see all the photos from this concert here
Devilish Presley
Global Noise Attack
The Water Rats, London
Friday 23 January 2004
~review and photos by Uncle Nemesis

Here we are in 2004, and the London live music circuit seems to be in the throes of a much needed shake-up. Flag Promotions, who have been our principal providers of goth/industrial/whatever gigs over the last few years, appear to be pulling their horns in somewhat. Flagís frequent shows at club venues such as the Underworld and the Garage, which have effectively been the mainstay of the London gig-calendar in recent years, are suddenly conspicuous by their absence - and a new bunch of promoters seem to be coming through, with new ideas, different venues, and a selection of bands which looks beyond Flagís policy of rounding up the usual suspects for gig after gig.

One of the new breed is the London deathrock Ďní roll band Devilish Presley, who, in true Ďgrab the controlsí fashion, have launched themselves on an unsuspecting scene as promoters under the name Pity For Monsters.  This is one of their gigs, and tonight Devilish Presley have lined themselves up to play a set, rather incongruously surrounded by a selection of take-no-prisoners industrial-metal acts. Strange bedfellows, perhaps, but thereís a good atmosphere in the venue tonight which hints that the gig is going to work. I should also note in passing that the bar has Shepherd Neame Master Brew on hand pump - yep, this is definitely going to be a good one!

Global Noise Attack are tonightís opening band, but theyíre not exactly new. Theyíve been around for a few years now. In fact, I once nearly promoted the band myself, back in 1999 - but the show never happened. I lost frightening sums of money on the infamous gig which Gitane Demone didnít play, and was therefore forced to cancel many of my subsequent plans. Global Noise Attack were one of several bands who lost out because of that little episode. (As you might imagine, thereís a story behind all this. Iíll tell it, if you like, but be sure to buy me a beer first. Iíll need something to cry into.) Tonight, the band rampage and roar through a set of stripped-down industrio-rock - no fancy stuff, just a drum machine beat and some heavy-duty riffs - while the vocalist spends more time offstage than on. He careers around the crowd, looming over assorted audience members like a grizzly bear whoís just spotted lunch, climbing over the PA stacks, and up-ending himself so we can all admire his arse.  Naturally, everyone in the audience stands calmly by, displaying traditional British stoicism, pretending that nothing unusual is going on.  Itís a bravura performance in terms of sheer spectacle, but after the set itís the larking about and the crazy off-stage antics that I remember, not the music. That might be something for Global Noise Attack to think about: they need to make the music as attention-grabbing as the singerís showboating if theyíre to move onwards and upwards.

Maxdmyz have also been knocking around the gig circuit for a few years. I remember seeing them a long time ago at the Underworld, where their schlock-metal show incorporated a scantily-clad girl on obviously mimed keyboards - clearly nothing more than an excuse to have a sexxy deth chyk on stage. Thatís the essential point about Maxdmyz - they like to do that olí shock Ďní outrage thing, but whatís outrageous these days? Packing the stage with hawt rawk chyxxx who donít have any real reason to be there is not, by itself, anything special. Fortunately, tonight, Maxdmyz come before us in revised form: no more gratuitous mime-artists. Their current line-up sees the addition of a female singer, who has great stage presence and all but eclipses the bandís male vocalist with her energetic hollering and stomping. Sheís like Johnny Rottenís crazed little sister as she flounces and rants her way around the bandís heavily rhythmic metal-riffing.  Musically, Maxdmyz are as tight as a duckís arse, and even though Iím not usually a fan of metal in any of its incarnations, thereís something exhilarating about the way the bassist, guitarist, and drummer hit every riff bang on the nose - they couldnít lock together any tighter if they were conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. But itís not all precision riffs and freaky vocals. The show incorporates some, er, Ďperformance artí interludes in which a fearsome cyber-skinhead has piercing needles inserted into his arm by a cheerful young lady who, on close inspection, turns out to be Interlockís bassist. None the worse for his new perforations, the cyber-skinhead then comes out with an angle grinder and sends showers of sparks flying everywhere while the band rage and rumble around him. All this adds to the spectacle, although in truth none of it is particularly startling or original. Everyone from Leechwoman to the Chaos Engine are doing the angle-grinding thing these days, and Maxdmyzís piercing routine only looks shocking if you havenít seen the Genitorturers. In the end, we come back to my original point: you simply *canít* be outrageous any more, because itís all been done. Maxdmyz are recycling old ideas here, and itís all starting to look rather lame. If they canít come up with anything new (cut the drummerís head off, maybe?) then I think theyíd be better off ditching the wannabe-shock-horror performance routines altogether, and simply let the music do the talking.

