Prong / October File / Nemhain
13 May 2012
The Garage, London
You have to give Adrian Erlandsson full marks for his commitment to Nemhain. Currently touring Europe with Paradise Lost, the Swedish drummer flew in and out of London for tonight’s show, which was sandwiched between Paradise Lost’s gigs in Bochum and Copenhagen. In fact he would be sorely missed had he been unable to take his seat behind the drum kit. Whilst the band’s punky-metal songs may be relatively straight forward, Erlandsson’s dynamic drumming fleshes things out and his energy behind the kit was unrivalled.
The band are fronted by Adrian’s wife Amber (aka Morrigan Hel), perhaps a familiar face to some here from her fetish modelling, TV work and on stage fire performances with other bands such as Motörhead. As a vocalist she channels the raucousness of Brody Dalle across the trashy Misfits tinged material.Comically she tagged the band as being, “All the way from Hackney on the 393 bus, which smells of piss as usual”.
With the band’s bassist and guitarists happily lurking in either wing, the husband and wife team lead from centre stage as we were treated to likes of the punky From The Ashes and Danzig inspired Seriously Ill. Wrapping things up with Speed Queen, the gathering of Nemhain fans in front of the stage were sent home happy as, presumable, three-quarters of the band trekked off for the 393 with one destined for the airport.
From The Ashes / Natural Born Sinners / Jane Doe / Clear My Eyes / Second Skin / Seriously Ill / Love For Death / Eye Of The Storm / Speed Queen
I’ve seen Prong with a wide selection of support acts in the past and none were possibly more suitable than October File. In fact the band were set to support Prong when we reviewed them back in 2008 [LINK], however, an ear infection of bassist Steve Beatty caused them to pull out.
Beatty certainly didn’t look ill tonight, bouncing up and down mouthing along the bands lyrics with a pained expression. In fact it’s the crowd that are more in danger of hearing problems tonight, with the soundman pushing October File’s wall of noise to the limits and in fact beyond, to the point that it somewhat blunted their attack, which was rather annoying.
At times it was difficult to pick out what the band was playing until Ben Hollyer’s vocal came in. The frontman sporting a Ghost shirt (Christ, they must have sold an awful lot of those now!), barked out the bands lyrics as if possessed by the spirit of Jaz Coleman. Whilst mainly drawing from 2010’s Our Souls To You album, October File present a couple of new songs with Heroes Are Welcome and the instantly addictive I F**ked The Day.
October File will be back supporting Fear Factory on the 7 June at the Underworld where hopefully the soundman will do them more justice.
October File setlist:
Crawl / Heroes Are Welcome / Eau du War / A Public Display Of Anger / I F**k The Day / Dredge / Isolation
With Prong having just put an excellent new album out it seemed odd timing to be going round the UK playing their 1990 Beg To Differ album in full. The last two times the band have played London they had packed out the Underworld, but tonight, whilst noting the Garage is slightly larger in capacity, there was plenty of space in the venue. Perhaps that could be down to this visit not being a one off date but a UK tour or maybe that it’s a Sunday, which are traditionally quieter nights at London shows.
I’d actually caught Prong three times on the original Beg To Differ tour, twice supporting Faith No More and once at their own headline show in Leeds. Back then the band consisted of the original line-up with a rhythm section of Mike Kirkland and Ted Parsons, whose eyes ominously stare down on us with mainman Tommy Victor’s from the Beg To Differ backdrop at the back of the stage.
That original line-up was incredibly tight and it needed to be to do the Beg To Differ material true justice. This is where, as a massive Prong fan, it pains me to say that tonight’s gig just didn’t work for me. To be fair to Prong they had lost their planned bassist due to visa issues and for the Beg To Differ play through, Crowbar guitarist Matt Brunson had been swiftly drafted in to handle the four strings. Whilst Brunson’s efforts were admirable the overall sound was slack around the edges and exposed next to the clinical precision of Tommy Victor’s guitar playing.
By coincidence the band current Prong drummer Alexei Rodriguez was ousted from, 3 Inches Of Blood, were playing in Camden tonight; perhaps another reason for the lower turnout. Whilst Rodriguez clearly was well rehearsed with the Beg To Differ material, he did not eclipse the memory of Ted Parsons sitting on that stool.
Tommy Victor himself, now with much longer jet black hair and porn star moustache, barely kept still when he could get away from his microphone, prowling the stage encouraging the crowd.It was a valiant effort which had the band been playing a regular set may have faired well, but the concentration on the Beg To Differ album exposed the make shift line-up’s weaknesses.
With barely a pause between songs, Beg To Differ was dispatched and Brunson departed the stage to be replaced by tonight’s second stand-in bassist Dave Pybus from Cradle Of Filth for a run through of a selection of Prong’s later material, though criminally ignoring 2007’s excellent return to form album Power Of The Damager. From the new album, video song Revenge… Best Served Cold was included but it seemed ironic that the Tommy Victor described Carved Into Stone as “The best Prong record yet”, given it wasn’t really promoted tonight. I do hope Prong return to promote that album and that this will be just a blip on an otherwise faultless Prong live experience for me.
For Dear Life / Steady Decline / Beg to Differ / Lost and Found / Your Fear / Take It in Hand / Intermenstrual, D.S.B. / Right to Nothing / Prime Cut / Just the Same / Third from the Sun / Another Worldly Device / Revenge...Best Served Cold / Rude Awakening / Who's Fist Is This Anyway? / Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck