There is something very special about "Eighties Matchbox" both live and in the studio that sets them miles apart from any scene happening in the UK or for that matter the world right now. That single special quality has meant that after two years in the barren wastelands "of being without a deal" they are now back, and from this showing, bigger and better than ever.
Taking to the stage constantly bathed in red light, or make that darkness and red light, the Brighton psycho squad are lead from the front by the iconic figure of "Guy McKnight", stalking and hunting like the lycanthrope he so scarily resembles. Songs melting into aerobic workouts, as band and crowd quickly became one throbbing mass like some twisted scene from a "Brian Yuzna" movie.
What could be discerned within all of this chaos was the strength of the new songs, with two in particular standing out. Lead track from the soon to be released EP "In the Garden" sounds like a band rewriting the bible as some gothic guidebook. Whilst "Love Turns To Hate" is easily the best "Killing Joke" song they've never written.
But to pigeonhole "Eighties Matchbox" like that denies them that very singularly special thing they have, namely that they are truly unique and are creating a sound that simply can't be put into a single "one size fits all" category. To simply call them "Psychobilly" is not only lazy but also frankly wrong.
The true genius of a song like "Psychosis Safari" or "Charge Your Guns" live can only really be witnessed when "Eighties Matchbox" really takes the crowd into the palm of its collective hand, like some magnificent grotesque musical gorgon. Almost throwing every single person hypnotically to separate sides of the steaming cauldron venue with a simple twist of tempo. Tonight wasn't so much a mosh pit as mass mind control with "Eighties Matchbox" as the simple trigger to make people simply go fucking crazy.
Concluding their hour-long set with the ode to MILF's worldwide in the shape of "Celebrate Your Mother" I couldn't help but stand with what felt like most of the rest of the venue and applaud loudly like I'd just witnessed some modern day miracle. So rapturous was this finale that the band actually broke their golden rule and came back to play two more tunes before finally bidding Cardiff "Good Night".
If you check out one band
live this year make it "Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster" not only
will they play you some of the most innovative music the UK has made in years,
but they'll also rip you a new asshole in the process.
by Johnny H.