If this sounds like a character from a seedy remake of that well loved classic “the Wizard of Oz” then you would be forgiven for thinking that if ‘Metal’ and in particular ‘Parody Dark Metal’ Isn’t your cup of tea, but what a way to spend a Saturday night at Nottingham’s premier music venue Rock City.
Headlining a night of 3 ‘Metal’ bands each with its very own unique style and sound, Evil Scarecrow bring their musical mayhem to a sold out home venue along with Dog Tired, a 4 piece metal outfit who’ve travelled from North of the Boarder, and TMTWNBBFN (The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing) bring their style of Victorian Rock for the masses congregated at Rock City.
Formed in 2005 in Penicuik, Scotland. They are Barry Buchanan on Bass, Keith ‘Feets’ Blaikie on Drums, Luke ‘Jobbylocks’ James on Guitar and Chris ‘ Trainwreck’ 45’ Thomson on Vocals. They are currently not signed to a record label but have managed to put their Southern Groove Metal style onto 3 full length albums:- Dead Head Rebel released in 2011, Titan in 2013 and It Came From The Sun in 2016.
Being first on the bill at 6:45 they sadly only had 30 minutes to show the gathering crowd how alive Metal is Oop North of the boarder. They hit the stage amid blue neon back lighting and get straight into ‘Storm Of Hammers’, from their 3rd album, It Came From The Sun. This was followed by ‘Sol Invictus’, ‘Maruta’, ‘It came from the Sun’ and, to finish, ‘Outpost 3’. With hair whipping and necks cracking this energetic 4 piece smashed the opening slot and in doing so gained new fans and a lot of respect.
Bringing their unique style of Steampunk Victorian Rock to the stage next seemed very apt amidst all the smoke machine induced ‘Smog’. The band hail from London making it all the more surreal.
Formed in 2008 in London, the band are Andrew O’Neill on Guitar and vocals, Gerhard ‘Andy’ Heintz on vocals and 1880’s costume, Jez Millar on Drums and finally Marc Burrows on Bass guitar.
The band name is a reference to the chalked graffiti discovered above the blood stained apron thought to have been dropped by Jack the Ripper as he fled the murder of Catherine Eddowes (wiki).
Researching the band’s genre described them as Steampunk, Punk Rock, Oil, Grindcore and Crossover thrash. Throw into some Cockney sing alongs and you get the style.
They have currently released three albums :- ‘The Steampunk Album That Cannot Be Named For Legal Reasons’, released in 2010, in 2012 they released, wait for it, ‘This May Be The Reason Why the Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing Cannot Be Killed By Conventional Weapons’ and in 2015 the more simply titled, ‘Not Your Typical Victorians’. These were all released on their own ‘Leather Apron’ label, another nod to JtR.
The band grabbed the already rocking crowd and took them on an educational journey of ‘Ripper’ inspired Cockneyesque singalongs. I totally got it and the crowd loved it too!! Gerhard, clad in bowler hat and Victorian Inverness coat, growled his way through the set, always in character and playing to the crowd. An excellent display of how a good front man captures the imaginations of those watching and listening. Competently backed up by a superb band, they too gave an excellent if again too short set consisting of just 12 songs they were 1. Victoria’s Secret, 2. Charlie, 3. Miner, 4. Boilerplate Daniel, 5. Turned Out Nice Again, 6. Margate Fhtagn, 7. Third Class Coffin, 8. Doing It For The Whigs, 9. A Clean sweep, 10. This House Is Not Haunted, 11. Etiquette and finally 12. Brunel.
A 30 minute interval follows so that the crew can get the stage ready for the band that everyone has turned up to see.
Having been formed in Lincolnshire in 2002 from the disbanded Thor’s Children they moved to Nottingham to evolve into the band that we see today which is the 5th lineup. Scarecrow have the reputation of gigging continually in both smaller venues nationally and have featured on the main stage at Bloodstock. Fans travel from far and wide to see this unique brand of Parody Black Metal.
Currently unsigned, they have released 3 full albums, ‘ Crowcification’ in 2004, ‘Sixty Six Minutes Past Six’ in 2009 and recently ‘Galactic Hunt’ in 2014. A live video was released in 2013 entitled ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Crows’, and the single ‘Hurricanado’ in 2016.
The band hit the stage to huge cheers and applause quite unlike anything I’ve witnessed at Rock City before. Having not seen the band play live, to say I wasn’t carried along with the excitement pulsing through the crowd would be a lie. I found myself chanting along with the rest!!! Awesome!!! Dr. Rabid Hell stood centre stage with both arms outstretched soaking in the love while the rest of the band stood and absorbed the warm Nottingham welcome!! It was obvious the band where planning a night of fun and mayhem, with names like Princess Luxury on Keyboard (her only appearance on the tour we’re later told by Monty), Brother Dimitri Pain on guitar, Rubix cube and dog impressions, Kraven Morrdeth on Bass, bum pinching and headbanging (that’s gonna hurt) and finally Ringmaster Monty Blitzfist on Drums and all in character.
Novelty bands are all well and good for the short time but Scarecrow seem different, they keep you watching and listening from the first note until the lights come on. They’re funny clowns who are also bloody great musicians. With screaming guitars, epic drumming and Princess Luxury’s deft keyboards they weave their way through the set. Its evident from the outset that interaction with the fans is paramount to the band as they banter back and forth. They like to visit the bouncer steps in the pit to engage with the crowd, Monty Blitzfist taking it that one stage further and takes a drum into the gathered horde, standing on shoulders he bangs the drum rhythmically as he’s carried away, the bouncers catching up with him just before he’s swept out of reach.
And so the night continues song after song. The crowd enjoying every note, from the set opener 1. ‘Architect of Hate’ through, 2. Frankenstein’s Mirror, 3. Book of Doom, 4. Flight of the Dragons, 5. Dance of the Cyclops, 6. Robototron, 7. Morbid Witch, 8. Space Dementia complete with anti gravity machine. 9. Blacken the Everything, and, 10. End Level Boss completing the set. Scarecrow say goodnight and as they walk off Dr. Hell gives a wink , hinting there is more to come.
The chanting starts ‘CRABULON, ‘CRABULON‘, ‘CRABULON’, and so it goes on rising in intensity until the band eventually walk back on stage and straight into the first of two encore songs 11. Hurricanado, complete with confetti blowers at either side of the stage, and then to the ever popular crowd favourite, 12. ‘Crabulon’ complete with Crabot. During which Dr. Hell instructs his mighty pink army to scuttle to the right and to the left while ‘pincering’ the sky; and they do just that. Rock City scuttle sideways as one to his commands. What a reaction to an epic song and a justified finish to what has been a great night.
The Band invited everyone to the Tap n Tumbler for an after show party that they promised to be very messy, I have an early start the next morning so unfortunately give it a miss.
Evil Scarecrow, what a show!!! a talented band with a growing army of fans. A fab way to spend a Saturday night. If you’ve not seen them yet your missing a treat!!
By Manny Manson