Mclusky and JarcrewEdit this event
To be painfully honest with you I wasn’t here to see *Mclusky *tonight, and I wasn’t here to see *The Fall *headline possibly the smallest venue of their 28-year career. Yes, the air is bristling with excitement at such a rare, intimate ho-down with the crazed mentalcase legend that is Mark E. Smith but to be honest, I’m more excited about tonight’s opening band.
You see, I’ve been drawn magnetically to see Jarcrew, to witness their _“hyperactive disco-kamikaze” _firsthand, their wild *Les Savy Fav *eccentricity and the utterly insane mannerisms of their wildman vocalist Kelson. And it’s fair to say I’m not the only one tending to his curiosity as the Barfly becomes bloated with, admittedly, fairly middle-aged gig-goers whose previously coifed barnets have felt the consequences of the umpteen tubs of Brylcreem that necessitated their early visits to The Fall in their '80s heyday.
One thing’s for sure, if they expected a cool chilled-out Monday evening slurring along to their disco-pop psychedelia, nothing could’ve prepared them for Jarcrew’s insane spazz-mic scream-a-thon. Fronted by an enigmatic loony-school dropout, *Jarcrew *embellish inventive swathes of melody and jagged hip-swinging rhythms, all orchestrated through a vicious heart-pumping energy that fuels said frontman, his body pulsating with every pithy staccato beat, jolting as if absorbing a few hundred watts of musical electricity and writhing round the stage trying to contain his hyperactivity.
Throwing himself into the crowd it’s plain to see that this guy is everything you could ever wish for from a rock star. Feeding off their last single ‘Paris & The New Math’, the few down the front singing along to its _“green light / satellite” _chorus are just not enough for Kelson as he launches himself into the crowd once more, thrusting the mic into the faces of bemused punters, swapping hats around, and (later on) trying to touch every single member of the crowd as if somehow injecting his energy into everyone. It’s all in vain of course, but anyone not swayed by such an off-the-wall performance in a climate awash with static shoegazers clearly deserve to be shot. OK, that’s a little harsh. Maybe just banned from rock venues.
*Mclusky *are a band I’ve always slid into the Biffy Clyro category of acts, where that elusive batch of infectious indie rock songs seem to be so within their grasp but somehow manage to slip between their fingers and they have to settle with slightly below-par songs instead. Not that that hampers their frantic live show, mind. While their bassist seems somewhat more restrained this evening they still manage to pack a considerable punch, even if I’m being slowly crushed against the back steps, and their ‘hit’ _‘To Hell With Good Intentions’ _– saved to last – couldn’t fail to have those aforementioned few screaming along, not to mention the few John Peel aficionados dotted about the crowd.
However, given these opening bands hectic live schedule and the fact tickets for tonight were sold out years ago, it’s quite probable who most were here to see.
My first exposure to Mark E. Smith was on Top of The Pops as the tall, wiry figure stumbling about the stage, quite clearly pissed as a fart, while guesting out of tune and spectacularly out of sync on the Inspiral Carpets’ *_‘I Want You’_. Next to *The Eels’ brilliant performance of ‘Novocaine For The Soul’, that sight left a permanent impression on my mind, so as the stick-figure thin frontman leaps onto the stage, it’s one that surfaces all too clearly as he slurs off his half-spoken, half-sung monologues, eyes half-open, mouth clearly gasping for another swig of special brew, the inimitable figure rousing incredible support and admiration for a style that just screams rock ‘n’ roll.
One of a select few vocalists whose out-of-tune ramblings somehow remain remarkably in-tune he rolls off superb ramblings like the father figure of The Murder City Devil’s Spencer Moody, emanating a woozy hedonistic aura that requires zero effort because this is no act; this is no performance in the strict sense of the term; this is Mark E. Smith being himself, a living breathing legend and tonight The Fall sound as invigorating and relevant as ever. Long may they live.
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