Thrash Hits

October 5th, 2009

Live: Flood of Red @ Upstairs at The Garage – 29 September 2009

Young Scots, Flood of Red, play an earnest, honest, and very British kind of post-hardcore. Why on Earth did we send that moody bastard Hugh Platt to review the opening night of their UK tour?

flood of red promo photo band 2009 thrash hits supervision

Okay, this is a kinda embarrassing. Deadbeat dead-end New Zealand garage rockers, The Datsuns, are playing in the venue next door to a full-house – there’s almost as many people in the smoking area for the Datsuns’ venue as there are at Flood of Red’s entire gig.

Okay, Flood of Red are a long way from home. Okay, we’re in the big bad all-audiences-there-are-rubbish metropolitan shitpit that is London. And okay, they haven’t even properly released their debut album yet. It’d be wrong to roll our eyes just because on a grey Tuesday night they haven’t pulled a capacity crowd.

But there is something to be said about a band feeding off a crowd to fuel their live performances – and by anyone’s standard’s Flood of Red’s performance to their sparse audience tonight was weak. Something in the way the six men go at their instruments never quite convinces us that they truly believe they can conquer the world. Sure, they give a shit about what they do – the sweat they work up during ‘Oh Yes There Will Be Blood is testament to the graft they put in – but at no point do we feel the heat, the fight, the sheer we’re-gonna-fucking-well-take-this-place-apart need in them. The guys in Flood of Red are in a band because being in a band seemed like the right idea at the time – they’re not in a band because they physically couldn’t not be.

At least Jordan Speirs sings in his real accent. The mindless apeing of American accents by seemingly every other post hardcore act the UK has got to be one of the most pointless and infuriating trends of the last five years. The jagged riffs and layered guitar harmonies of ‘Paper Lungs’ and ‘Like Elephants’ prove these boys have got a good idea or two and the tools needed to make something interesting out of them – just not enough for a full live set, admittedly.

Watch the video to ‘Home, Run (1997)’ by Flood of Red

The gig climaxes with ‘Little Lovers’, and in a manuever that’s been used by everyone from Soulfly to Gallows, almost every member of Flood of Red snags a spare drum in order to join in a a unified military beat. It feels like a faximile of someone else’s already past-it’s-sell-by-date idea. Like so much else about tonight, Flood of Red seem to have arrived just a touch too late. Perhaps this is an indication that the curve is bottoming out, that we’ve reached the fulcrum point where the UK has reached saturation point with this kind of music and simply can’t take anymore. Flood of Red aren’t an actively bad band – they’re just unfortunate to be tail end trenders.

The final indignity however, is saved for the band’s exit – the only way performers can reach the dressing rooms Upstairs at The Garage is to leave via the door to the toilets. As the six Scots walk out under a giant neon sign pointing the way to the commodes, it seems even the venue itself want to take a pop at the band.

Flood of Red Red @ Upstairs at The Garage setlist:
Home, Run (1997)
Paper Lungs
An Hour Away
Like Elephants
Oh Yes There Will Be Blood
I Will Not Change
Don’t Sleep, Swim
Little Lovers

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The chaps in Flood of Red want you to hear their debut album so much, that up until October 19 they’re selling it for the paltry sum of $1 – yes, one measly yankee dollar. If that’s grabbed your attention, direct your browser in the direction of www.floodofred.co.uk for instructions of how to get hold of a copy.


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