|Backyard Babies/Tracy Gang Pussy/New Device – London, Islington O2 Academy - 9th February 2010.|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Tuesday, 16 February 2010 11:00|
Tonight's gig line up reads like a meeting of the European Union of Sleaze Rock, and listening to the vastly differing accents around me, the crowd wouldn't have been far behind in adding their names to the growing delegate list of member countries in attendance. One thing is for sure though and that's the announcement that the 'Them XX' tour by Backyard Babies would not only be a celebration of their first twenty years as a band, but also mark the start of an indefinite hiatus for them, has certainly got their fan base rabid for a piece of their action once more. This was never more evident than on the stairs on the way into the venue where the amount of merch money changing hands at the band's usual travelling supermarket of delights was simply staggering to watch.
Once inside the venue, UK rockers New Device led by the helium voiced Daniel Leigh got things off and running. Having to suffer an initial low stage light certainly didn't deter the five piece from tearing open the early assembled crowd with their caustic blend of new school metal meets old school arena rawk that really shouldn't work, but by fuck it does. Looking like they could fill a stage twice the size of the Academy the band brimmed with confidence, playing a selection of key tracks from their Powerage Records released debut that all came to a climax with the anthemic 'Takin' Over'.
Main tour support French Rockers Tracy Gang Pussy were up next, and not content with having the worst band name I've heard in ages, they proceeded to deliver forty minutes of the most bland pop punk I've heard in about the same time frame. That's not to say the guys didn't know their way around a stage, or in fact have the odd half decent tune it's just that tracks like 'Remain' from their album 'Number 4' could have been written by a million and one other bands, only much better. Sorry guys.
And so to the reason that the Islington O2 Academy is rammed to bursting point tonight, the sole UK date on their 'Them XX' tour, everyone's favourite Swedish thrill seekers Backyard Babies. Rumours may had been abounding within the waiting throng that this might in fact be the band's last ever UK show, but all of that was immediately forgotten the minute the band burst into a frantic 'Backstabber', and the whole downstairs dutifully joined in with the chaos of the moment. You know this is going to be a special night when Nicke and the guys follow this long lost gem with 'Made Me Madman', 'Devil May Care' and 'Dysfunctional Professional' all in quick succession, and the front ten rows stage front are all reduced to gibbering heaps caught up in a mosh pit that would rival those seen following around most deathcore bands.
Taking the mic for a run through of 'Drool', Dregen's voice initially showed the wear and tear that had prevented him from attending an interview with Uber Rock that very afternoon. But his tireless stage dynamism was never ever in question as his pouted, strutted and duck walked his way through 'Wireless Mind' and into a cover of Faster Pussycat's 'Babylon' that saw those within the pit start to loose clothing at a rate of knots...It certainly was party time in London N1 that's for sure.
As the beer was flowing out front, it was with some admiration that I spotted a freshly inked "Drug Free" tattoo scribed onto the back of Mr Borg's neck, so that's why its alright to smile again is it fella?
By the time newer tracks 'Abandon' and 'Degenerated' raised their heads towards the back end of tonight's set, they had a much more comfortable feel to them this time around, a bit like your favourite pair of well worn Cons, and when coupled with 'Electric Suzy', 'Ghetto You' and 'Bombed (Out Of My Mind)', the show closing (and by no means my favourite song) 'Nomadic' sounds world class.
Encore time and the smiles onstage had spread to the audience in time for the iconic guitar intro to 'Minus Celsius', bringing forth some further highly charged pit action, then quick as a flash 'Look At You' was unfurled in all its frenzied glory and it was impossible to stop the ball of energy that is Dregen crowd surfing his way to the middle of the venue. After a lightning run through 'People Like People Like People Like Us' it was all but over, save for the perfect three minutes that makes up my all time favourite Backyard Babies track 'Robber Of Life'.
With the final notes being wrung out of their guitars, I couldn't help but think of the earlier rumours, and that if this really was the last time I'd ever see the Backyard Babies live then it had been the perfect text book ending to a long and glorious relationship.
God bless you Backyard Babies, it's been a fantastic twenty years....here's to the next twenty?