9 February 2010
Islington Academy, London
Back at the Islington Academy for the second night running, tonight we were joining Backyard Babies 20th Anniversary celebrations. The band’s giant skull and crossbones logo stared down on the heaving crowd as finally the house lights went down and red rope lighting tracing the edges of the amps and bass drum was switched on.
It was immediately apparent that the Backyard Babies were not only going to celebrate their history but also visit some of their more rare tracks. Backstabber, from their 1997 EP Knockouts, seemed to take the crowd by surprise with a few confused looks. However, with a cry of “London!” from lead guitarist Dregen, the Swedes launched into Total 13’s opening track, Made Me A Madman and it suddenly felt like the crowd were on familiar territory. Living up to the songs title, frontman Nicke Borg raced around the stage, jumping onto the monitors, as white flashing strip lights blazed away.
Still without a pause, it was back the rarities with Devil-May Care, the b-side of A Song For The Outcast. Dregen was in full belligerent punk persona, spitting into the photopit, apparently well aimed enough to hit Johan!
“Did you all come for the party?” asked Borg before honestly conceding, “I’m going to cut the bullsh*t, this means the f**king world to us.” Dysfunctional Professional had the crowd in full voice, before Borg informed us that whilst the band had four members, there was just one gambler. Should there be a casino nearby Borg would have to drag Dragen out of there later. I Got Spades of course followed, before the first visit to the band most recent self titled album with Drool.
Back to the Knockouts EP for an epic Wireless Mind which really saw the band stretching out. Pig tailed drummer Peder Carlsson pulled pained expressions as he battered his minimal drum kit. Sharing the stage with Borg and Dregen doesn’t leave much room for another ego and Johan Blomqvist seemed content with sticking to his job of playing the bass rather than throwing rock star shapes
Thanks were given to each of tonight’s support bands with a riff of AC/DC and Gun’n’Roses played for each. The cheer for the familiar Sweet Child O Mine refrain had Borg quip, “Some of you weren’t even born when Guns’n’Roses came out”. As a prelude to the next song he noted, “But we were more influenced by another L.A. band” before a cover of Faster Pussycat’s Babylon followed.
Red hazard beacons flashed on top of the amps during a great rendition of Highlights. Abandon provided the only tender moment of the set with its acoustic introduction, but the crowd weren’t left to rest long as Degenerated got them jumping. Conceding that Fill Up This Bad Machine was written in Germany, Borg proclaimed “But I decide, so today it’s about people in London.”
Ghetto You took us back to the Total 13 album, then it was further back to Diesel & Power’s single Electric Suzy, with Borg laughing, “You won’t hear that song for another 20 years.”
Bombed (Out of My Mind) and Nomadic wrapped up the main set with the babies taking a brief break from the stage. Returning, Borg gushed, “We’ve played thousands of gig and we love you London.” The reward was the crowd pleasing Minus Celsius.
The encore was rounded out with Look At You, People Like People Like People Like Us and Robber Of Life putting the seal on a great evening’s celebration in the Backyard Babies honour.
Backyard Babies set list:
Backstabber / Made Me Madman / Devil-May-Care / Dysfunctional Professional / I Got Spades / Drool / Wireless Mind / Babylon / Highlights / Brand New Hate / Too Tough To Make Some Friends / Abandon / Degenerated / Fill Up This Bad Machine / Ghetto You / Electric Suzy / Bombed (Out of My Mind) / Nomadic / Minus Celsius / Look At You / People Like People Like People Like Us / Robber Of Life