Everyone loves an Evil Scarecrow. And if you do not already deeply respect this legendary group of miscreant evil-doers and over-dramatic ne’er-do-wells, well, now is the time to show some big love for ‘Nottingham’s finest Parody Metal Band’. Because last Saturday on the 13th April the crazy bunch of misfits created, hosted and headlined an amazing Charity Metal All-Dayer – ‘Damaged Stock 2013’ – in the superlative Nottingham Rock City venue – all in aid of Epilepsy Action.
The Evil One’s were seen lugging, heaving and tugging back stage (well, mostly they were tugging) for the major part of the day. That’s because they were doing all the stage management for the assembled bands at the one-day festival. Later in the evening, they slapped on their makeup, and came to the stage – for an amazingly over-the-top finale that was a furious fug of pure metal vapours.
But the day started early and loud, with local steely metal heroes: Nottingham’s ‘Line of Fire’ who played their manfully heavy set replete with a heartfelt and powerful intensity.
Next up was the mighty ‘Dreed’ who announced that they were playing their last concert together. They have decided to part ways (on good terms) and focus on other aspirations. It’s been a super sweet and amazing three year ride – (with Maidallica as well) and we all wish the lads good fortune for the future. You can follow singer Shaun and drummer Cameron as they dip their tippy toes into other projects.
‘Cruel Humanity’ came next with their distinctive breed of darkened metal debauchery, thrashing and shreddy – but laced with plenty of gothic doom-mongering and memorial spit and spill. This band played an amazingly sharp set, dripping with fetid morbidity and succulent fertility. They finished with the boiling foam of ‘Flight of the Night Daemon’.
After a short turnaround phase (thanks to the Evil shifters – who were doing such an awesome job – ) we then enjoyed the amazing Worcester-based mega-hitters ‘Fury’ who put on a unique and particularly solid show of pant-wettingly good NWOBHM style metal – mixed with the kind of hybridized thrash you thought might have turned extinct after the age of ‘Master of Puppets’. This band will keep you up all night. The twin-lead guitar attacks from Julian (vocals and guitar) and the ‘Highlander’ Jake (lead guitar) were shameless and dynamic. And the band also boasted some all consuming performances from one of the best bass players we have witnessed in a long time – Mart Trail.
One of our favourite live bands came next. The extraordinary shenanigans from RSJ have to be seen to be believed. This band is as crucial as the tears that you bleed and the warm beer that you dare drink. Their live act is, without doubt, a tour de force.
Demonstrating a mastery of the live stage, they have now also released a commanding nine-track mini album, entitled ‘HIGGS BOSON’ and an incredibly ridiculous and totally unmissable video ‘Collectively We Are Tall’. They played a set at Rock City that was so forcibly effective, so engrossingly busy, so hypnotically hyperbolic and so harmfully maleficent that it should carry a stern government health warning: Probably something like “RSJ may dangerously increase your blood and adrenalin flow and can cause severe sperm motility.”
Led by the ungainly and lanky ‘giant hobbit’ Dan Cook and the morbidly hirsute guitar-man ‘Guff’ Thomas, the other members of RSJ seem almost gentlemanly in comparison. But, together, they played a powerful and devilish mix of chronically painful sounds that kept us hopping from one foot to another, and questioning our own prudence. Watching RSJ perform is like having a shovel full of fire ants thrust down your Y-fronts. Irritating, pungent and as white-hot as angry hell. God, they are good.
After RSJ, the uniquely monstrous local band ‘A Thousand Enemies’ came to the stage. Their imposing lead singer BANE was suffering from a huge dose of man-flu, but that didn’t stop him giving every ounce of mettle and untempered rage – as the band increased the temperature in the room from white hot to magma setting. Their songs were a formidable mix of passion and zeal. Chemically mixed with fire and iron. It was a sensational brew.
Most folks already have a yearning for the Birmingham hard rock giants ‘Voodoo Johnson’ and the boys certainly didn’t disappoint at Rock City. Not as chaotically wild as the previous acts, their set was tempered and controlled. But their solid performance still left a lump in the throat, dampness in the crotch area, and goose bumps all over the body. It was a phenomenal show of depth, precision and intensity.
After the charity raffle, Evil Scarecrow finally came to the stage to do their thing. To riotous applause. This is what we had all been waiting for. As usual, their performance was marvellous. Sometimes magnificent, sometimes even astonishing. But always surreal. Their new song/dance is ‘Crabulon’ (“Our new silly bit of nonsense”) and it was ridiculous fun.
As all the crowd shouted along to the “Crabulon” lyric and raised their arms to do ‘pincer’ movements (“Now my friends, let’s see some pincers in the air”), a giant crab / robot came out of the wings to direct proceedings. And, of course, we all had to partake in the compulsory dance – which was a crazy lateral skuttling (“In the direction indicated”.)
One of the best things about this peerless metal cabaret act is that they are so sincere. They really play it. They really act it. They really enjoy it. They are totally durable, and they are absolutely infectious. It‘s all too complex for the human mind.
The day was a huge success. A huge joy. Much respect goes out to Evil Scarecrow and especially to Jennifer Hill for masterminding and organising such a spectacularly triumphant celebration of heavy metal- in all its forms and manifestations. All the proceeds went to Epilepsy Action and all the bands performed for free. And many thanks must also go to the staff at ROCK CITY who made us feel so welcome, and to the owners for hosting such a memorable event.
There ain’t no party like an Evil Scarecrow Party!
© Neil Mach March 2013
Every penny raised went to Epilepsy Action: http://www.facebook.com/epilepsyaction