Mclusky turn up the heat at the Garage

Review by Roland Stanbridge-Miles


This review, concerning one of the emerging bands of the moment, was kindly submitted to the pages of Indielondon by Roland Stanbridge-Miles. Feel free to do the same, whether gigs inspire, disappoint, or simply bring out the wordsmith in you. We look forward to receiving your views....

Mclusky, The Highbury Garage, Saturday, September 14, '02

A WALK along the Thames and a search of Islington for a fully functioning cashpoint prevent us from catching the first band of the night. I see their name on the schedule for the evening as I walk in, but I don't remember it.

Perhaps we should have taken a longer walk as it would have spared us the dull guitar wankery of Reuben. Fronted by a Dave Grohl wannabe with bad hair and a style of between song banter that reminds me of a mid-Atlantic, characterless commercial radio DJ (sure he's a lovely bloke though), his band trudge their way through a repetitive set of lowest common denominator teenage angst turgid rock, in which the guitar is an extension of the penis and gutteral screaming is big and clever.

It's fitting that at one point in the brief respite between songs they pay tribute to Hundred Reasons, one of the worst bands I've seen this year, and mention that they are soon to support Vex Red at the Astoria, completing the three bands in the relegation zone of the league table of live acts I've witnessed this year.

Enduring their penultimate song I'm thinking about just how much I'm going to slag them off in this review but then I am taken aback by a reasonable intro and first half of a song (sorry, didn't catch any titles) which leaves me contemplating how this is going to affect the tone of my review.

Depressingly, and unsurprisingly, it soon descends into the provincial sub-US rock yawnfest which makes me want to chuck my empty can of Red Stripe at them.

As ever, the Garage is hot and sweaty tonight - I'm convinced even in an ice age the place would have a sub-tropic environment. Anyway, next on are Mclusky - presumably named after the infamous Grange Hill headmistress - who are Welsh, judging by the flag held aloft by some supporters down the front.

Two thirds of the band speak and confirm this. They launch into action with some amusing, throaty, rant-style vocals from the lead singer, which are met with increasingly frenzied response rants from the bassist.

They continue in a similar vein, meeting with general approval from the audience, particularly the (mostly youthful) stage-divers who punctuate every song with their sweaty antics. One song especially catches the eye (ear) featuring the kind of shouty vocal harmonies that never quite made it onto a Beach Boys record.

The bassist's Scooby-style howls are particularly impressive. A half-expected, half-hoped for cover of the Osmond's Crazy Horses sadly fails to materialise.

Although their music isn't anything particularly new or stunning - in truth, it sometimes becomes a tad dull and repetitive - they provide a welcome contrast to the last band, by virtue of at least possessing some stage presence and wit/character. I probably wouldn't bother buying their album, Mclusky Do Dallas, but for 30-45 minutes entertainment, you can't go wrong.