Live Review

Levi’s Ones To Watch, Camden Barfly

The band switch effortlessly between mid-tempo pop-rock and loud, messy rock and roll…

With a slow-burning momentum gathering behind them, Underground Railroad have snuck up from nowhere to become right now’s next big thing. Yet rather than take the industry by storm they have divided many with their grungy Cribs / Velvet Underground sound. What makes this particular gig even stranger is that the three acts preceding the Parisian trio are some what more… in yer face.

Rubella continue the recent 90s revival and do a decent impression of Green Day without a rhythm section, this lot are mean and energetic, but the fact their career is still in fledgling mode, for the time being, sticks out.

The slightly gothic mood is not to be broken by the awesome The Chapman Family, a mix of Joy Division’s dark content, a North East twang and some of the darkest pop songs you are likely to hear. With the exception of the possessed (in a good way) bassist all seems pretty normal until each song ends with a huge refrain, giving the lead singer time to bash the crap out of himself with his own guitar and then spit beer all down himself like he is Middlesbrough’s answer to Stone Cold Steve Austin. Still, they are mesmerising from start to finish and tunes like ‘Sound of the Radio’ will no doubt pollute our airwaves in the near future.

Then it is the turn of the wildcard, Dead Kids don’t fit in with the rest of the acts gloomy outlook, but something tells me they will fit just nicely all over my iPod very, very soon. They have got their own synth led take on gritty rock n roll, and could find themselves as one of the most fun and accessible bands of the festival season. Led by a modern day Delboy and with choruses that make ‘Morning Glory’ look coy there isn’t any reason why you wouldn’t like this lot. Couple that with the fact that the only thing they seem to care about is making everybody in the crowd jump up and down and you are onto a winner.

The prevalent mood of the party as Dead Kids leave the stage couldn’t be further from that about to be created by Underground Railroad and their oh-so fragile post-punk experience. There are sound issues and even aided by the crowd’s silence Raphael’s vocals are almost inaudible, but right from first marching bars of ‘Poems for Freaks’ and ‘Sticks and Stones’ you can’t help but focus obsessively on the stage. The live show brings a welcome lease of life for ‘Stuff in Your Pocket’ and ‘Six Pieds Sous Terre’ as the band switch effortlessly, much like Lou Reed and co., between mid-tempo pop-rock and loud, messy rock and roll. If you cannot make your mind up about the ‘Sticks and Stones’ LP then take the time out to see these Gallic grungers and you will no doubt be swayed immediately in favour.

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