9th March 2018

The legends of independent off-kilter nonsensical progressive post-hardcore and their dance-punk sidekicks made for a line-up too good to pass up. So once more we’re back in Brixton rubbing shoulders with other cool kids (Joe Thomas of Inbetweeners fame included), pretending we’re one of them.

Prior to their arrivals we had a suitably left field artist plying their oddity to all those who graced the venue early. Le Butcherettes were damn strange and this can be primarily attributed to their crazed front woman with a lesser heard name, Teri Gender Bender. Her vocals were all over the spectrum and her dancing was like she’d been possessed by a hyperactive demon puppeteer. Their songs repetitive, harsh, scuzzy and rough like a bad garage DIY band whose sole purpose is to annoy the neighbours. Melody was missing, presumed dead. More of a spectacle and an art performance of a set of indie punk blasts.

Teri Gender Bender

We last caught up with Death From Above (1979) back in 2011, whilst on their comeback trail. Since then they have released more new music and have secured their position as garage-dance punk legends, whilst embracing both pop and prog influences. They had come down in excitement and reckless abandon from that earlier show. Tonight the Drum and Bass two piece pumped out their massive riffs complimented by firecracker drumming to shape their high intensity, groove heavy sound. But overall it was a workman-like professional performance that failed to truly spark the onlookers into frenzy…they were far too cool for that. Barely conversing with the crowd they went about their business, slanting a latest album heavy, fuzz fuelled rhythmic onslaught. Good but has been better.

Death From Above (1979)

Headliners At The Drive In, are returning hero’s of Post-Hardcore and alternative rock, who have broken up multiple times, reformed the same amount, spawned numerous offshoot projects are here and are seemingly getting along. A rapture of applause greeted the bands arrival who duly moved straight into their somewhat aloof and distant stage persona’s who barely engaged with the adoring masses. Putting up that barrier and extracting themselves into their craft was well executed as they went about showcasing their new tracks from last years comeback album with vigor and unhinged energy.

At The Drive In

The performance value was exceptional as each track was sublimely executed and expanded with their outstanding musicianship boosted by their progressive tendencies. All night they feasted on the energy reserves of the crowds revelry. Weaving in new jams, alongside older gems worked nicely and the set flowed beautifully through their career highlights. The finest of said songs were the irreverent choppiness of “Holtzclaw”, an non-obvious expansive sing-a-long on “Invalid Litter Dept.” and their almost mainstream bothering Guitar Hero track, “One Armed Scissor”.

Omar Rodríguez-López (Guitar) & Cedric Bixler-Zavala (Vocals)

I’d say it was a feather in the cap kind of show. A night for admiration and less for head first diving. It was clear though, when your as cutting edge, getting excited and jumping about, doesn’t fit the image. Question is, would I return to see them again…yes, in an instant!

Cedric Bixler-Zavala