The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster are a very unique entity. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a whole host of new guitar bands emerge on to the scene from The Strokes to The Kaiser Chiefs, but none more wild and obscene than Brighton’s weirdest rock group. Vocalist Guy McKnight’s Elvis-like drawl combined with the band’s utter disrespect for their guitars create a sound that is as sinister as it is compelling. Their end of year tour has taken them to the East Midlands, and tonight they’re intent on showcasing the best parts of their recently released sophomore record The Royal Society, as well as placating their devoted fan base with their trademark slabs of twisted rock.
Entering the smoke filled room after a rather forgettable support slot by The Winnebago Deal, the band rip into I Rejection, a dark, brooding number that immediately demands your attention. It’s reminiscent of Kyuss or early Queens Of The Stone Age, with its tortured vocals and the sheer conviction in its delivery. It’s a storming opener, and lays the foundation for what is to be an enthralling set.
New single Rise Of The Eagles follows, and is certainly the most entertaining thing they’ve ever written if not the catchiest. “I Wanna Fly Like An Eagle, I Wanna Sing Like Sinatra,” howls McKnight throughout the song, and we’re almost inclined to believe him. In a back catalogue filled with interesting but slightly inaccessible tracks, this could be the song that finally gives them the commercial break they so richly deserve.
Midway through Celebrate Your Mother, McKnight leaps into the audience and screams “I wanna f*** your mother!’ – in most situations this would be inappropriate or plain embarrassing, but tonight it seems oddly right. Such is the twisted nature of this band, such obscenities are just taken for granted. Forget throwing TVs out of hotel windows or not turning up at shows, with moments like this TEMBD are rewriting the rock ‘n’ roll rulebook.
The stomping Psychosis Safari is so loud the speaker system is pushed to its limits, and Chicken sounds as malicious as it does on record. McKnight is now a man possessed, his demonic glare is present throughout the rest of the set, almost as though he’s been sent from hell to play his brand of obscure melody.
If you’ve seen the film Shaun Of The Dead you’ve probably heard Mister Mental. It’s the closest thing they’ve got to a sing-along anthem. The rip-roaring, incendiary chorus sees McKnight ask the audience the brilliant question “Do you suffer from mental?” It’s a peach of a track, and leaves us with enough evidence that TEMBLD are one of the most underrated bands in the country.
Their mouthful of a name and non-conformist tendencies have seen them sidelined as some sort of ritualistic cult, but in truth they’re just a old fashioned rock band who play every show as if it’s their last. One-dimensional maybe and a very acquired taste, but with a few more catchy tunes they could go very far indeed.