Being a trooper, I managed to make it to two gigs in one night. EFFORT! Not even the opposite ends of Camden could stop me from being present at Tommy Flynns first, before sprinting (ok, ok fast walking) my way across the drug ridden streets of goth central to the Barfly. So, what happened? Well….read on!
Band – Mr_Barbs
Location – Tommy Flynns, Camden
Date – 2nd Feb
It wasn’t long before Chris Barber (aka, Mr_Barbs) took to the stage, acoustic guitar in hand and the nervous tension he claimed to be haemorrhaging nowhere to be seen. You have to hand it to the guy, after all this is his first gig and having a faulty guitar lead when you’re only 15 seconds into your first song is something that can crack your composure, but not someone like Mr_Barbs. A quick change over and the music resumes. How do 20 odd minutes of melodic acoustic rock sound? What makes Mr_Barbs stand out from other performers is how well crafted and memorable his tracks are. In this respect, he strongly reminds me of Hereford’s Gossamer Albatross and the combination of harmonica and guitar gives the proceeding a nice Green Day-era “Walking Alone‘ feel.
Tracks such as the lonesome sounding “Thursday‘, contain some nice tongue-in-cheek humour, especially in the line “and I know that it isn’t very long, but I’ll sit and write another awful song…” and the subtle romance of “Now I Know What I Know‘ are conveyed well tonight. Altogether, a solid performance from a promising young act; the kind of first gig most bands/solo artists would kill for.
Fuck me – bands like Gay For Johnny Depp should be locked up. No band should be this pant-wettingly good. They’ve probably made some kind of unholy pact with Satan, despite the fact vocalist Marty Leppard is dressed as a vicar on this, their last gig of what has apparently been one tremendous tour. I read in an interview about another band the singer and guitarist are involved in, called God Fires Man, in which the vocalist stated that the camptastic four-piece have probably only “practiced 5 times in the last year” – in comparison to his more “serious’ band. From the furious racket they made tonight, you’d be scratching your chin thinking “that sounds like bollocks mate.” They open with “Cumpassion‘ and already the guitars are squealing like someone’s been fisting a pig and the barfly is laid to waste in 2 breathtakingly short minutes. After that, the New York queer-machine set about killing music in the best way possible. Blast-beat slabs of noise-punk are scattered like a machine gun set on automatic fire and thrown down some metal steps.
Ultra-swearothon anthem “No Teeth, Thumbs Up‘ encourages the audience to chant the words “Fuck You! I Want To Fuck You!”Â as loud as possible (Shirley this rivals Limp Bizkit’s “Hot Dog‘?) Whilst “Sex In Your Mouth‘ encourages us to praise “Johnny” as much as, ahem; possible. It should be noted that vocalist Marty Leppard has an incredible stage presence (his enthusiasm for performing gives nods towards Matt Caughthran from LA bruisers, The Bronx). When he’s not trying to hump his band mates, the mic-tech guy, various parts of the stage, he dives into the audience in an effort to violate anyone and everyone around him.
Set highlights include a wonderfully scrambled version of “I Hate Our Freedom‘ as well as a totally barbaric run through of “Fucking Isn’t Cheating‘, which sends the assembled Johnn-fanboys at the front into a tornado of frenzied excitement. Gang-chants of “IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD!” unite everyone as a powerful force of anger, love and pain. The scuzz-hardcore rage of “Kill The Cool Kids‘ ends the agonizingly short set in total chaos, with yours truly laying on top of the aforementioned singer screaming the words back at him. No encores (“we haven’t got anymore songs!“- Leppard) but that’s not important; what is, is that Gay For Johnny Depp are one of the most exciting, hilarious and entertaining bands I have ever seen. Proper balls-in-your-mouth rock action.
By Ross Macdonald