Interlock (support: Conquest of Steel et al)
Underworld, London on 1st April 2007
Reviewed by Helen on 1st April 2007
My word. You may notice this comes straight after a My Chemical Romance live review. Yes, it's been a busy weekend.
Right: onto business. Subverse is the monthly afternoon (2-6pm) held exclusively for the rock kids of London, at the Underworld in Camden. I'd heard about it even before I came to London, and it's generally a very popular and well-attended event.
I'll set the scene for you. Imagine a fairly large multi-roomed venue, full of kids. Not just emo kids, in fact mostly proper rock kids. Oh, the nostalgia. There are kids making out, kids constantly crushing plastic cups underfoot, kids crashing cigarettes, kids running around going a little crazy. There were kids in the queue trying vodka for the first time out of plastic water bottles, and explaining to one another how the bouncers could be made to believe it was lemonade. At one point during the event, a small gathering of miscreants started a fire. An actual fire. On the wooden floor. Dumb kids. Everywhere.
Dead Beyond Buried / Ted Maul
Ted Maul (or was it Dead Beyond Buried?)
These two bands were more or less the same, so they're going in the same section. Plus, a four-band review would go on forever and nobody would read it. It's a shame, but it's true.
There was no noticeable difference between DBB and Ted Maul: I knew one had replaced the other because they DBB left, the lights came up, Dragonforce came on the sound system, and was then rudely interrupted by Ted Maul. They do that to Dragonforce every Subverse - someone should complain. I came close, and I'm not even that much of a fan of Dragonforce.
Both bands were made up of dudes with incredibly long hair, both bands made sounds reminiscent of the milk steamer on a coffee machine, and there was more swearing than one would expect at a worldwide conference of sufferers of Tourette's. Parts were like listening to an aeroplane taking off. They were trying so hard to look mentally deranged that I became embarrassed on their behalf, and actually left the venue in disgust. It was unbelievably dull. Enough said.
Conquest of Steel
Conquest of Steel
Bloody good thing I went back in the end, since this next band were HILARIOUS. Hugely recommended. They were either very good or absolutely dreadful: it was hard to decide, but either way, they were insanely funny.
Of course, they didn't mean to be, but there you are. Heck, I'm laughing now, because I just remembered the swords. And the skeleton. And the spinal cord-wand thing. Hair by Vidal Sassoon, wardrobe by Disney.
Despite the vomit-inducing hilarity, they actually had some pretty spectacular guitar work (not to mention tight hooks) going on there - if you could see past the cheese and clichés. I know I couldn't. Quotes come to mind... "This next track is all about Medieval War..." "Scream, London!" (crowd response: "You're fucking shit!") and repeated "Thank you, warriors!", all in a comedy grandiose voice. I nearly wet myself when they said "This is a song about the golden age of piracy!" and launched into a proper Yo-Ho-Ho style shanty-fest.
Unfortunately, nobody under 18 actually got the joke (mind you, neither did the band) and the brilliant technical ability and solid, solid riffs went pretty well unnoticed under all the hair.
This band gets a 5 - but please note that in terms of entertainment value they receive a 9.5. Excellent.
Ho hum. Back to the tarmac, as more aeroplanes take off in Camden, accompanied by the sound of a thousand milk foamers.
No, that's mean. Interlock, however generic, provided a nicely-layered performance, with lots of meat on every bone. Interestingly, they had two vocalists (one male, one female) which was certainly interesting, to say the least. They went down well, since Austen et al at Visible Noise had promised the punters a much heavier night than last time.
However, their music was almost too heavy to make any discernible difference between tracks, despite pretty little drum solos. The main problem was that the vocal style remained constant throughout - lots of screaming, no singing. There was nothing on guitar worth mentioning, unfortunately, since all that was left to this part of the set-up was boring, rhythmic bassy chord work. No crazy dual solos like with Conquest of Steel, who begin to look really very good by contrast.
What really nailed the coffin down for me was the extremely heavy reliance on pre-recorded backing tapes, full of annoying twinkly bits and warped sound effects. It was all just a little bit too made, and after the aforementioned CofS, this is a heavy statement to make. They were all in black, they all had stringy black hair, they all wore bondage stuff, they... oh, I don't know, they were just like any other metal band really, except easier to forget.
So, basically, they went down pretty well with the assembled crowd. But then, they do have a pretty shiny website, and pretty clothes and stuff.
Subverse is usually much better than this - but despite the crappy choice in bands, it was still good. I can't get over how cool last month was, frankly, and so still highly recommend it to anyone not old enough to be allowed into the big gigs - or indeed, anyone free and bored on a Sunday afternoon. It's fun... a little wild, but that's the Youth Of Today for you.
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