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Live Review: The Icarus Line and Sneaky Pete at Glasgow King Tut’s – 12th October 2011

By on Friday, 21st October 2011 at 2:30 pm

One of the benefits of being ‘sent away’ for work is that the evenings are empty of the usual homely responsibilities and can legitimately be spent absorbing music and alcohol, there being nothing much better to do. One of the downsides is that there is no choice of date or location: one must make the best of what’s on offer on that fately night. Being sent to Glasgow is a good start, as that distinguished city offers a number of grubby, noisy, beery venues in which to experience loud rock music – what could be finer?

Tonight, faced with a choice between the death throes of a formative teenage band in the form of Pop Will Eat Itself, effectively reduced to a gambit for the one remaining member to make some swift, cynical cash, or a hastily-arranged date for previously-unknown Hollywood noise-rockers the Icarus Line at the NME’s favourite small venue King Tut’s Wah-Wah Hut, the choice wasn’t difficult. Little could it be predicted that rock epiphany was just over the horizon.

Google-unfriendly support band Sneaky Pete were quite the perfect introduction. Striking the perfect balance between Foo Fighter angst and pre-Broadway Green Day melodic simplicity, this Greenock three-piece’s songs display a rare engaging maturity that belies their unknown status. The drummer sings note-perfect backup harmony throughout and takes lead vocals on one track – Phil Collins, eat your heart out.

As it becomes apparent that most of the audience were here to hear the support band, The Icarus Line take the stage to a sparsely-populated Hut. It’s their loss, frankly; as Joe Cardamone starts strutting across the modestly-proportioned stage it becomes apparent that something special is about to occur. Cynics of genetic engineering take note – for surely only Iggy Pop and Nick Cave could have spliced their genes to create such a gyrating, exhibitionist creature such as Cardamone. His suit jacket is swiftly discarded, the better to show off a lithe, naked torso, pulling such X-rated moves that ooze sex and desperate longing more lavisciously than any frontman in recent memory. The band pump out dirty, distorted grooves, encouraging such a display of raw rock ‘n’ roll such as has never been seen since Elvis’ hips first appeared on network television. Down on both knees, howling into the microphone as if the very Devil himself were incarnate, nothing in TIL’s recorded output can portray the utter decadence of their live show.

If everything hinged on Cardamone’s performance, the accusation of one-dimensionality could be levied. But not so – there are good songs here, a deep-rooted expression of the power of accurate, almost delicate riffs and precise bass-playing that serves to enhance the spectacular delivery. ‘We Sick’, their breakthrough track, is a storming journey of attitude, its dismissive, knowing expression of the band’s prime meme – that everyone, deep down in their soul, knows the power of decadence, of freeing their animal lusts and desires… The Icarus Line live out those emotions and fears so we don’t have to.

This band is a most powerful example of that disgustingly rampant version of rock ‘n’ roll that has been giving parents nightmares since Robert Johnson sold his soul to a conman many decades ago. As Cardamone descends from the stage and screams into his microphone inches from unsuspecting members of the audience, it would come as no surprise if a wench was plucked from the crowd and ravished before our very eyes. An essential live experience for anyone with a strong stomach and the Devil in their soul.


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