On this lazy, sun-drenched day, it’s,understandable that most of tonight’s punters prefer to enjoy the warm weather, rather than arrive in time to catch Dead City Riots. Still, the Glasgow quartet give it their all; their punchy, Foo-Fighters-esque sound proving ample sustenance for the early birds.
Pity those who miss Valient Thorr, though, because it’s rare to come across a support band so damn electrifying as this. For an all-too-short half hour, the stage is a blur of flailing hair and beards, as Thorr himself delivers his words like a deranged heavy metal preacher. In his eyes, we are less a crowd, more his comrades; and whether he’s singing atop a stool from the centre of the floor, demanding that everyone crouch down “in the name of equality” or delivering some humorous but intelligent between-song speeches, there’s never a dull moment. Superb stuff.
Fu Manchu were never going to compete in the showmanship stakes, but with an arsenal of Godzilla-sized riffs at their disposal, it’s no surprise that singer/guitarist Scott Hill is happy to let the music do most of the talking. Unsurprisingly, they sound utterly massive; unleashing old favourites like ‘Eatin’ Dust’ and ‘Evil Eye’ on an increasingly sweaty crowd. There’s barely a head not banging in here: proof enough that, ultimately, you can only wax lyrical about the Fu Manchu live experience for so long, before you just have to FEEL it. Hell, if these guys were any louder, we’d be keeping a nervous eye or two on the Underworld’s ceiling.
Considering that they played the Astoria a few years ago, it’s a shame that Fu Manchu’s profile has dwindled on these shores, especially when they’re on such fine form as tonight. Still, as they round things off with ‘King Of The Road’, it’s clear that few in this crowd would have any qualms about coming back for more.