A , Wheatus & InMe @ Shepherds Bush Empire
21st November 2018
DIR.net opened the door to the DeLorean and sped back to the early noughties for a stellar line-up of old favourites whose appearance back on the live scene is much anticipated. With a line-up this good we were in early to catch the openers InMe.
This Brentwood based alternative rock/metal outfit have been consistently putting out quality albums for over 2 decades, rarely growing beyond the small venue’s that they frequent almost on a yearly basis. This experience means they are a formidable live act as they mix tracks from early grungy numbers, to more modern epic metal high up the progressive scale. Lead singer and guitarist Dave McPherson with his trademark flat cap was talismanic. His impassioned vocals were exhilarating, guitar work was highly technical and mastering both at the same time was impressive. His emotion poured out on latest single “For Something To Happen“, which he openly admitted that “I’m likely to cry during this next song” which visibly opened some raw wounds. This was a headline act compacted into a 20min sampler, which cut them down when they were only getting going.
Next we have (dare i say it without upsetting fans) a one hit wonder band in Wheatus. Sure they have a few other songs of note, but obviously we didn’t start there tonight. All 7 of them rambled out with bespectacled band leader Brendan B. Brown, for whom they oversized baggy t-shirt look hasn’t needed an update since the 90’s. Still it was somewhat of a surprise to see the sheer swell of numbers. To start with, they have 3 backing singers, for what reason I’m unsure.
Brendan B. Brown
That aside they mid-tempo’d their way through some decent pop ditty’s and their signature cover version of “A Little Respect“. Rather uninspiringly they remained fairly static throughout and just played their tunes. Of course we rounded out with the aforementioned classic alt-rock anthem and rock kid’s fairy tale “Teenage Dirtbag“. It was as fun today as it was back then, and despite exhibiting less of power than you’d have expected, it got the full sing-a-long treatment from the crowd who knew every word from years gone by.
The nostalgia didn’t end there as A bounded onto stage. I was always a little miffed that I missed them in their (/my) heyday. So I was glad to get the chance to turn back to clock and enjoy their 2002 classic Punk Pop album Hi-Fi Serious in full.
As with any gig of this ilk, it can easily get predictable (obvious point right?). But somehow it was still surprising how great these sounded live and how the various tempo/mood shifts typified what is a cracking LP from start to finish. From the powerful frenetic start of “Something’s Going On” and “Six O’Clock On A Tube Stop” before mellowing out with a few semi-ballads to calm the moshers.
Lead singer Jason Perry was in a rather unexpected outfit tonight. A full Deliveroo rider’s uniform complete with backpack. An interesting choice but not surprising given their punk stance, spiking a undertone of social non-conformity and capitalist unease. In fact as he extracted a Starbucks mug from his backpack (which stayed on for almost 5 songs by the way), it was done only in irony to tee up the immortal sing-a-long anthem of the same name with its classic line “I Don’t Want Your Job In Starbucks“. Hundreds of people barking that at top volume clearly made their evening.
Jason did a straw poll towards the end of the night which summed up the crowd nicely, most remember the LP being releases, almost all are over 30 and lots had kids. Which duly prompted him to instigate an “Age Appropriate Mosh Pit“. The caveat being you had to walk! As old bones don’t mend as fast. Of course this accounted for little as the madness soon resumed unabated.
Looping back round to end the main set to the thumping riff of “Nothing“, they exited and duly returned for a last min compilation of older tunes that had the faithful bounding like loons, “Old Folks” ahead of its time mockery of the aging technology user and the perky stomper “I Love Lake Tahoe” being the best of the bunch.
To surmise, tonight successfully managed to turn the clock back 20 years of so and those here to witness, revelled in its nostalgia and youthful reminisces.