Tuesday 29 November 2011

Kvelertak and Toxic Holocaust at Underworld - 26 November 2011


It’s an early start at the Underworld. The place may be filled with black-clad hulks adorned with fearsome tattoos and facial piercings, but the management want these hordes of Satan out of the door by ten fifteen.

We start off with Wolves Like Us, who stand in a line across the stage and blast out a fine fast metal which gets the heads of the audience whipping back and forth.

The band sport impressive facial hair. You could imagine that in a very cramped dressing room that their beards could become entangled like so much Velcro. I like the band, they have a Motorhead no-nonsense simplicity about them.

Next act The Secret have taken the place of the rather more interesting Trap Them and I find it hard to warm to them. The singer is slightly too intense and gives the impression that this gig is a somewhat unpleasant ordeal that he will be glad to get through.

The band don’t really engage and I take the opportunity to look at the merchandising stalls. There is very little in the way of music to buy, but each band have a plethora of lurid T shirts on offer –this is clearly where the money is.

Toxic Holocaust are heaps of fun, and take me back nearly three decades to when I was sixteen or seventeen. This band are old school metal, certainly in attitude if not in actuality.

They are fast and furiously heavy and dedicate songs to the devil, songs to whiskey drinkers and they swear so incessantly that stage pronouncements become faintly ludicrous. You could imagine them announcing that someone in the muthafuckin’ audience had better move the muthafuckin’ Golf in the muthafuckin’ car park because they are muthafuckin.blocking some muthafucka in.

I enjoy them a great deal, but wonder if I am doing so ironically, as even though I love their noise there is a part of me that finds them funny. And of course the more serious they are, the funnier it gets.

I’ve been looking forward to the headliners ever since I was introduced to their album late last year. Kvelertak are a band from Norway and in this smallish venue they are like a bomb going off.

The stage is filled with sweaty men smashing at guitars and screaming. The crowd simply erupts and tries to storm forwards, often being fiercely repelled by a mean looking stage hand with a Zapata moustache.

Fists are pumped in the air; we are exhorted to “Fight! Fight! Fight!” and the drumming and flailing limbs are just tremendous. It’s big dumb fun.

However, as with all such bands, there’s not a great deal of light and shade in what they do and after some while fatigue sets in.

I do the management a favour by leaving well before the curfew, my ears ringing like a muthafuckin’ bell.

No comments: