Do bands get the crowds they deserve? We hope not, because Radkey had an absolute shitshower watching them when they played the “prestigious” 100 Club here in London. The usually mild-mannered Tomas Doyle silently seethed and endured it for the sake of some good old fashioned punk rock.
6 things we learnt watching Radkey in London:
1) Let’s get this straight from the start: The 100 Club sucks as a venue to watch rock music in. For all its heritage, super-central location, and pictures of Metallica on the wall, the combination of an over-wide stage and a seemingly endless number of view-obscuring pillars make it a less than ideal setting for tonight’s show. They do flog their own range of shoes with their logo on though, so have that, Camden Underworld.
2) Also less than ideal tonight are the crowd, who appear to be comprised on the one hand of post-work suits, fresh from a day slaving over a hot Excel spreadsheet, with the rest being the sort of indie kids that make you want to scoop your eyeballs out with a spoon just for something to do. The type of pixie-shoed wannabes who still go to Proud Gallery on a Friday night but think they’re Andy Warhol. The sort to stare you straight in the face, while sipping on a bottle of £5.10 premium lager, and tell you in a over-rehearsed mockney accent that “The Strypes are the fuckin’ best new band in Britain, pal” like they’re the next John Peel. Scum. Shit eating scum.
3) First to be launched into this cesspit of inadequacy are Lyger, who bash away at their alt-rock with commendable fervour. Within the framework of what they do they are an entirely adequate outfit, unfortunately the framework of what they do is sixth form battle of the bands fodder.
4) They are followed my Turbogeist who bring a punkier edge to proceedings with a scratchy, thrashy style that drags to mind the likes of The Ramones and Stiff Little Fingers. They’re fine showmen who give the crowd everything they could want and more, though the undisputed focus of their set is a lead guitarist who looks like Johnny Marr in a John Cooper Clarke wig. Massive indie points.
5) Which leads us to the main event. Radkey’s stripped down punk rock has been turning heads in all quarters of late, in no small part due to the fact that they sound a fair bit like Danzig-era Misfits. And shit, who wouldn’t want a slice of that pie without the risk of getting clocked in the face by Evil Elvis himself? The three young brothers who make up the band amble onstage, plug in and set about speeding through a set of hooky, dark, gorgeously constructed pop songs that rattle and woah their way into your cranium with ease.
6) For a band so young, Radkey feel utterly relaxed on stage. Middle brother and bassist Isiah leading the between song chit chat which is minimised to let the speeding force of their music take charge. As trite as it is to say, they play with a comfort and craft that is beyond their years and in the live environment their skill is really rammed home. They close their main set with a brilliant cover of ‘Last Caress’ which – naturally – goes unrecognised by the majority of the River Island-shopping humungo-twats in the room. Fortunately the trio return to finish us off with ‘Romance Dawn’ and leave us wondering where these three brothers could go. The answer, hopefully, is to in front of a better fanbase than this.
Radkey’s most recent EP, Devil Fruit, is out now on Little Man Records.