Live Photos and Gig Review Credit: Adrian Hextall (Photographer/Live Gig reporter Myglobalmind Webzine
©Adrian Hextall and Kevin Cobb
Wednesday night in Camden (London not New Jersey) is not typically the location for a hedonistic night of glam and sleaze driven rock ‘n’ roll. The Underworld, one of Camden’s better rock venues, disagrees however and we find a 5 band bill topped by non other than sleaze legends Faster Pussycat. Five bands between 7pm and 11pm mean short sets for the first couple of hours and fast stage changes to give all bands a chance in front of a reasonably full venue.
First out of the gates are Whisky Blood a four piece from London who clearly look to the 80’s LA rock scene for influences. A short set comprising only 4 songs finishes with Start It Up which has been getting a reasonable amount of airplay on both UK and US radio. The track along with a debut E.P due for release in July 2013 will keep them busy on the circuit for the coming months and gives them enough material to get the crowd moving.
A second short set from The Wild Lies, another London (ish) band hailing from High Wycombe, they describe themselves as hard rock fused by intricate grinding riffage colliding with stadium rock chorus melodies. A view I am happy to agree with as they really do have some cracking riffs in their arsenal and choruses that cannot fail to drag you into their live show. Their songs include great foot tappers such as Heartbreaker, Stone Cold Love, Falling Play and finish with a great anthemic track called Relive the Ride. Their look and feel reminds me of Vega who of course are currently riding high in the rock charts with their “What the Hell” album. If they keep this up then perhaps a future tour with a band like Vega would see them reach a wider (and dare I say younger) audience as well.
Knock Out Kaine (or K O Kaine as the t-shirts state : Can you see what they’ve done there?) play another short set and definitely deserved more as they got the crowd worked up, had a lengthy audience participation section that we all appeared to respond to and generally worked the stage like seasoned professionals. Songs like Set the Night on Fire (and they did to be fair!) , Skin Star, Little Crystal, Time Play and the excellent Somebody Save Me which finished the set were well received by a group of people clearly here to be entertained by music in a similar vein to that of Faster Pussycat. Lead singer Dean Foxx clearly knows the likes of the crowd and works it to is advantage. A recent tour with Love\ Hate has probably seen them play to most of the people in the room before as well so he seems to be on safe ground. The rhythm section of Lee Byrne and Danny Krash (man, I miss these glam rock names in bands these days) provide a raucous backbeat and special mention goes to Jimmy Bohemian for some great licks but who no longer resembles glam at its best but rather a slightly muted version of Kurt Cobain. Maybe grunge is due a comeback?
Next up are THE surprise of the night. The ART quite simply are fantastic. On tour across Europe with Faster Pussycat, the Australian band are making the most of the opportunity to shows off their brand of classic glam and fist pumping punk rock. Their manager Vicky Hamilton describes their sound as “It’s kind of a throwback to T. Rex, The Doors with a little Dandy Warhols thrown in” and it’s hard to disagree. They are young, energized and for a band touring on the back of only a couple of singles and a debut album, they carry the kind of charisma and presence of a far more mature act.
Lead vocalist Azaria Byrne does have an element of Jim Morrison in his voice, look and swagger and the girls in the audience are very, very vocal in their approval. Ronnie Simmons on lead guitar is stripped to the waist, covered in tattoos and is every bit the rock star as he throws lick after lick into the mix whilst throwing every shape culled from the lead guitarist book of moves. The team work from Kara Jayne on bass and Jordan McDonald on drums is excellent and with Kara singing lead vocals at times it provides a neat shift in pace and tempo during the set.
With the band being the main support tonight, they get a much longer set than the others so far and make the most of it playing tracks from their fantastic debut “Here Comes The War”. Highlights include Femme UFO, I Wanna Know and Home Sick. When talking about support acts that can outdo the headliners, people often mention Van Halen when they supported Black Sabbath in the late 1970s. Whether the ART will reach the heights of a band like VH who knows, but on the strength of this performance tonight, they deserve it.
And so to our headliners. As a big fan of their ’87 debut Faster Pussycat, follow up Wake Me When It’s Over and Whipped from 1992 I was expecting great things of a band I’d never before managed to catch live. The reformed Pussys (sic) only contain Taime Downe from the original line up but as is often the case with 80’s band still going, the voice drives the sound and as such the band sound authentic to their original sleazy LA roots.
Opening with “Where There’s a Whip, There’s a Way”, my personal fave from that era, they had the crowd bouncing from the off (a crowd which contains, like the band, no small amount of black eyeliner, black eye shadow and lipstick). Clearly in goth and sleaze heaven at this point, the crowd sing along to early era tracks like Cathouse, Slip of The Tongue, Sex Drugs and Rock’n’Roll and of course Porn Star.
A new number in mid set suggests they are not just there for the nostalgia and future releases should be investigated. A quick break sees the ART join the band on stage for birthday celebrations before launching into a raucous cover of Supersuckers “Pretty Fucked Up”. The end of the set brings forth a performance of “Babylon” which never used to be played live due to the vocal complexities but now seems to be a fan favourite and show closer.
Hot, sweaty, dark, dingy, humming and full of people just wanting a good time and some rock’n’roll. That pretty much sums up both the Underworld and Faster Pussycat. A match made in heaven perhaps?