To experience the noisy, chaotic, surrealism that is Evil Blizzard then in a live setting like the intimate Camden’s Underworld is perfection personified. We know they will turn up and pile on the visual spree, but is their approach going to be the wonderfully messy freak out noise jams (once experienced at North London’s Lexington in 2016) or a slightly more concise delivery of their songs? (Their Chalk Farm’s Barfly set, as witnessed in support of their last album release Everybody Come to Church.)
But first, the sole support act is the trio Nasty Little Lonely. Unknown to this reviewer they, however, don’t take long to make a decent impression as they deliver a performance of gusto; putting everything but the kitchen sink into their performance. The guitarist has a great knack of whipping up the noise factor instead of diverging in the classic rock-soloing style. Their sound therefore takes on a blend of Swervedriver, The Fuzztones, plus noisier elements of Shoegaze, but delivered with an adrenalized, look-straight-between-the-eyes attitude and energy.
Evil Blizzard emerge and open with the eerie ‘Sacrifice’ which lures you into a hallucinogenic nightmare. It is the teaser before the rest of the set ignites the crowd into feverish mosh-pit shenanigans. ‘Are You Evil?’ is a pulsating, rollicking Blizzard anthem which is nailed with what seems like extra-energised stomp tonight. There are signs of extending their sound into wider avenues as latest single ‘Fast Forward Rewind’ is a bouncy alt-disco gem, but it still sounds strange and weird as only Evil Blizzard can. And to counteract the punchy single, the airing of something new from the forthcoming album (likely to be released around Autumn of this year) is aided by the introduction of a cello and an accompanying “We’re E.L.O.” remark, but unsurprisingly the similarities end there as it is dense in sound and progressive in exploration.
Evil Blizzard’s dedicated, hard-core followers also play their part in the wonderful, adult self-deprecating humour which takes the form of pantomime interaction between band and converted crowd – loud booing equals strong appreciation, with the additional displaying aid of two-finger salutes as another interactive tool. And there is a band member’s wedding anniversary, and what a better way to celebrate such an occasion than the wife to oblige in a bit of stage diving.
It all culminates with the wonderful image of a poodle’s head in a three-piece pink suit – the last to the leave the stage after the carnage and debris of a smashed-up bass guitar and as the announcement that the gig is dedicated to the late Mark E. Smith still punctures the air. I’m sure he would have been proud. And then on the way out of the venue the Blizzard’s cardinal stands with his “All the way from Rome to see this shite” cardboard sign in hand. There are many big grins all around from the departing crowd.
There is a fear the theatrics could overshadow the music but tonight confirms they are equally matched, as Evil Blizzard expertly deliver a song-orientated set with mind-melting soundscapes. They are indeed masters and purveyors of sonic adventurism, song-writing craft, surrealist theatrics, and whipping up a night of first-class entertainment.