There are occasions when you go to a gig genuinely not knowing what to expect. Having witnessed the lunacy that is an Evil Scarecrow show for the first and only time at Bloodstock last summer, your PM team had a rough idea of the madness that was about to descend on our local club this cold and miserable November evening… but, even then, we were not fully prepared…
The band, of course, had been scheduled to bring their peculiar brand of mayhem to this particular corner of the Mosh-iverse earlier this year, but technical problems with their van – or, as Brother Dmitri Pain so eloquently explained in our pre-gig interview, an attack by pterodactyls – led to them being stranded just out Dublin with no way of progressing any further… But, the Nottingham nutcases, now possessing a shiny new vehicle, made it at the second time of asking, much to the delight of the several hundred hardened metallians who had braved the inclement conditions outside to savour the ES experience for themselves.
The task of warming up the early comers fell, as it was supposed to do on that ill-fated first occasion, to one of PM’s favourite local outfits, By Conquest Or Consent. Their hard-edged hardcore-meets-thrash sound is built on skull-crushing riffs combined with huge melodies and genuinely memorable hooks. The ability of Pete Crenshaw (pictured right) to move easily between clean and dirty vocals, and intersperse same with gritty growls, is extremely impressive, while the band are tight and precise yet appropriately aggressive, to deliver a passionate and emotive performance.
Next up is the raw fury of Scimitar, with the classic DM-tinged old school thrash, built on the superb double-kick time keeping of Ryan Atkin, who once again proves himself of the best exponents of his craft in this part of the planet we call Mosh. With the crowd entering into the spirit of the occasion with their plastic swords raised high, the band deliver neat harmonies and melodies which showcase their ever developing sound, while frontman Jonny Gray, who has the touch of a young Araya to his delivery style, once again demonstrates how much he continues to grow in confidence.
With huge jets of smoking shooting from the front of the stage and their faux-orchestrated intro, Evil Scarecrow immediately show that they have a sublime sense for the ridiculously bombastic. “We fucking made it,” proclaims Dr Rabid Hell (pictured above left), as he references both the incident earlier this year and the fact that it has actually taken them “four fucking years” to visit the one remaining outpost of these islands which they have not subjected to their lunacy. However, unlike certain acts I could name but won’t, this is no mere circus freakshow act, all histrionics and tomfoolery: there also is plenty of depth to their tongue-in-cheekiness. Their grunting riffs pay homage to classic metal, while elements of gothicism, operatics, punk and thrash are combined with a stree-savvy attitude.
But, in a way, it is the gimmicks that the audience have come to see… and the ‘Crows have these in abundance. ‘Dance Of The Cyclops’ transforms the venue into a carny-style ballroom of the sort the nightclub-promoting owners would wet their collective knickers to see every week, while ‘Robototron’ has even the most ardent mosher moving like an arthritic 80’s disco queen! And there’s more to come… Brother Pain (pictured right) distributes enough party poppers to leave more cordite in the air than most pyro systems are allowed to produce in these health and safety obsessed days, before the normally sullen Kraven Morrdeth leads the crowd on a conga-style “war march” up the room and down again: even Ringmaster Monty Blitzfist gets in on the act, carrying his floor tom off the stage and onto one of the surrounding walls. And, of course, ‘Crabulon’ has everyone – even the bar staff- scuttling this way and that, hither and thither in one of those moments that just have to be experienced to be believed.
The world needs more madness and lunacy of the proper sort. The world needs more bands like Evil Scarecrow.
- Photographs by The Dark Queen. All content © PlanetMosh 2015.
Evil Scarecrow’s ‘Boldly Going Anywhere’ tour continues on the following dates:
Thursday 19 November – Norwich, The Waterfront
Friday 20 November – Milton Keynes, Crauford Arms (supporting Kvelertak)
Saturday 21 November – Leicester, The Scholar
Thursday 26 November – Huddersfield, The Parish
Friday 27 November – Birmingham, The Temple
Saturday 28 November – Manchester, Sound Control
Sunday 29 November – Sheffield, Corporation
Saturday 2 January – Grimsby, Yardbirds
Thursday 28 January – London, The Underworld
Friday 29 January – Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms
Saturday 30 January – Nottingham, Rock City