Gama Bomb, Mutant, Crypsis, Drive By Shark live @ Engine Room, Brighton
Gama Bomb + Mutant + Crypsis + Driveby Shark @ Engine Room Brighton, 7th May 2010
I’m not much of a thrash metal fan but my friend Tommy, bless his beard and genial metalhead nature, has been making some effort to convert me. This included getting me to join him for a show headlined by Irish thrash metal legends Gama Bomb. It’s all thrash, all night… and all I’ve heard of any of the bands is Gama Bomb’s album Citizen Brain.
First up is Driveby Shark, who are fronted by a ridiculously tall screaming bloke with ginger hair… or a dark blond, I guess, maybe it’s just the light. Whatever – he reminds me of my friend Ric from black metallers Iceni, who is also a ridiculously tall screaming frontman with ginger hair. It must be a metal thing, right?
Anyway, I like Driveby Shark. They’ve got a lighthearted attitude and clearly don’t take themselves too seriously, with songs like ‘Wanna Get High’ (yup, a reference to Towelie, South Park’s worst character ever) and a six-second blast of fury called ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!’ Besides which their name is utterly daft even by the standards of metal bands.
They’re followed by Crypsis, a local outfit. I’m told that of all the bands playing tonight they’re the only one that play ‘old school thrash’. I’m not too sure what the difference is to be honest with you except that it seems a lot more serious, and since they’re the band that amuse me the least they’re the band I enjoy the least. They sound pretty good but I’m not really feeling it. Today, though, listening to their tunes on MySpace, I’m liking what I’m hearing. Huh.
Next up is Mutant, who have a song called ‘Turbo Hyper Ultra Mega Power’. I don’t know what it’s about, but I figure it’s pretty fucking powerful. They have some cool riffs and, like every band who has played tonight, the pace is pretty relentless. That’s about all I can remember. Their MySpace page is grotesquely coloured; I suggest you check it out if you want your eyes to be sick and your ears to thrash their little lobes.
It’s Gama Bomb that people are really here for tonight, and the reaction when they take the stage is pretty enthusiastic. My friend Marc disappears almost immediately up to the front of the crowd; I hang back. I don’t need someone’s hair in my pint, right? The band have a lot of personality onstage, with their singer cracking jokes and generally being amusing (funny guys plus Dublin accents, always killer). Of all the frontmen tonight he also has the craziest range, occasionally belting out vocals in a ludicrous metal squeal. The band are also tight as fuck and throw out some proper cheesy solos. Normally I get a bit bored by solos but when they’re laid over riffing at the pace Gama Bomb are playing at, it works.
I’ve kinda struggled with things to say about this show… I just don’t know enough thrash metal to tell much of it apart. That’s not to say it all sounds the same. As with any musical genre (or any area of entertainment or art) it’s familiarity that allows you to pick up on nuance and recognise distinct personality. That aside I had a pretty good time drinking and watching a bunch of excessively hairy men play fast, cheesy metal to a room full of mostly blokes, and I figure I should start on my thrash metal education… it’s not like it’s that different from going to punk shows! So, old school or new?