Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Electric Ballroom, London: 31/10/12

Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Electric Ballroom, London: 31/10/12

The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster



It appears the days when bands split up and stayed that way are few and far between –   name check  Brighton’s very own Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster who no more than fifteen months after deciding to sever ties, have returned to the fold! And it seems the unlikeliest of companies played a part in their regrouping when earlier this year, Nike used their song “Chicken” as part of an advertising campaign. You can imagine the royalties that would have raked in as well as the temptation to embark on a  few select shows a few months down the line. It’s  all happening at an auspicious time, as this year  marks a decade since the release of their debut “Horse Of The Dog”, and also sees the return of original lead guitarist Andy Huxley. Tonight they spookily continue their previous tradition of playing a show in London on Halloween.

Of course, many attendees at the Electric Ballroom are atrociously dressed in their bespoke outfits but no one comes close to that of Zulu‘s vocalist in terms of hideous disguise. It’s almost like The Mask has penetrated the confines of the venue, albeit with no discernible impact. Their bland three chord Misfits -influenced punk rock appears to leave zero impression on the majority of the crowd, not to mention their frontman’s corny and hilarious attempt to intimidate the crowd. If any outlets recommend these guys to you in the next six months, steer well clear.

VuvuVultures don’t fare much better. Their brand of electro- tinged garage rock in the style of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and LCD Soundsytem feels about nine years too late. It’s something that the Dalston and Shoreditch community may have been subjected to  but is best left there in quarantine. Interestingly, their vocalist looked like a gothed- up La Roux, which may have solved the mystery of her disappearance!

Coming on stage approximately fifteen minutes late, Eighties Matchbox are given their inevitable heroes’ welcome. Tonight’s set is very “Horse Of The Dog” heavy and excludes virtually everything from their last record. The band are all dressed up and ready to go (apologies for the pun!), particularly frontman Guy McKnight who looks a bit like Nick Cave escaping from the woods. During “Celebrate Your Mother”, he has the misfortune to be struck directly in the face by a beer can but manages to incorporate this nicely into his agitated stage act.

“Chicken” gathers the best reaction of the night, presumably due to the amount of new fans lured in via Nike. Guy also appears to enjoy his old routine of straying as far as possible from the stage as he engages with the audience. But, this comeback show sounds more At The Drive In than Refused. Still competent as musicians, the band sound a little rusty at times and the in-group chemistry appears somewhat lacking. “Rise Of The Eagles” nevertheless is a highlight of the night. A few songs later and they are finished, with only a quick “Thank You” and hastily, they are out of sight, leaving without an encore much to the dismay of the night’s gathering.

This was by no means a failure, but it seemed at times that the earlier punch and aggression had gone. The good news for fans is that the band will be continuing with their live shows and there is even the possibility of some new material on the horizon. The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster may just be here to stay (for now!).

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.