The past few years haven't been kind to Brighton's finest Goth punk psychobilly exports, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster. In the years since 2004's phenomenal "The Royal Society" album, they were scandalously dropped by their record label, parted with guitarist and founding member Andy Huxley and witnessed The Horrors steal the hearts of the nations Goth youth. They have a lot to prove tonight.
Within 30 seconds of taking to the stage lead singer Guy McKnight flings himself into the audience. It's reassuring to see they haven't mellowed whilst they've been away. Despite having to battle against some ropey sound, they're back and as brutal and uncompromising as ever.
The new songs "Horses Can't Swim" and "Into the Garden" - the title track from their comeback EP - don't disappoint, and they certainly hold their own alongside favourites "Mister Mental" & "Psychosis Safari" (although sadly "Rise of the Eagles" and the glorious Nick Cave goes Cossack dancing classic "I Could Be an Angle" are absent).
McKnight is a genuine star - coming across as the demonic lovechild of Iggy Pop and the Mighty Boosh's Noel Fielding (could there possibly be a better pedigree than that?). He is everything a real rock and roll star should be - dangerous, sexy and ever-so-slightly-deranged - a stark reminder of how boring most of our rock "heroes" are today. Be it writhing on the stage semi-naked or clambering over the speaker stack pouring with sweat, he's a performer that demands your attention, and he won't let you down one bit.
Culminating with a riotous rendition of "Celebrate Your Mother", tonight's powerhouse performance is exhilarating and is a fantastic reminder of how essential Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster still are today. Their ferocious assault on the senses will leave the ears of their ecstatic fans ringing for days to come. This is exactly how rock music should be.
Recent photo of the band from hatsandbike's Flickr stream.
Words by Martin Hills.