8 June 2009
Camden Underworld, London

London was spoiled to have Prong return to our city, having only last been here in January 2008. Since then, Prong have put out a remix album of their last disc Power Of The Damager, neatly entitled Power Of The Damn Mixxxer. Whilst it’s an enjoyable listen, tonight is distilled to the three piece Prong in all their raw glory. At that last gig I had commented that I had wondered how they were going to fit 19 songs into the set. Well tonight 17 of those same songs were crammed in, with an additional 5 on top!

There was no fanfare heralding Prong’s arrival on stage. A simple chug of Tommy Victor’s guitar emitting its distinctive tone notifies the crowd to move forward as Bad Fall kicked things off. The simplicity of Prong’s set up must be a joy to the Underworld sound crew compared to various extensive line-ups they are often faced with. However it has to be said that tonight the sound was spot on with a mere chug from Victor’s guitar drawing schoolboy grins.

It is no wonder the likes of Glenn Danzig and Al Jourgensen have sought to tempt Victor into their own bands. Rude Awakening was perfect demonstration of how Victor’s style is able to fill out the sound that you would expect would require two guitars. His rhythm work is exemplary as highlighted during an incredibly tight Third Option. This would be somewhat pointless without good songs, but Prong have them in abundance and Victor continues to pen them. Latest album Power of The Damager stands up easily to the band’s back catalogue. The bouncing around to The Banishment showed that this crowd would be inclined to agree, even if some here hadn’t purchased a Prong album in a good few years.

The Banishment was actually the point were this gig moved up a level. Having warmed up the crowd, Broken Peace kept heads bobbing and it was only at the conclusion of this, the seventh song of the set, that Victor finally took a break to speak to the crowd. There’s no hanging around when you have a 22 song set though and after a brief “It’s great to be back”, Prong cheekily bust out the opening riff of Ministry’s N.W.O., before ploughing into For Dear Life. Thus followed a trip back to the Beg To Differ album with Lost & Found and the title track also played. Last week we had seen Forbidden for the first time in 19 years and it was at this point I realised it was the same year I first saw Prong on the Beg To Differ tour. My compact camera photos from that gig are actually online at this location: 24 September 1990, Dutchess Of York, Leeds, UK

One thing that was different to January last year was a change in bass player. Mike Longworth was in for Monte Pittman. Longworth’s no stranger to Prong having played bass in the four piece line up when Pittman was on second guitar. Whilst more subdued than his hairier predecessor, Longworth’s playing was solid and he even traded lead vocals with Victor during Prove You Wrong. I’d mentioned in my last review that Aaron Rossi had big shoes to fill following Ted Parsons and he continues to more than meet expectations. Like Victor, Rossi was poached by Al Jourgensen for the C*U*La*Tour.

Each of Prong’s albums was touched upon at least once with the exception of 2003’s Scorpio Rising which Victor described as “a disaster” in a recent interview. The inclusions from the band’s first two albums Primitive Origins and Force Fed please the very long term fans but of course it’s the one-two of Whose Fist Is This Anyway? in to Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck that really raise the crowd response. Departing after a marathon 21 songs with Power Of The Damager, the band return quickly with one friend commenting that was it possible they had anything left to play! Dark Signs from the Rude Awakening was song 22, leaving a very satisfied Camden Underworld.

Next stop for Prong after this Euro jaunt is a trip back to Al Jourgensen’s studio with Al in the chair for the next recording. We await early 2010 with relish!

Prong set list:
Bad Fall / Rude Awakening / Looking For Them / Another Worldly Device / Third Option / The Banishment / Broken Peace / For Dear Life / Lost & Found / Beg To Differ / Irrelevant Thoughts / Cut-Rate / Worst Of It / Third From The Sun / Unconditional / Freezer Burn / Disbelief / Prove You Wrong / Whose Fist Is This Anyway / Snap Your Fingers Snap Your Neck / Power Of The Damager / Dark Signs