KORY CLARKE: The Islington.
The Islington, London. 18 October 2014
Saturday night in London marks the end of Kory Clarke’s October UK tour and the legendary Warrior Soul frontman has a new record to promote, ‘Payback’s A Bitch’, but in reality Kory Clarke is here to promote Kory Clarke. And to be fair to Kory he does this very well indeed.
Nik Underwood: Pictures – Patrick Casey
I won’t go into a history lesson for those of you unfamiliar with the man’s past bands and prolific credits but unsurprisingly tonight’s setlist is drawn heavily from Warrior Soul’s catalogue and said new album.
The venues may be getting smaller every year, and no doubt if you asked the man himself he would tell you that this is for YOUR benefit to bring you a more intimate and crazy rock n’ roll experience, but the number of bodies in this north London boozer tells a different story. Which is a genuine shame as Kory’s patented brand of “acid punk” still packs a powerful punch.
Clarke appears to a rabble-rousing roar, drinks and Devil horns held aloft and launches into Warrior Soul’s ‘Punk And Belligerent’. Sporting a Cheshire Cat grin, snazzy waistcoat and stylish white shirt Kory is a charismatic mix of snake oil salesman, rock revolutionary and carnival barker and has lost precisely none of the rasp and howl that characterises his acerbic wit and desire to “stick it to the Man”.
Barrelling into ‘The Drug’ and ‘Let’s Get Wasted’ the latest band of Clarke’s travelling sidemen do a fine job of replicating the old tunes and making enthusiastic shapes in all the right places. It’s a small complaint in the grand scheme of things but there’s not much chemistry between the band and their leader, a nod of approval here and the odd arm over the shoulder there but it’s clearly the KC show and luckily the man has the charisma and force of personality to hold his disciples in his thrall.
The new album has been getting some positive reviews and while the PR blurb tells us the album is “diverse and surprising” the title track and ‘Rock n’ Roll Genocide’ that we get a little later on don’t deviate too far from the formula and can sit nicely in the canon of snarling shells.
While still producing new music and not exactly resting on his laurels ( your favourite search engine will provide you with a list of Kory’s extensive singing/drumming/producing/poetry/art projects and where you can purchase them) it is the “early” stuff that gets the most feverish response.
‘Rotten Soul’, ‘Love Destruction’ and of course standard set closer ‘Wasteland’ deliver the goods and shout-a-long choruses and the obligatory middle finger salutes to everybody on the Clarke shitlist.
Blame it on the beer or the glaucoma but I was getting a little misty eyed towards the end of the show thinking about it all. Credit where it’s due Kory Clarke is determined to follow his own path even if it is to his own detriment and revels in his underdog status.
Come the Apocalypse. much like the cockroach and the Twinkie you can rest assured Kory Clarke will be there to spit in your eye. And thank God (or the Devil) for that!