The Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster - Nottingham Rescue Rooms Live Review 2010
As arguably the most unpredictably raw and preposterously intense live band of the past decade, one would expect Brighton five-piece The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster to have calmed down by now. While many of their peers from back in the day have long since fallen by the wayside, Guy McKnight and co. appear to have embraced maturity with a snarl and a casual shrug of the shoulders if tonight's larger than life performance is anything to go by.
While several in-band casualties have departed along the way - only three original members remain in vocalist McKnight and the rhythm section of Sym Gharial and Tom Diamantopoulo, their on-stage personas coupled with a musical dynamic many lesser artists would murder their grandmothers for simply sets them apart from the majority of the competition, both past and present.
Indeed, while 2002's excellent debut 'Horse Of The Dog' still stands the test of time, this year's 'Blood And Fire' undoubtedly heralded a return to form after the patchy second album that was 'The Royal Society', culminating in a five-year long recording hiatus thereafter. It's perhaps no surprise then that the majority of tonight's set is culled from the aforementioned albums one and three respectively.
Having no doubt been buoyed by the reception the band received at this year's summer festivals, Guy McKnight makes his intentions known from the off, a raging 'Team Meat' culminating in the singer taking a menacing leap off the stage into the lively moshpit circle that's taken up a good third of the venue at the front.
For a band who've been around as long as TEMBLD have, its testament to their raucous live show that they still possess such a devoted army of followers, demonstrated ably by word-for-word renditions of album tracks and b-sides from the floor throughout tonight's set. Looking more like Russell Brand's older and more debauched half-brother, McKnight is still one of the most engaging frontmen around, while his hyperactive band manage to combine a relentless energy St Vitus would be proud of with a taut musicianship where precision to detail is key, a facet that tends to go unnoticed due to everything else going on around them.
'Celebrate Your Mother' and 'Psychosis Safari' bring back memories of tours gone by when TEMBLD would share headline status with the likes of The Beatings and The Parkinsons, while newer material like 'Monsieur Cutts' and 'Mission From God' owes more to Queens Of The Stone Age than any Birthday Party or Cramps comparisons, which accompanied the band from yore.
As has typified their live shows right from the off, tonight ends in a shambolic mess of cacophonic proportions. Guitarists Dominic Knight and Tristan McLenahan both end up in the off stage melee, Knight laying flat out on his back at the end motionless like a wounded soldier, his six stringed weapon of choice alongside him for company. Needless to say there was no encore, not that we'd expect such a spectacle to end any other way. Priceless.