Live Gig Report by Alan Daly
© Olga Kuzmenko
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko
It’s barely been six months since Nottingham-based Evil Scarecrow played their debut Irish show in the Voodoo Lounge, but like it or not, they’re back already for tonight’s all-ages show in On The Rox as part of their “Boldly Going Anywhere” tour. Local support tonight comes from the Ballymun quintet Call To Arms and reigning Metal 2 the Masses victors Animator. Being a teen-friendly show held on a school night, doors open early and the bands start at 6pm.
It’s obvious that Call To Arms have a dedicated core of fans who have arrived on time and have brought their dancing shoes. From the moment the lads hit the stage, the small floor is not a place to stand for anyone unwilling to go crazy. Even without being familiar with their music, the energy and enthusiasm erupting from the stage is enough to get every head in the room banging along. An instantly recognizable and brutally heavy cover of Korn’s ‘Right Now’ is one of the highlights of their set, and singer Dean Donnelly takes one of many excursions into the circle pit to rock out with his fevered fans. A great performance full of passion and promise, and an ideal opening act.
Call To Arms
Wexford-based thrashers Animator clearly find it more difficult to bring friends and family to a Dublin show, but don’t hold back and deliver a set as persuasive as the one that secured them a slot on the Bloodstock New Blood stage in August. With lyrical themes dealing with politics and mind control, vocalist James Doughty looks as pissed off with greed and corruption as ever while pacing the stage and preaching to the converted. His impeccable air guitar skills are matched by the real-deal pairing of Ryan Treanor and Barry Ryan on lead and bass while Darren Bradley brings up the rear on drums. Definitely deserving of a bigger crowd, both Animator and Call To Arms inevitably lose out on ticket sales in the run up to the holidays especially with so many big name metal bands spoiling us lately.
By the time Evil Scarecrow make their way onto the tiny stage at 8pm, a sizable crowd has gathered and have crammed themselves as close to the stage as possible. Reports of their previous hilarious visit in April and a slot at this year’s Download festival have apparently earned them a mini-legion of obsessed fans who it seems already know exactly what to expect from “the finest parody metal band from Nottingham to have written a song about a robot”. They take to the stage in theatrical fashion to a dramatic keyboard intro before blasting into ‘Rise’ from their massively successful chart-topping and record-breaking album Galactic Hunt. Well, maybe not chart-topping. Or record-breaking. But it was pretty good.
Frontman Dr. Hell’s melodramatic actions and facial expressions accompanying the farcical lyrics make it difficult for anyone to keep a straight face; especially Dr. Hell. Flanked by his guitar and bass-wielding brethren Brother Pain and Kraven Morrdeth, and watched from behind by Ringmaster Monty Blitzfist, he introduces the unfamiliar face staring back at us from the keyboards where Princess Luxury normally presides. Chucky the Bastard is the new kid, and of course is receiving the bullying and hazing that might be expected in such a position.
Anyone who has had the opportunity to catch an Evil Scarecrow show before will be familiar with the crowd-participation antics of the one-eyed waltzing during ‘Dance of the Cyclops’, the robotic square dancing during ‘Robototron’, the slow-motion zero-gravity moshing during ‘Space Dementia’ and the heavy metal conga-line during ‘War and Seek’. Anyone who hasn’t may think it sounds a bit silly. And it is; it’s ridiculously silly. But somehow it just works. Admittedly, many of the audience members will be getting up for school tomorrow, but Evil Scarecrow brings out the giddy teenager in even the most serious old-school metallers in the venue.
Undoubtedly inspired by underage drinking trends, the crowd inexplicably erupts into chants of “Cans, cans, cans” at random points during the show, much to the bewilderment of the band, and the shame of those drinking beers from bottles. In response, Dr. Hell announces and performs a brand new song they just wrote which they called ‘Lovely Cans’. Maybe it’ll appear on a B-side some day.
The one-hour set is a mix of popular tracks from Crowcifiction, Sixty-Six Minutes past Six and of course favourites from Galactic Hunt. Teasing the crowd, Hell introduces ‘Blacken the Everything’ as the final song of the night, adding that they’re such bastards that they’re not even going to finish up on a happy song. But despite his crying and wailing, there was no fooling the audience and they weren’t letting the band off the stage without playing a certain crustaceous classic. And after a faux-encore pause, show ends comically with ‘Crabulon’, and a chance for everyone to scuttle left. And scuttle right. Ah, just go to the show. You won’t regret it.