@ The Islington, London
29th December 2014
Review by Jarod Lawley
Kicking off what I hope will soon become a tradition, SteamPUNK crew The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing decided to grant us all the gift of a free Christmas show, held on the Monday after Christmas in a small pub in London’s Islington.
As I entered the small room the smell of patchouli was immediately recognizable, but what was less usual to me was the sight of over the half the crowd dressed in Victorian attire, with top hats, fancy dresses and golden pocket watches to be seen all around
Opening up the evening after the crowd took advantage of the 4pm bar opening, Seal of Rassilon (3.5/5) entertained the audience without some in attendance not even noticing there was an act on. A band who only have two “likes” on Facebook, their presence is literally unknown, but both Andrew O’Neill and Heintz from the headlining band offered four “songs” under the guise of this project. With eerie samples, improvised guitar pieces and spoken word, the noisy duo certainly intrigued all witnesses, despite the fact they were not the most fitting band for the event.
Recognizing Marc Burrows (3.5/5) as the man who marked a Tipex “X” on my hand a the door, it was great to see the headliner’s bass player take to the stage himself armed just with his black telecaster guitar and characteristic tenor voice as he plowed through his own comedic Christmas songs and also a crowd pleasing cover of 90s Britpop classic, “Common People”. Although far from a display of virtuoso musicianship, it certainly made the audience laugh and proudly sing-along as more and more crammed into the tiny pub and the venue’s 70-ish capacity filled most likely far beyond that.
Taking shortly to the stage next was stand-up Andrew O’Neill (4/5); the self proclaimed occult comedian and “pharmacist baffler”. Offering some new material in his short and sweet set, it was a perfect addition to the evening of varied entertainment, as he also delivered a confident A Capella version of “Jingle Bells” (with the rest of the audience joining in) before pointing to a nervously stood crowd member and requesting bluntly, “just him.”
As the only female on the bill that night, the black and white haired Laurie Black (4/5) delivered another small set of tunes, entertainingly and engagingly sang to an interested audience with a soft voice and impressive talent. Her nimble finger tips tinkled the electronic ivories with style and professionalism, and with plenty of darkened Christmas spirit and comedy to be found both lyrically and between-song chat.
With most in attendance rather merry, (*cough* drunk) it was time for The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing (4/5) to finally take to the stage. Having started in 2008, the band set out with mission of making Steampunk about punk, not dull electronic music!
As they charged through a monster set, the band’s wicked combination of Andrew O’Neill’s six string crunching and Gerhard Heintz’s sore, cut throat vocals proved a winner, reflected in the audience by cockney dances and mosh-pits, pushing the walls of the tiny pub further out onto the rough streets.
Songs such as “Charlie” reflected the jovial mood of the band-” Charlie, no you can’t make a monkey out of me, this isn’t the planet of the apes- it’s the nineteeth century!” While recent seven inch track “The Gin Song” offered a more eerie mood as it transcended the spirit of now derelict Victorian Gin Houses. TMTWNBBFN must certainly be commended for making that week between Christmas Day and New Years Eve a whole less boring, and a whole lot better, see you again next December please!
Doing It for the Whigs
House is not Haunted
Mutiny in the Common Soldiery
Not Your Typical Victorian
The Gin Song
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Jesus Was a Cockney