Devilish Presley are the jokers in tonightís pack, in that theyíre not by any means a metal band. They do, however, rock most convincingly. Thatís quite an achievement when you note that Devilish Presley are a duo: that rumbustious, tub-thumping drum sound which powers their music along is coming out of a small black box. Nevertheless, the band have a gritty, physical presence which grabs the attention of the crowd. Johnny Navarro is a manic, wired madman on the lead vocal mic, throwing shapes and wrenching tortured squeals out of his long-suffering guitar, while over on the stage-right mic Jacqui Vixen gives her bass a good walloping and belts out the backing vocals as if sheís auditioning for the devil himself. This is the factor which makes it all work: the two members of the band hurl themselves into their music without the slightest restraint. Itís a full-on blast from the start of the set to the end, and you just canít help being swept along by the sheer gung-ho spirit of the performance. The songs are bare-bones rockers, delivered with suitably high levels of bile and wormwood: in short, it all just *works*. Now, Iím not going to give any hostages to fortune here, and predict that Devilish Presley will become the next big thing, but the fact remains that their brand of no-frills, mad-bastard rock Ďní roll is a very welcome new development in a scene which, in recent times, has seemed in danger of disappearing up its own arse. If youíre bored with straightforward Gothic Rock outfits who canít see further than that hackneyed Sisters/Mission/Nephilim thing, if youíre frustrated by bland EBM merchants endlessly recycling a watered down VNV/Covenant/Apop sound - hereís something which, in this context, counts as new and cool. Paradoxically, given that Devilish Presleyís influences are drawn from rockís classic past, their presence here might just help to push things in a new, and definitely more rockiní, direction.

And finally, here come Interlock, with their own peculiar brand of left-field metal in full effect. Interlock make a heavy, but always controlled, noise, which borrows a few essential moves from mainstream metal, but then puts them all through the patent Interlock blender along with a bewildering array of other influences. The visual side of things is carried by the bandís two vocalists - one male, one female. Thatís a fairly standard line-up for metal bands these days, of course - but if youíre under the impression that Interlock do some sort of Lacuna Coil/Evanescence thing, where a sternly dominant male voice alternates with a sweet little choirgirl, allow me to knock that notion aside right away. Hal Sinden and Emmeline May square up to each other like prize fighters, and fire lines of vocal at each other as if theyíre fighting a duel. Itís almost worrying to watch them go at each other hammer and tongs: I catch myself wondering if itís all just part of the show, or if theyíre going to carry on like this in the dressing room afterwards. Meanwhile, the rest of the band stand aside from the melee (the bassist, in particular, maintains an air of zen-like calm throughout) and churn out a rhythmic bump Ďní grind which manages to be oddly danceable while remaining firmly in the rock zone. Itís not that Interlock are any kind of crossover band: itís more like they just donít recognise any musical boundaries. Why, if they feel like doing a cover of Bjorkís ĎArmy Of Meí, then, dammit, theyíll do just that. A good old fashioned mosh breaks out among the fans at the front, and the set roars and shudders to a close.

By now the bar has run out of Shepherd Neame Master Brew, which I take as my cue to depart. Itís been a good gig, and all the better for being something different, something away from the usual run of London goth-stuff. If tonight hints at what is to come, 2004 should be an interesting year.

see all the photos from this concert here


Devilish Presley:


Global Noise Attack:

The Pity For Monsters gig page within the Devilish Presley site. A slightly confusing display of gig-info  (the gigs are not necessarily listed in date order, and full info about bands etc does not necessarily appear alongside every entry), but itís all here if you work at it:

Pity for beer monsters:

Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis: