I went on aboutthem to everyone I knew in the hope they could tell me more about them. Whichis why I was immediately drawn to Antihero’s press listing, playingalongside the much whispered-about Miss Black America, whom I had not heard buthad read lots of thumbs-up reviews on.

Unfortunately, Miss Black America didnt really blow my horn. The lead singer,Seymour Glass (FYI: a character from JD Salinger’s ‘Franny & Zooey’), isdefinitely ahead of the fray in terms of raw energy exertion, but the rest ofthe band don’t seem to share his exuberance in showmanship. The resulting soggybiscuit is fairly bland re-hashed rock’n’roll and from all the hoopla I wasexpecting something pretty darn swellegant from these guys; perhaps that’swhy I wasn’t blown away. Their drummer’s really cute though…

But the night was not lost to mediocrity! We were saved by the unlikely fresh youngthings, Antihero. They are:

– Guitar/vocals: Marcus Ratcliff. Looks like a surfer, kinda like Bodhi fromthe movie ‘Point Break’ if he moved to Nirvana-era Seattle and picked up aguitar – and sulked a lot.

– Vocals/guitar: Pete Hurley. A punk-boy-band-member lookalike a la Billy Idol. Amazing rock’n’roll neck-conipition fits!

– Bassist: Davo McConville. Schizo Chilli Peppers’ Flea type of excitability; alittle hysterical and a little self-absorbed.

– Drummer: Jack Hamson. Basically a seated moshpit animal.

So, there you go, a band that fits every criteria of fancy you may have.They are fairly young but if you were listening to their CD you wouldn’tnotice. They must be kings of whatever school they go to judging by theabundance of 17-year-old girls dominating the front row, but the 25+ yearold peripheral are nodding their heads in appreciation too.

MTV is a great track with Pixies-ish hooks and Nirvana middle-fingerfuck-you lyrics. Rolling Stone T-shirt is an excellent punk hate-balladwith great rock’n’roll licks and their new single, ‘Who’s Looking Out ForNumber One’ is a great punk track reminiscent of Smashing Pumpkins’cherub rock.

Even though the ceiling was a little too low for a Davo tantrum (he did lookfrantically around for something to throw himself off at the end of the gig,grabbing hold of the speakers and searching the stage for a suitable podium.Showman dedication!) they are, all in all, a thoroughly enjoyable band whowouldn’t look out of place if they played a larger venue like Brixton Academy or TheForum. In fact, I think it would suit them extremely well. Fans: make it so.

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Antihero + Miss Black America @ The Dublin Castle, London