Nottingham Rock City is the local mecca for bands, and headlining the mainstage of this iconic venue is a dream show for any midlands band. Evil Scarecrow have been building a local following for a number of years now with their off the wall stage show, and Planetmosh went along to see how this would shape up in a hometown headline show.
Local boys Fahran kicked the night off with a good solid opening set. They had plenty of fans in tonight to cheer them onto the stage, but their hard hitting riffs soon got the rest of tonight’s slowly swelling crowd moving and cheering for more. We were treated to thirty minutes of solid full on hard solo riddled hard rock, finishing on the new single ‘A Thousand Nights’ leaving everyone on a high. With such a tight performance and enthusiastic crowd response it actually came as a surprise to me that Fahran were not chosen as main support tonight. They certainly charged the atmosphere and set the bar for the evening.
A very quick turnaround saw Yorkshire metalcore outfit RSJ take to the stage. While you expect their music to be a perfect fit for Evil Scarecrow the eclectic nature of the crowd saw an initially cold reception during their first couple of songs. RSJ were undeterred, vocalist Dan Cook wasted no time in leaping from the stage to deliver line after line of growling vocals while standing on the barrier. Backed by searing fast guitars and some infectiously timed drumming the Scarecrow fans warmed quickly to RSJ, bouncing along their high energy music. There is no question that while RSJ were not to everyone’s taste, they put on a blinding performance and left the stage with a lot more fans than they started.
As the lights dropped for Evil Scarecrow the cheers that erupted were ear splitting, and looking back over the crowd the venue was wall to wall front to back. Ahead of the band taking the stage video screens played small excerpt from the Lemmy movie followed by Labyrinth, in a tribute to the departed stars of music Lemmy Killmeister and David Bowie. In under two minutes this fitting nod instilled a sense in the gathered fans that something special was about to happen. They were to be proved right.
Opening with Rise the cheers continued through the band taking the stage and well beyond the first hammering riffs, spurred on by Dr. Hell grinning like a lunatic while greeting the fans. Evil Scarecrow have already graced some big stages during their career, but headlining Rock City main stage is the ultimate home town show for any local band. Try as they might the band had a hard time hiding their pride not only at being there, but by breaking their headline show records.
Three songs in the instruction to ‘partner up!’ came, and this could only mean one thing, the first piece of audience participation. With so many people in tonight it was no mean feat to create a heavy metal ballroom on the sticky dancefloor, but undeterred the people paired up. Through the opening bars of Dance of the Cyclops the band and fans began a waltz, the crowd twirling in a way no mainstage gig at Rock City ever has seen before.
One of the things that draw so many people to Evil Scarecrow is their onstage antics with which the audience are expected to join in. From the ‘perfect robot squares’ that were being drawn throughout Robototron to the battle charge (that was absolutely not a conga!) during War & Seek the atmosphere comes as much from the fans as the band. Tonight both fuelling each other in a way that makes this a night of pure entertainments as well as being a tight and perfectly executed live music performance. Dr Hell at one point during the night described the Scarecrow crew as ‘talentless hacks who hide behind all this nonsense on stage’ but this could not be further from the truth. Behind the onstage and offstage comedy antics are a top notch metal band nailing every riff and chord with sound as perfect as it can be for Rock City.
After what seemed to be a blur of heavy metal entertainment lasting just over an hour Dr Hell announced their last song, one they have not done live prior to this tour. Accompanied by some custom retro gaming images on the video screens, and some new ‘moves’ for the crowd, End Level Boss bacame an instant fan favourite. A single song that managed to embody what a Scarecrow gig is about, fast fun metal you can sing (and jump, and dodge and hit) along to!
The band left stage amidst shouts of ‘Crabulon! Crabulon’ which continued for the next few minutes until their highly anticipated return. Just two songs for the Encore, Frankenstein followed by the mighty Crabulon. This has to be the song which rocketed Evil Scarecrow into the limelight at Bloodstock and Download and the only way they could finish a headline show at their local venue. The entire venue scuttling in unison is a sight to behold, and once their set was over the feel-good atmosphere flowed out into the streets.
If you see one band live this year, make it Evil Scarecrow. Even from the last show I saw in September 2015 they have polished their performance more than I believed was possible, while still retaining the sheer entertainment that all their fans love. Just be sure to watch a couple of videos first…[flickrapi user=”planet mosh” get=”photoset” id=”72157664268615832″ size=”z” count=”100″]