Live Photos and Gig Review Credit: Adrian Hextall (Photographer/Live Gig reporter Myglobalmind Webzine
The queues for the O2 Academy in Islington stretch for some considerable distance. Very few differentiating features between the fans waiting to get in. Everyone must wear black (check!) , have piercings (check!) , boots must have many buckles and soles must add 6 inches to the wearer’s height (mostly check!). For a band such a Mammoth Mammoth I had expected less black and more beards and with this nagging thought in my mind the nearest security guard confirms I am in the wrong queue, “nah mate, this is for Satyricon. You wanna be upstairs in the Academy2”.
Upstairs we trudge, to a venue I did not even know existed. The sea of black dissipates (as sadly do the majority of the crowd, we max out at 30 all night) and the Academy 2 opens it’s doors and welcomes me in for a night of rock n roll.
Death Valley Surfers
Formed in the late 1990’s DVS play a mix of Punkabilly, country, surf and no small amount of humour. 14 short sharp bursts of fun ensue. Double Bass playing Gasty and drummer Karl Dibbs create a great rhythm, surf guitar is added by Jay Vee and Brendan Blowers adds some serious sax appeal whilst Russ Surfer sings, raps and banters with the audience. One woman is drawn out (an old friend of the band it would appear) to partake in a ‘Kiss Baby’ and thankfully manages to escape before ‘Fat Man’ and ‘Straight to Hell’.
Mixing instrumental numbers such as “The Big One” with the vocal tracks really highlights the band’s ability to switch styles from bawdy, punk fuelled rockabilly to classic 50s surf anthems.
Various line up changes over the years have limited the output of DVS to a few EPs and an album (all of which are worth tracking down) but if tonight’s live performance is anything to go by they deserve a chance to generate some more, consistent, output.
Sadly their set is cut short by one song to ensure bands 2 & 3 get to play theirs in full but the reception from the tiny crowd (they have the highest numbers of the night) is nothing short of full appreciation.
Up All Night
Black Ear Monster
Heart Breaking Days
Dead Mans Surf
The Big One
Straight to Hell
Formed in the early 1990s, The Quill , comprising Roger Nilsson – bass, Magnus Arnar – vocals, Christian Carlsson – guitar and George ’Jolle’ Atlagic – drums, play a mix of classic and stoner rock music. After a few line up changes the band have stabilized now and the last 2 albums (2011’s Full Circle and 2013’s Tiger Blood) have received strong critical reviews and an increased following from the masses. A bit puzzled as the reason why so few people are here tonight as the band are worthy headliners in their own right as opening tracks ‘Full Circle’, ‘Black Star’ and ‘American Powder’ prove.
The majority of the set is taken from the aforementioned albums and it shows a band with a wealth of experience and maturity garnered from many years on the road. At times they do struggle to motivate the remaining crowd and the band’s frustration is understandable. However, they adhere to the old adage of “play every show like it’s your last” and 12 tracks of total professionalism are delivered including personal favourite “Purgatory Hill”. “Bring it On” and “Voodoo Caravan” end the set and the band depart to make way for headliners Mammoth Mammoth.
Bring it On
“We’re Mammoth Mammoth and we’re from Melbourne Australia” cries lead singer Mikey Tucker before launching into opening set number “Dead Sea”. Describing themselves as the most rock n roll band in the history of history (a modest claim and no doubt) the band present a great tongue in cheek approach to the music they play and take no small amount of time in making the most of the space on the floor afforded to them as Tucker spends the majority of the set from that point in the small but active crowd.
A highlight of the set (and shown on the photos with this review) sees Tucker climb onto the bar of the Academy2 to sing only to be confronted by the security guard complete with hi-visibility jacket to explain in ‘London speak’ that this behaviour is not appropriate. To explain ‘London speak’ in a little more detail, you, dear readers, should follow the sequence of pictures.
1) I’m gonna sing on this here baaar (in solid Aussie accent) & Come on now son, that’s not allowed in this venue
2) Fuck you copper , you can’t tell me what to do!
3) Actually I can and I’m going to carry you off the bar and back to the stage.
At this point normal service resumes and a saddened Mikey Tucker returns to the stage.
Given the Mammoth Mammoth set list tonight contains tracks such as “Fists”, “Weapon” and “Short Fuse” I personally think our local security guard got off lightly!
The rhythm section of Frank Trobbiani – drums and Pete Bell – bass remain firmly in place on stage throughout the night and provide a solid thumping backdrop to the fun and shenanigans of Tucker and the excellent guitar work from Ben Couzens, sporting his best trucker look!
The band work the crowd (as have the others tonight) like it truly is the last show they’ll ever play and the final few songs get a good a response from the crowd as they could wish.
Better promotion would have brought a bigger crowd tonight and it’s a shame the three bands did not get the volume they deserved. DVS are a cult band everyone should see at some point, The Quill showcase quality music from Sweden and headliners Mammoth Mammoth are just, well, nuts but bloody good at what they do!
Want It To