Sunday, May 19, 2024

His Lordship - Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, 17 May 2024

I’ll make this quick, just like this breakneck one hour set delivered – that’s “delivered” like a hail of bullets – by His Lordship.
What these guys assault you with is a tornado of punk-ish rock’n’roll, right the way from the machine gun rat-a-tat of opener ‘I Live In The City’ to the suitably scorching encore ‘Red Hot’, a turbo-charged cover from 1955 that its originator Billy ‘The Kid’ Emerson would surely struggle to
James Walbourne - pinball wizard
Pic by Stuart Stott
 recognise as it whizzes by in blur.
Sure, they dial it down a tad here and there.  ‘The Way I Walk’ is a lurching grind, on which James Walbourne delivers a lip-curling Elvis-like vocal and a dentist drill guitar solo.  And ‘The Repenter’ is like a warped, creepy 60s rock’n’roll ballad, replete with swooping backing vocals from drummer Kristoffer Sonne and touring bassist Dave Page.  But for the most part they go for your throat in full throttle mode.
‘All Cranked Up’ may give a cursory nod to the Stranglers’ ‘Go Buddy Go’, but only as it pays demented homage to Chuck Berry, without whom Buddy would’ve been going precisely nowhere.  ‘Jackie Works For The NHS’ is a crunking garage rock “fuck you to the Tories”, as Walbourne puts it, with reverb-laden vocals, a screeching guitar line, and a Clash-like bass line from Page.  Meanwhile ‘Buzzkill’ sounds like it’s mashing up M’s one hit wonder ‘Pop Muzik’ with the squeaking guitar riff from The Vapors’ ‘Turning Japanese’.
Walbourne and Sonne clearly know their rock'n'roll history, and echoes like these put me in mind of lines from the glorious self-titled glam’n’garage rock
Kristoffer Sonne whips it good
Pic by Stuart Stott
homage by Boston's The Peppermint Kicks  – “I write the songs that try to please you / Something stolen, something borrowed”.
These guys know that showmanship doesn’t require pyrotechnics, not least when Sonne steps out from behind the drums (Page deputising) to take the lead vocal on ‘My Brother Is An Only Child’ in send-for-a-straitjacket fashion, climbing on the bass drum, whirling the mic like a helicopter blade, and generally coming over like a certifiable character from the League of Gentlemen.  And Walbourne is a whirling, pinballing presence throughout, his stylish coiffeur soon becoming matted with sweat.
They do a couple of new tunes.  The slowish instrumental ‘Farewell Paddy’ is a tribute to Shane MacGowan, full of lyrical, bendy guitar.  The following ‘Be A Winner’ is more typical fare, jerky and spiky and propelled by a weightily fuzzy bass line from Page.
The hurtling, irresistible ‘Joy Boy’ is another highlight, with its quirky falsetto chorus and a howling, teeth-gritted solo from Walbourne.  But if that seems hectic, it has serious  competition from the galloping instrumental ‘Cat Call’, a slice of manic guitar frenzy into which Walbourne slips a snatch of Edwyn Collins’ ‘A Girl Like You’ just for extra fun.
As a celebration of rowdy, intense, off the handle wreck’n’roll, an hour in the company of His Lordship is a red hot proposition.  Don’t miss ‘em.
His Lordship are on tour until 30 May, details here.

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