THE GOOD THE BAD – Live at The Macbeth Hoxton 18/08/2012

Hailing from Copenhagen, the three-piece surf rock trio THE GOOD THE BAD are about to unleash their third album “From 034 to 050”. Earning their stripes supporting the likes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, rubbing shoulders with Wayne Kramer (MC5) as well as a landmark appearance at SXSW – TGTB have garnered a loyal and enthusiastic fan base with their energetic and wonderfully constructed chaotic live shows. It is for these reasons we took ourselves out of the searing London sunshine and into a refreshingly dark room at Hoxton’s Macbeth last Saturday night.

It was a curious affair as far as gig settings go. First of all, the upstairs room was host to a certain “Mario’s 30th birthday party “- not to be confused with the mushroom stomping Italian plumber – this Mario had invited many of his friends to don hats and wigs for his themed bash, a celebration filled with glamorous types. Most of the guests that passed through the main room up the spiralling staircase seemed bewildered as to why there was a room full of moody Rockabilly, denim clad alternative types milling around beneath their shindig. To be honest, the only frustrations seemed to come from the fact the support band had pulled out and there was going to be a long wait for our raucous entertainers to hit the stage. Man, was it worth the wait…

Bursting onto the stage, Adam Olsson, Johan Lei Gellett and Manoj Ramdas powered through their opening tune with an unparalleled ferocity, harking back to the days when the music spoke before the image. Yet it is partly their image that sets up the sound brilliantly. TGTB are not your usual drummer at the back band, all three members share the same line. In fact Adam Olsson has been quoted as saying, “We don’t have a singer because we couldn’t find one that would stand behind the drummer. But we don’t need a vocalist anyway. The music speaks for itself.” It is this defiant affirmation that makes TGTB a force to be reckoned with musically. The band are ludicrously tight, it almost seems like telepathy as the cacophonous shrills of guitars blended with increasingly manic drum-beats to compose sublime riffs and instrumentals that hit you in the heart.

The band are not only musically brilliant, but also remarkably witty when breaking their flow to thank the crowd and share some anecdotes. Ramdas breaks a string and disappears for a few minutes; most bands without a roadie may buckle but Olsson gleefully retorts, “He breaks a string, he fix a string…good eh.” Before Ramdas happily screams at a camera happy fan “you should be doing this not taking pictures.” As soon as the string is on, TGTB are off again, taking the room with them into a unified stomp. Key tracks ‘The Lion’ and ‘030’ were outstanding, especially when breaking the music at one point to silence the crowd with a fingers on lips motion and uttering soft hushes which had the room eerily soundless, that was until on of Mario’s lot had stumbled down stairs and yelled, “Jesus loves you.” To which Ramdas scowled, “But Jesus doesn’t love you.” Instantly the TGTB then seemed to summon musical demons into that had the crowd enraptured in a trance like state. TGTB are a definitely a band worth checking out, as in a  live setting their are few who can get close to  this sort of musical mayhem andmastery.

From 034 to 050 is out on 8th October 2012 via Stray Cat Records.

By David Cross Kane

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