Friday, 25 April 2014

29/1/2008 Stone Gods @ the Underworld

SubjectStone Gods @ the Underworld

This was set to be an interesting night - for more than one reason.  Back to one of my least favourite venues. It looked like the gig was sold out or certainly very close to it, but still only one of the two bars was open and it took ages to get a drink - what is the matter with the people who run the Underworld? 

The first band was Hellcat. I'd heard the name, but not seen them or heard their music before.
They weren't bad at all - fronted by a very charismatic vixen called The Dutchess - so charismatic in fact that I hardly noticed the rest of the band, although they seemed good as well. 
She can sing pretty good as well - unfortunately I didn't get into position quickly enough to get any pictures of her playing guitar.

Unfortunately, I didn't find the next band Serpico as photogenic - or audiogenic for that matter... You can't win 'em all. 

Then it was time for the BIG ROCK SHOW:
I wasn't too sure what to expect from the Stone Gods. They have played next to no gigs until now, and this is their first tour. There are no full songs to listen to on their MySpace - just short clips of two songs. As this band has risen from the ashes of The Darkness they aren't likely to be rubbish - plenty of other people obviously think the same otherwise the venue wouldn't be so full. But will they be anything like the East Anglian Kings of Irony? Actually, for me the Underworld is a good place to make the comparison as the only time I ever saw The Darkness was in this same venue when they were just a struggling underground band - a band with a far smaller following than the Stone Gods have now. Musically, this band tick all the same boxes as The Darkness - no surprises there then. However, they haven't tried to replace Justin Hawkins with someone similar - this is a good thing as that would have instantly alienated all the people who didn't like The Darkness because of the wirey wailer. Although the Stone Gods are built from two members of the Darkness and their road crew, this is effectively a brand new band with all new songs.
Guess what? This band is actually rather good. The show gets off to a safe start with the two songs featured (in part) on the band's MySpace: 'Burn The Witch' and 'You Brought A Gun' - the only songs anyone has heard. Predictably, they go down a storm - but all the songs that follow are pretty well recieved too. Frontman Richie Edwards doesn't really look like the frontman of a rock band at all, but he has a great voice and plays a mean guitar - he might not look the part, but he is actually a very good rock frontman with plenty of attitude and charisma. Unfortunately, some toerag nicked his Gibson Explorer from the band's dressing room at one of the first gigs of the tour.  Maybe I could have lent him mine? Actually, that didn't prove neccessary as by the time the band rolled into London it looked like he actually had my guitar! I had to check when I got home to see if it was still there. 
It could be argued that this band had it made and fell on their feet before they played a single gig - they already had a ready made fanbase and an album in the can before anyone had even heard them. It has to be said that this band have already 'paid their dues' and have earned their head start in the game - although it also has to be said that if it wasn't for The Darkness they would be just another of the hundreds of equally good struggling rock bands playing to only a handful of people at each gig. However, you can't blame the lads for taking the opportunity to jump-start this new band - and to their credit theyaren't pushing the fact that this is the new 'Darkness offshoot band' like they could do if they wanted - they seem to be deliberately playing down any connection with the 'other band' and you'll find they make no mention of the members previous musical endevours on their MySpace and are happy to let the news spread by word of mouth. Anyone coming to these gigs hoping to see 'the new Darkness' is going to be disappointed, although much the same musical influences are still there - there are no Darkness songs and there is no preening prima-donna rock star/guitar hero frontman. Drummer Ed Graham is much the same, and Dan Hawkins is still very much Dan Hawkins - much to the relief of many of the girls present I suspect.
The songs are also still very much hard rock songs - loud and heavy with plenty of dirty riffing, but I was a bit surprised to see Les Paul guitars with capos attached to their necks - I don't think you'll find the likes of AC/DC doing that There was also a bit too much acoustic guitar for my liking - especially towards the end of the set when they should really have been rocking it up big time.  Still, I thought it was a very impressive show for a new band just starting out - from this performance they look like they are ready to play in stadiums right now.
I think everyone left pretty happy - especially the lovely girl who came on her own all the way from Germany just for this one gig!  Apparently she didn't go home disappointed. 

As usual at the Underworld, the show finished early and the security goons were keen to throw us out into the night as soon as possible.  Why not keep the bar open and make some more money while you have a venue full of people with cash in their pockets?  So, off we went to the aftershow party at a dive in Inverness Street instead. We found this place more welcoming, and the band turned up as well - which doesn't always happen at aftershows. I had a particularly good time after the show - and I wasn't even drunk - I was just in very good company. 

Gratuitous merch girl ass shot:

PS: The above pic is completely unconnected with any other happenings that may or may not have taken place that night.

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