Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster - Newport, Six Feet Under - 3rd November 2010 Print E-mail
Written by Johnny H   
Thursday, 11 November 2010 05:00

EIIt's winter again then.... How do I know?  Nights drawing in? People starting to talk about Christmas when it's still months away?  Cold and shitty weather?  Well yeah all of those, but most importantly this time of year also normally heralds the return of the UK's finest purveyors of shockabilly The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster to our chock-a-block gig going calendars. 


This time around I caught up with the lads from Brighton as part of a twelve date jaunt in support of their excellent "Blood & Fire" album known simply as 'The Savage Boo Hoo Tour', and right from the start I'm thinking "Did someone forget to tell the population of Newport about this show?"


It's well known that having a local support on the bill will normally add a few numbers to the door, but when they are a support of the pedigree of "psycho-wave" pioneers Exit_International it should simply ensure the show is a sell out, so when Scott, Fudge and Adam took to the stage with less than thirty people watching them you have to start wondering if the Walking Dead is simply a TV show after all.  But never let it be said that small audiences hinder the progress of a great rock show as wave after wave of bass driven, fuzzed up pop beat the senses of those lucky to be in attendance to a pulp.  With tracks like 'The Chainsaw Song' Exit_International are certainly taking a more direct approach to their music and giving it a B52's twist of pop sensibility, which should see them stepping away from simply playing to "inbred cunts" (their term not mine) pretty soon. Whether their upcoming support tour with the awesome Monster Magnet will see them realise this dream waits to be seen.


JCQMain tour support The James Cleaver Quintet are confusing us even before they start playing, mainly because there are only four of them up on that stage. They do however have a secret member in the shape of a sampler, so perhaps that's the answer? Yet as soon as the quartet unleashed their feisty mix of pop and hardcore, the looks around me in the slowly filling venue indicated that we were fast moving from confusion into frustration territory, and that is not necessarily such a good thing for a band looking to make an immediate impression. 'Pinks and Blues' hinted towards the pop end of the bands repertoire and it stuck with me long enough for me to scribble it down as a highlight, the same going for 'Shame', it's just there is so much going on with this band its difficult to take it all in.  Future James Cleaver Quintet gig tickets should simply come with a sticker that says something like "WARNING !!!! Do some pre-listening before checking this band out live.  Possible headfuck may result with you not complying with this notice."


Six Feet Under had finally filled up by the time the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster were due on stage, and the puke in the gents urinal suggested that maybe one or two of the crowds more recent additions might have been partaking in a few pre-gig ales elsewhere in the city. Also elsewhere in the city (and not necessarily Newport) was Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster guitarist Tristan McLenahan who despite having his backline set up ready to play was nowhere to be seen as his (former?) band mates tore into a ferocious 'Monsieur Cutts' and a stuttering 'Mission From God' as if their lives depended on it.


80s_2With rumours starting to circulate during the night that things had not necessarily been that harmonious within the band camp, gothic messiah frontman Guy McKnight recognised the fact that his band were officially a four piece by posing the rhetorical question "Where's Tristan?" with a sense of faux surprise. But it was to the remaining band members credit that said guitarist wasn't really missed during their short but sweet twelve track song selection.  But with a set list that boasted such established classics as 'Whack of Shit and 'I Rejection' alongside newer tracks like 'Are You Living' and recent single 'So Long Goodnight' they were never likely to fail were they?


Ending with 'Fish Fingers' the seemingly compulsory stage invasion that this venue demands wasn't long in leaving a scene of total devastation, and Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, battered, bruised and just plain fucked, looked like a band that had run through the music industry's wall of death, maybe one time too many.  Some people will say experiences like this are "character building", some will say they are "career destroying", but with Guy McKnight apparently announcing at the following evenings show that the band were playing their last gig, it hardly sounds encouraging for the future. 


If it is true and Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster are no more, then my gig going calendar's going to have one hell of hole in it to be filled come next winter.