Weird War at the Underworld, Tuesday 3rd May
Londonist has to admit to having known nothing about Weird War before but strong recommendations (and a ticket) from a couple of friends led to us being trapped behind a pillar in the Underworld on Tuesday surrounded by every line of cool hipster fashion; from South Park truck driver chic to post goth romo whatever. There’s even the singer from Part Chimp. We’re definitely in the presence of people who know which is just as well when you’re watching what appears to be the house band from Taxi Driver.
On the left we have a kaftan wearing female bassist. On the right a guitarist sporting a ‘Russell from Stillwater’ moustache and sparkly hawaiian shirt. There’s the obligatory drummer who looks pretty normal from where we’re standing and then there’s mainman Ian Svenonius. ‘Nam combat jacket and 70s Italian Amercian mop he’s walked straight out of early Scorcese and looks as likely to shoot us all than drop to his knees with a Curtis Mayfield scream. That’s until the fatigues come off to reveal a purple silk jacket and some frenetic dancing.
Svenonius is not the only one hitting the high notes this evening either. Russell from Stillwater’s doing his own pretty good falsetto lines whilst playing some highly danceable psychadelic Hendrix inspired riffs with the odd burst of surf guitar.
And there we have it, the sound of Weird War: soulful psychadelic danceable glam surf garage pop. Got it? Of course. But there’s more. There’s a message. There has to be. But we’re not entirely sure what it is. Svenonius imparts the word of Weird War as if at a ’68 era love in whilst shushing the crowd, fidgeting, changing tack, changing track and rambling like a lunatic from an Abel Ferrara movie. This could be about Peace and Love but then again it could be about Satan and armageddon. He could be off his head, under the influence or straight up.
It’s an impassioned and suitably odd ball performance from a band who bring us tracks such as AK 47, Session Man, Illuminated, Mental Poisoning, Girls like That, See About Me, Crystal Healing, Word on the Street, Destination: Dogfood and the potential no 1 classic Motorcycle Mongoloid. Of the titles make of what you will the lyrics, we had to but we’re pretty sure they’re somewhere between Zappa and Leonard Cohen.
It’s all over far too quickly, but a joyous hour of getting on down with the strange, scary, funky, and loveable Weird War. We’d highly recommend you check them out next time they’re in town. And we got to see the guy from Part Chimp!