Evil Blizzard at The Underworld Camden

Support: Taman Shud| The Fierce and The Dead
January 28, 2017 at The Underworld Camden
Promoter: Baba Yaga's Hut

An evening of role reversals, crowd participation and all-round bedlam; from the insane journey to get to the gig from the heart of North London (after some football game), which in itself was like a fucking kids’ story, I was set up for a night of craziness. I had been out ’til 7AM the previous day after a few hours sleep and a few hours in a meeting, smashed the xanax in and landed on the first sentence…so, I guess it felt to me like there was an increased sense of entropy in the air.

I got to the venue despite all of Tottenham’s football shenanigans (thanks to Jake Murray’s expert London navigating) just as Taman Shud took to the stage and whilst I had heard their considerable reputation in the scene and a small amount of their music, had never really listened to them in enough depth. I was taken by surprise, the band did sound like they were the first band on (at first the keyboard was kind of hard to hear), playing to a half-full room (so the acoustics were different to when I left there the week before to a sold-out Oathbreaker show) and it was noticeable that shit was warming up, despite that it was clear that the reputation the band has attained is certainly deserved.

TS1The star of the show was the dude duelling drums and lead vocals with the passion of a raving lunatic and the effortless precision of someone making a jam sandwich before slumping on the couch after work. I would really like to see the band play with additional members, perhaps that’s just because of the fucking insane night of warped musical switch-keying I later witnessed and earth-shattering bass bombardment in Evil Blizzard but, I felt like it’d be really good to have an additional person help with fortifying the screaming as well as doing some additional drums and either bass or keys as well as the awesome lady wearing the Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs t-shirt (everyone should own this, it looks sick and they’re just such a fucking good band and I felt like I could trust Taman Shud knowing that there at least was someone who liked Pigsx7 in their ranks) who did a great job of duel-wielding the keys and the bass but, at a times it seemed like the band could have had more weight or presence with additional hands on deck not, that what I heard wasn’t fucking great. The heavier Taman Shud can go in this fucking miserably heavy western world the better.

Turns out that Jose who took pictures at Pigs the previous week was actually kind of part of the team and a mutual friend was in attendance so, it was great to make his acquaintance here and since he has fucking great taste and takes great snaps, I’m sure I’ll be seeing a lot more of him too. Always good to chat wham with Matt Stevens and Kevin Feazey as well.

TFATD1The Fierce and The Dead are all fun and riffs. I’ve been a fan of this band since they released Part 2 and I don’t even wanna work out what year that was for the sake of all parties involved. It was cool having never seen Evil Blizzard to see how each band warmed us to the headliners in a different way; Taman Shud had a brilliant vocalist/drummer combo and The Fierce and The Dead had a great level of audience involvement and participation as well as some great general patter, particularly from Kev. The Fierce and The Dead are always pretty funny, Matt Stevens has a great comedic delivery in his playing; the J. Mascis level savant aspect of the guitar work in the band is only really matched by Matt’s (particularly) and the others’ ability to entertain you with subtle expressions in key parts of the riff that make either the effortlessness or the sudden impactfulness into something that is simultaneously astoundingly brilliant and funny.

TFATD2One of the only bands I ever saw capture the same spirit of it at that level was Cleft and I’m glad to say that I got to see them twice before they were needed back on their home planet of Cleftoron; once at ArcTanGent (see my review, I fucking loved it, TFATD played then as well, it was brilliant) and finally, at their last ever London show with Goodsouls Promotions whilst coming up on acid which was also fucking insanely brilliant (probably another of my favourite live gigs ever). The point is…there’s no more Cleft but, The Fierce and The Dead live forever and they’re here to stay and no matter what band juggle those chainsaws to a similar effect, only The Fierce and The Dead do it like this and the variety and sheer magnificence of the riffage proves that few are truly match for their bodacity. It should also be noted that it was fun to be a human guinea pig (as it usually is) for their new tracks which rest assured, assert that even testing the waters here, the band’s new stuff kicks ass.

So I know I probably talk too much about myself at these things but, whatever, fuck off. What I’m trying to say is that, I got to meet another great human at this particular gig who does deserves his own paragraph and that guy was Anthony, the dude who makes all this possible by running Baba Yaga’s Hut and (had choice spins from Mission of Burma and Gnod on that had me wondering what legend was DJing) it was an absolute honour I continue to be blown away by his gigs. If you’re in London and want to watch cool music Baba Yaga Hut’s presents is definitely the place to start. I’m already planning to go to more of this dude’s gigs within weeks, not even months, probably not even two weeks by this point! Look at the line-up for Raw Power festival! Look at the name of the fucking thing even its the reference, the foundation of it tells you it should be fucking boss and I have no doubt it will be. This is the shit you live for in London, you may work to live but it’s like Willy Wonka says “we are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams”. Fuck everything else, it’s all part of a bigger problem. This is what’s done right!

EB3Speaking of doing things absolutely right, Evil Blizzard took to the stage looking the middle ground between the dead presidents in Point Break and Heath Ledger’s Joker as we first see him in The Dark Knight only way more fucked up, hell, throw a bit of The Shape/Mike Myers from Halloween in there as well to build the mental image. It’s still not even a vague outline of the fucking human wreckage that ambled onto the stage each looking like they raided a treasure chest in the attic of a costume shop for their clobber and armed with obscene finger gestures and bass guitars. They were an outlet for everyone as all the best bands are, they were characters and performers who asked us to hate them and boo them and we loved them for it…someone’s gotta be the bad guy and hell, with Bad Guys calling it quits and the world collapsing we probably need Evil Blizzard more than ever right now.

If a band mostly in drag with five of its six members playing bass all completely differently to create psyche rock at a world class level doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps it will appeal to you to consider that eventually two more people came on to play bass as well, whilst others guided a bass round the audience allowing even me to play a beer bottle slide bass and a baby doll’s head with lasers in its eyes as a theremin. I have never seen such carnivalesque chaos at a gig in my life and I will have to see Evil Blizzard many more times before I truly have any real understanding of what it is that they’re doing other than playing exceptionally brilliant music. All I know is I saw a lot of bass guitars, a lot of pedals, a lot of carnage and a lot of obscenity… and it was just love at first sight.

EB2If there’s anything to be optimistic about in a world that seems to be turning upside down, it’s that there will be people who feel the same and though you might never meet them; hopefully, you’ll get to listen to their music and watch their gigs and read their lyrics and books and comics. Absorb their artwork, lose yourself in their movies. Marvel at their fucking clothing and buildings. There’s artists out there expressing how they feel and blowing off steam and going against the grain and despite what the media and the government and the waves of what I guess are conformists might tell you, you don’t have to be normal, you can be part of the freak show and have a whole lot of fun; ‘cause being normal is boring. You can be a band with a drummer that sings or members that scream, you can be a female musician whose not just there for some reptilian piece of shit to nurse an erection to, respected as an artist irrespective of gender, race, religion or sexuality, you can be a band without a singer, that chooses not to take things seriously and be genuine rather than try to be cool and end up pretentious or… you can be whatever it is that Evil Blizzard are and to tell you the truth, I don’t really no what they are, I just really fucking love it.

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Thanks to Echoes and Dust and Baba Yaga for all the exceptional music I’ve seen recently; it really makes living in London a much better experience for me as a Northerner and as a young person, it’s great that I’m getting to enjoy these bands when so many people are forced fed such shite through the usual suspects.

Photos By Jose Caamano

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