Friday, 4 December 2009

720 REDD KROSS, Neon, London Camden Underworld, Monday 22 January 2007

Getting the 2007 gig trail underway with the return of an old favourite; Redd Kross, who’d last darkened these shores back in 1997 in tandem with the Foo Fighters! I was up for this but Rachel wasn’t, so Tim and I hit the road at ½ past 5, parking up just round the corner from the venue at 8.

Not been to the Underworld for awhile, but it hadn’t changed, still the same scuzzy rickety old dump! Got a good eyeline (difficult at this place) at the top of the steps down onto the dance floor, stage left, and pretty much stayed there throughout!

First band Neon were fashionably late. A 3-piece featuring a blonde bass player and a Mike Gent lookalike vocalist, they played some pretty varied and good powerpoppy rock with some strong choruses and hooks. Quite impressive really, shame the vocalist couldn’t quite hit the high notes with his limited range!

Ran into our London friends before nipping back to position for Redd Kross’ arrival at 9.30. Time hadn’t changed the MacDonald brothers much – Jeff, the vocalist, and bassist Steve were still long of hair and chiselled of cheekbone. This original line-up however featured another MacDonald brother on drums, and a total freakazoid, mincing and stick-thin, who insisted on playing lead guitar very high – strapped practically under his chin!

Nevertheless, appearances can be deceptive as the band were in full flow from the off, with my fave "Lady In The Front Row". This slice of powerpop heaven, all majestic melody and harmony, was however the worst opener possible, as nothing came even close to it for the rest of the set! Da Kross delved deep and dragged some old old oldies from their early albums, all embryonic pre-grunge and post-punk noise, before returning to the glorious anthemic pop with the excellent "Jimmy’s Fantasy". When they drew from 1992’s "Phaseshifter" and 1997’s "Show World" CDs they were at their best tonight. These showcased the West Coast Summery powerpop/ powerful post-grunge/ shimmering pseudo-psychedelia mix that is the real Redd Kross sound, and the sublime "Mess Around", the strident, dynamic "Girl God", the sinewy "Small Wonder" and stomping set closer "Crazy World" were all superb. However, as a band is wont to do in front of a devoted audience, they over-indulged themselves too much for my liking, and allowed the aforementioned irritating guitarist far too much rope – did we really need the screeching falsetto cover of "You Spin Me Round"?

However for all its faults, this was a very entertaining slight return from Da Kross, obviously enjoying themselves in front of a full and adulent crowd, a point we all agreed on afterwards before we hit the road, hitting home at 12.30. Just don’t leave it another 10 years before you come back again, boys!

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