21 March 2015
Review by Rowena Lamb
Photography by Michelle Murphy
There are many good ways to spend a Saturday night and when offered the opportunity to go see Tragedy play I thought that that had to be one of them.
Heading down to the O2 in North Greenwich, London we arrived at The Brooklyn Bowl which is not exactly where you would expect to be heading for a gig.
Walking in this impression is magnified and I have to say its a bizarre experience. It has a red brick, underground club atmosphere to it and walking into the main room you see a long bar over to the left, a good sized enclosed floor space with tables and chairs taking up the back half, and then a long line of bowling lanes to your right. It’s a great venue there’s not doubt about that but bowling and bands was a new one on me.
Having said that they have definitely hit the nail on the head as when the first band State Villains starts to play you could really see how this worked. It was still bizarre to be standing there watching a hard rock band when there’s about 10 lanes of bowling going on behind you, as well as what looked like birthday parties and a hen party, but it also creates a very unique experience and one I would be more than happy to repeat.
Another thing that’s really good about this venue is that they film the stage and project it around the venue; on tv screens in front of the bowling pins and on the walls that are out of sight of the stage so that everyone can watch whatever you’re doing. It’s extremely well set up and already I’d made my mind up to come back soon. That was even before Tragedy took to the stage.
Following State Villains’ set the DJ took up the mantel and on came the party lights and around went the large glitter ball to start a bit of dancing to some classic rock. The party atmosphere was starting to come into play now and I was getting more curios of Tragedy and what they were about to bring to the evening. Having never seen them before but heard very good reports, I had high hopes for a great evening to come.
I can say straight away that those high hopes were met and more then exceeded. I honestly cannot remember when I had have had such a good Saturday night. The only bad part is that not every Saturday can be like that.
The way they have adapted the songs is superb and there’s no denying their stage outfits and presence are entertaining, but there are also many other elements to their show. They’re constantly in character making it a combination of a gig and a comedy theatre show.
It is actually a bit hard to know what to write to describe this show as it was all one big bloody amazing night. There was a wonderful mix of people and ages in the audience and all singing or dancing along to the songs. I love a lot of different types of music and these songs are definitely some of them and, given the original bands who played them, I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to watch them being payed live (albeit not by the original band).
Yes they have been adapted to their own style but they’re still easily recognisable and actually the adaption makes them even better in some ways. Take ‘You’re The One That I Want’ (now who doesn’t love Grease) their version begins all deep and slow with the vocals for the verse and then speeds up at an insane rate for the chorus as if trying to get through that section as quickly as possible. You recognise the songs but you also have no idea what they’re going to do to them next and so constantly expectant.
‘Disco Inferno’ was a cracking new version early on in the set and, to our photographer’s shame, I was very happy to hear the inclusion of ‘Sweet Caroline’, though I have never heard it quite like this. I’m pretty sure Neil Diamond never screamed the words ‘so good, so good, so good’ when he sang, but after that version I know that’s the only way I’ll hear it.
It’s those little elements and additions to the original songs that keep raising the energy and get the audience to sing or shout along. (Again I apologise to our wonderful photographer Michelle for slightly damaging her hearing with my overzealous singing…shouting….possibly caterwauling).
As I mentioned earlier they’re always in character and if you have ever seen them before you’d know that one of those characters is Lance. Poor Lance, he does get pushed around. If you’ve seen them before you’ll know that Lance doesn’t play an instrument but has the character of band well, toy. He’s on call to fan the band with towels when they get too hot, or dry their armpits one after the other, berated for being a fucking idiot and pushed off stage at the start of the set.
Don’t worry it’s all in humour and you could spend a lot of your time just watching him whether it’s throwing gold glitter over the crowd during songs, miming guitar riffs in the break on a tiny pink toy guitar or lounging against the side of the stage eating a banana before feeding another member of the band. Yes it’s silly but it’s also brilliant and had many people in stitches.
As did the random imitation of oral sex on a guitar and then a mating of two guitars. Yes you read that right.
I’ve said this before but it was just an absolutely top night of pure entertainment, fun and silliness. When waking up that morning I had no idea that I would be pairing up with mates for a three person air guitar line up to ‘How Deep Is Your Love’. But if every Saturday night had that ahead of me I would definitely get up ready to start the day a lot easier.
If you haven’t seen Tragedy live I strongly urge you to do so because it is by far the best party and as far as I’m concerned I would do that night over again for any New Year Eve, birthday, wedding, whatever the celebration or event because I know I would not be disappointed. They’re just too damn entertaining for you to have anything other than a fantastic evening.
Come back to the UK and soon!
- We are Tragedy (Family)
- Disco Inferno
- Saturday Night Fever
- Gimme Gimme Gimme
- Sweet Caroline
- It’s Raining Men
- You’re The One That I Want
- KC/DC & The Sunshine Band
- You Should Be Dancing
- How Deep Is Your Love
- Staying Alive
- Crazy Train In The Wind