Live gig review by Alan Daly
© Olga Kuzmenko
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko
Some metal gigs are all about death, doom and destruction. Others are about having some beers and a bit of a laugh. Today’s all-ages show in the Voodoo Lounge, Dublin, is definitely the latter. Support is provided by four talented local bands; Subsist, Devolted, Enshrined and Psykosis, with proceedings starting at the unseasonably early time of 4:30pm.
Psykosis delivered a killer set at the 2014 Bloodstock New Blood Stage after winning last year’s Metal 2 The Masses competition (with Enshrined and Devolted both in the running this year), and have recently begun to expand out of the Irish metal scene by securing a bunch of gigs in the UK. Tonight they bring their light-hearted, balls-out, thrash metal to a faithful flock of fans and first-timers. It’s the usual barrage of beach and beer themed tracks, with no surprises; other than lead guitarist, Tony Corcoran, breaking a string during ‘Driller Killer’, turning the Dublin-based thrashers into a temporary three-piece for a couple of tracks. Unperturbed, they continue with crowd-pleasers including rousing renditions of ‘Sea of Beer’, ‘Beach Season’ and ‘Toxic Fugitive’, and provide the perfect pre-heat for tonight’s headliners.
Evil Scarecrow are not the first band to mix metal with a sense of humour. Perhaps it started with Spinal Tap (although never intended to be a real band), and more recently, bands like Steel Panther and Tenacious D have been successful in creating carefully rehearsed comedy rock routines. Evil Scarecrow, on the other hand, genuinely seem to be having a ridiculously good time, blasting out metal tracks that can be enjoyed for their musical virtues as much as their humour. At times, their sound could even be mistaken for Cradle of Filth.
Kicking off almost fifteen minutes ahead of their already early 7:30 stage time, the Nottingham based quintet commence proceedings with the intro and opening track ‘Rise’ from their 2014 album Galactic Hunt (say the album name aloud, and you’ll start to see their sense of humor). A disappointingly small group of people gather at the front of the stage, but the crowd quickly builds as fans hurriedly make their way back from the smoking and drinking quarters, and soon the venue is bustling.
Before starting into ‘Space Dementia’, frontman Dr. Hell proudly announces that the Thunderbirds-inspired video for the song has been nominated for a “Metal Hammer Golden Gods” award, and asks the audience to vote for it despite the odds being stacked against them. They then proceed to perform the track in the style of string puppets, jerkily and awkwardly playing their instruments while stumbling around the stage hilariously. In the first of many opportunities for audience participation, Dr. Hell encourages the crowd to mosh in slow motion as if in the reduced gravity of a distant planet, again in keeping with the video, and they willingly oblige, creating quite the spectacle.
The Galactic Hunt set continues with ‘Galacticus’, followed by a cover of “the most brutal death metal TV theme tune ever”; ‘Thundercats’. An appropriate track from a band that has been dubbed “the Saturday morning cartoons of Heavy Metal”. Interactions between the band and the audience are frequent and Dr. Hell gets plenty of laughs when he offers high five’s to the swarm of eager fans, but intentionally misses every one of their begging hands. As if to make amends for teasing them, he offers up a prize of their live DVD for the best pair of dancers (yes, one between two) during the next track; ‘Dance of the Cyclops’. The dance floor erupts into a melee of metallers waltzing in triple time to the track about a cyclops dancing to Danzig with a Gypsy. Not exactly deep, meaningful lyrics, but of course nobody notices or cares. True to his word, he awards a DVD (because they are the future, apparently) to two girls who danced the entire song, each covering one of the others’ eyes.
Without spoiling too much of their stage show for those who have yet to witness the hilarity that is an Evil Scarecrow gig, it suffices to say that their pyrotechnic display at the intro to ‘War and Seek’ was an extraordinarily explosive experience, before bassist Kraven Morrdeth leads a war-march around the venue, followed by pretty much the entire crowd.
Despite this being Evil Scarecrow’s debut Irish performance, their reputation has obviously preceded them, mostly thanks to two incredible performances at the Bloodstock festival in recent years, and their fans already know what is yet to come. ‘Robototron’ sees the entire crowd making choreographed robotic squares with their arms (if you can’t picture it, check out this video of their performance at Bloodstock 2014), before more crowd invasions by band members. Drummer Ringmaster Monty Blitzfist makes his way to the back of the audience with a floor tom, where he provides the rhythm for them to bounce to, and Dr. Hell lets Brother Pain off his leash to crowd surf on the sea of up-stretched arms. The set ends with ‘Blacken the Everything’ and the insanely popular ‘Crabulon’ which has the crowd scuttling back and forth like crabs, even without being asked.
Massive cheers and applause are well-deserved as Dr. Hell tells the crowd that they have never been made feel so welcome at a debut gig; and this doesn’t seem like a flippant cliché. An incredibly entertaining show, sure to be remembered and regaled as that legendary “first time that Evil Scarecrow played in Ireland”. Make sure to check them out if you haven’t already!