Wednesday, April 27
If watching a rock band is often a bit like making love to a beautiful woman, then tonight Million Dead give us a full on aural shafting.
Poised to release their second LP ‘Harmony No Harmony’, common concensus seems to be that this marks a move into more melodic territory for the band. On the evidence of tonight’s show, this thankfully hasn’t in any way diluted their incendury live performances.
They remain as difficult to categorise as always. Are they emo, screamo, extremo, or simply one of the best rock bands that in the UK at the moment?
Frontman Frank Turner’s voice sounds as ever, like he lives on a diet solely consisting of gravel and broken glass. Antipodean bass player Julia throws herself around the stage with abandon, whilst guitarist Tom plays it slightly more restrained. With drummer Ben flailing around behind his kit, the stage resembles a tangled mass of limbs and hair.
They’re loud, oh yes they’re very loud. The trouble is, at times Million Dead are just too loud.
Screaming at the top of his voice and battling feedback throughout, Big Frank’s voice often struggles to rise above the wall of noise created by his three fellow band members. It’s a shame, because his vocal nuances and often incisive lyrics are largely lost beneath the cacophony of sound.
The majority of their fans may be teenagers, but Million Dead are giving ‘the kids’ an education and bringing a welcome dose of intelligence to the table. You wouldn’t catch Good Charlotte writing a song namechecking the 1956 Hungarian uprising, as in the politically charged and topical ‘I Am The Party’.
The new tracks like ‘Holloway Prison Blues’ and the strangley named ‘Bread and Circuses’ give newish guitarist Tom a chance to shine. Whist chart grazing single ‘Living The Dream’ and newie ‘After The Rush Hour’ please the fans.
“Birmingham, I had a new experience today” confesses Frank, “I had a steam bath and it’s left me feeling a new man”. He could be having another one tonight, such is the heat inside the venue and particularly under the harsh glare of the spotlights onstage.
During the encore Big Frank looks positively exhausted. His microphone is broken, his voice is ripped to pieces as he staggers off the stage through the fire door at the back of the venue, leaving the bands small but devoted band of followers sweaty and delirious.
This gig comes at the beginning of another extensive tour around the toilet venues of Britain. Let’s hope that they can make the well deserved step up to a higher level, so next time they are in town, they can play in the big Academy room next door.
Tonight Million Dead leave us sweaty, out of breath, thoroughly exhausted...but satisfied. The only question that remains is - Who will sleep in the wet patch?