Live Review from Underground 94:
1. Heart of Flame
2. Green Fairy
3. Dream Catcher
5. Cynthia Poison
It was just before these guys’ set that the versatile nature of the crowd that night became clear to me- each band had a fairly different-looking set of fans, moving up to the front as and when their preferred band came on. With their significantly more Noughties-rock look, Heart of Flame began with an immediate hearkening back to 70s arena rock, with plenty of keyboards and minimal lyrics, moving into a highly distorted guitar backing, reminiscent of ELP or Brian May. The solo for the song was taken from the intro to, paradoxically enough, Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd, but played as though by Tony Iommi – their roots were certainly showing. Green Fairy began much faster, with some absolutely blistering drumwork, and shades of Black Sabbath’s Crazy Train. Sadly, though, the guitars were a bit buried when playing rhythm, along with the violoncello (which answers the age-old question o f ‘Why soundcheck?’), but more than made up for by the drums. If the Germs (especially Don Bolles) had had John Doe as their singer, they would probably have sounded a lot like Nocturnal Rose.
It must be said that their varying influences seemed to be pulling their sound in sometimes conflicting directions, making the song’s progressions become a bit lost at times. The addition of a second guitar, or perhaps a more virtuosic style of bass may help to this end. However, playing more being the only way to get over this, they’re already on the road to remedy. Drummer Milk showed some staggering skills on the bass-drum, playing them 4 times a second with just one pedal (a la Chad Smith.) On Cynthia Poison, you could hear the Metallica/Misfits roots, with the song’s structuring being reminiscent of Cough/Cool. Some marvellously balanced axework combined with finessed keyboards provided a very good end to their set; a build-up of classic and arena rock on a bedrock of solid punk.