||14th March 2011
D.R.U.G.S., CAMDEN UNDERWORLD, LONDON, 10th March 2011
Dutch Deadboy Michaels
I arrived at the Underworld Club to find a queue of six hundred people from the front entrance of the club all around, past the bus stop to the rear of the venue, with people looking to buy tickets.
Well that sent me straight into the Worlds End pub above the club until things settled down. Funny, no press or usual suspects in the pub. This is 'Dutch Michaels' Gig of the Week' and it's sold out with people wanting in! I guess they don't pay attention at The Crobar. Maybe Future will now start a new mag Called Classic Alternative Rock after reading this.
I hear my name called and I turn around to meet two friends of Toronto origin - Debs Rossiter-Guterres (mz Trans Am fame, all the black music transport, lorries you see at all concerts around Europe, with Trans Am Trucking in yellow painted on the side) and John Catto, guitarist with Canadian band The Diodes. So I spent the next hour catching up on the Toronto Musio scene and listening to Debs tell me about her Las Vegas shopping spree with her mate Lucasta Ross from an old fave band of mine, The B Girls.
Wow - the time! I missed Decade, the support band and the Que as I slid down the apples into the Underworld Club past two smiling merchandisers who won't be smiling when their boss says they didn't sell out, but they didn't bring enough swag to sell in the first place and had an empty bar with not one single ligger near it.
I can hear the intro tape as I push myself into the viewing area as the crowd chants "Drugs, Drugs, Drugs, Drugs". The band start up with 'The Only Thing You Talk About' and throat man Craig Owens jumps on the stage, sings the first three lines then holds the mic to the crowd who take over and sing the rest of the song, along with Craig as the stage diving and crowd surfing come about at the same time. Wow - we are in for a show.
The atmosphere is like the Green Day Concert I saw at Wembley Stadium last year shoved into a sardine can without the pyros. The fans know every word to every song and it's like they are the song. Owens' energy has them jumping and dancing and now the exercise really starts as Craig tells the audience no one is allowed to stand still and drummer Arron Stein counts us into 'Stop Reading And Do Push Ups'. Thank God its a two and a half minute song or I would have been carried out brown bread. Phew!
Owens asks the crowd when he raises his hand in the chorus will they shout "OH". Of course they will; everyone in the room is a vocalist tonight.
Now the D.R.U.G.S. really kick in with 'Swagger Has A First Name (I Said Ohhh)'. When we get to the chorus the crowd go "OH" and me ears go pop as second guitarist Nick Martin joins in on vocals while Arron Stein holds down a thunderous drum beat while Adam Russell powers the bassline as he dances all over the stage. The audience participate one more time with the "OH" chorus and Matt finishes the song with his spangly guitar sound.
Craig thanks Decade for being a great support act. Hmm, mm, something about entertaining him and the lads on tour. "Come on Mattie" says Craig and then he tells us "Matt's my best friend ever" as Matt leads off 'Laminated ET Animal'. Craig once more gets the audience to start jumping up and down as Adam, Arron, and Nick fall in with the tune. The crowd take up the vocals, giving Craig and Nick a hand. The power of this song with the love between the fans and the band is unbelievable! We also get polite stage divers. All is good here in the 'Plastic Encased Animal' song.
Craig Shouts... "Here's the last track on our new album 'Grave Yard Dancing'. The Locust took over my brain. I'm not just living for you, I'm just living so chill with your guilt. You hope for sun, I want rain." Maybe they should move to the UK.
The polite stage divers make way for the mass crowd of fifteen or so hardcore stage divers. Adam Russell takes his bass for a wander through the audience and joins us for a while before hanging at the sound and lighting front of house desk. Better than being mobbed on stage. Amazingly not one bass note was out of place in that whole walkabout.
Next comes the song from the video 'Sex Life' and if you're looking for a ballad this is as close as your going to get. Not!
Owens starts singing in acapello with the fans singing every word right behind him. Then the instruments kick in and once again the Underworld goes mental, stage and crowd surfers return amongst the sweat and hormones dripping off the walls.
When this number comes to an end, Craig once again shows his love and thanks the fans and support band Decade again. then they go into 'Mr Owl Ate My Metal Worm'.
After Owl the band pull a large amount of very pretty girls on stage to help sing 'If You Think This Song Is About You It Probably Is', which is pleasing to the eyes and ears. Also there's no room for the stage divers, he, he. The lyrics went like 'You Tried To Shoot Me Down'! What a pretty ending!
But the crowd were having none of it and brought the band on for an encore 'I Think of Losing I Think Of Love'. House Lights and a quick swifty back upstairs.
D.R.U.G.S are very addictive and I see a sell out show or two at Wembly Stadium in five years time!
Thanks to John Vyner, Live Nation and Video Jon