@ Newcastle o2 Academy, April 19 2010
As the volcanic ash settles and the stand still comes to an end, things are back to the routine of things today. The Boeings will fly, businessmen will get to their meetings and escapists will find their holiday. But while the dust is settling, a whirlwind rises. Karma to Burn and Year Long Disaster left Newcastle with their own explosive remains to reflect upon, after a raucous and rampant performance smashed the Geiger-counter.
There’s no doubt the night began averagely. Local band A Thousand Lies tried too hard at doing what has been repeated countless times by metal and rock bands. It seemed that the band made their influences of Maiden and Metallica known too well, running into cliché. The final product was an unconvincing parody of overdone unoriginality.
Nevertheless, how could one complain about Year Long Disaster? It’s a rarity to see a three piece band resonate such a sound. Daniel Davies not only topped every note, but maintained an uncompromising energy, veering and rolling across centre stage. He may flail around in a careless fashion like a scarecrow in the wind, but don’t be fooled by the illusion; he’s in total professional control.
Drummer Brad Hargreaves demonstrated that he’s more than apt to keep up with the unstoppable entity of hard rock. As the green, red and blue lights reflected the drizzling sweat on his body, he crashed into a revelry of ecstasy while Rich Mullins brewed a deep bass.
The musical vigour and showmanship relentlessly pounded on. Their energy would resuscitate any man with a stomach full of whisky passed out in some dingy gutter, and bring him to ecstatic bobbing of the head.
As if the audience hadn’t already been spoilt, Karma to Burn took the stage. As Rich Mullins assumed bass again, he must’ve been aware that his performance with Year Long Disaster would be tough to excel. Mullins lapped it up, and leering before the intimate crowd and playing an exceptionally distorted, menacing bass line.
It was different to see a headlining band being an entirely instrumental act. It was going to be ‘touch and go’, as they would say. Fortunately it was ‘go’ for the best part of the gig.
William Mecum’s work on lead sometimes slipped into walls of noise backed by Mullins’ resounding bass lines only to fall back to some excruciatingly appetising picking. One great thing about them was the fact that the slow trudging beat had the quality to transform at will into a bouncing mosh.
Whether it can be considered a compliment or not is a different matter, but at times they did seem like they were simply having a talented jam in the garage. It probably made this more apparent with no singer at the forefront. However, to rapturous applause Daniel Davies returned to the stage before the set ended to front Karma To Burn.
Nature and nurture has always been a tricky can of worms but looking at Davies (son of Dave Davies of The Kinks), it gives you a feeling that some people have some form of natural charisma. The stage is his place and he dominates it with contrasts of intense energy and almost blasé lovability.
We may not have been enlightened by the first act, but it’s safe to say that Karma to Burn and Year Long Disaster are class acts. The ash is gone, but the voluptuous reverberations of these two bands will continue to toil a tempestuous tune wherever they go. Watch out for debris.