Evil Scarecrow can only be described as the result of a scientific experiment involving a talented metal band and a children’s birthday party, I can honestly say that in the 15 years I’ve been reviewing bands, I have never had as much fun as I did tonight at the Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre, here’s how the evening panned out….
The event was hosted by none other than the Mike James Rock Show, we caught up with Mike before the show and he chatted to us about his ridiculous work schedule, his involvement at many music festivals over the summer and his love of what he does, we were fortunate enough to cover the Zombie Halloween Ball in October 2014 and what a party that was, he said to expect an even bigger lineup of bands in 2015….
Opening up the proceedings were a local Plymouth band called Embers of Eden, they kicked things off with a track that was reminiscent of early Faith No More complete with a bit of slap bass and some super crunchy guitars before the singer took to the stage with her captains hat to complete the lineup. They played a handful of tracks including ‘Decay’ which was full of driving beats and bass, this was the last track taken from their current EP and was their favourite to play live, this track was really well received by all in attendance. They are a tight band with a great groove going on, certainly an act that you should seek out and watch live if you get the chance.
Demons of Old Metal were up next and by the looks of things had come dressed for a party, through a combination of furry cowboy hats, spandex, boiler suits, the Grim Reaper, Freddy Kreuger and an insane nurse/doctor, they filled the auditorium with a heady blend of driving beats, solid guitar and bass and some killer vocals influenced by the likes of heavy hitting metal acts such as Slipknot, Pantera and Steel Panther. They managed to get a great crowd reaction with kick ass tracks such as ‘Dead or Alive’, ‘Dance of the Damned’ and their last track which involved some great audience participation ‘Murdercycle’. This is another band that you’d benefit from seeing live, for dates, checkout their website
So, onto the headline act of the night, I’ll be honest and admit that I had never really heard of Evil Scarecrow before but looking at images and a couple of videos before the gig, I could see that they were a super polished, tight bunch of professional musicians who always put on a great show, what I experienced would take a lot of beating….
A clearly pregnant Princess Luxury (keys) led the parade to the stage, closely followed by Dr. Rabid Hell (vox/guitar), Dimitri Pain (guitar), Kraven Morrdeth (bass) and Monty Blitzfist (drums), all dressed in some rather impressive costumes and makeup, I particularly liked the guitarists full length robes and ‘Jesus Creeper’ style sandals, very fetching!
As I said at the start of the review, I don’t think that a band has ever entertained me in a way that Evil Scarecrow did tonight, they were awesome, engaged so well with the crowd, played some killer music and were able to let people let their hair down and party like it was 1999! Highlights of their set for me included their rather bodacious metal version of The Thundercats theme tune, ‘Space Dementia’ saw them wandering about the stage as if they were extras in a Gerry Anderson Sci-Fi cartoon which resulted in a great bout of ‘moon moshing’. They asked the audience how many robots there were in the room tonight and burst into a track called ‘Robototron’ which saw the entire crowd (and us) pretending we were robots complete with jerky hand and leg movements, the funny thing was, it felt GOOD, why the hell shouldn’t we pretend to be robots every once in a while?
The band were keen to get down and dirty with the crowd, the drummer leapt down from the stage with his floor tom and proceeded to jump about like he was in a House of Pain video for about 5 minutes prior to joining his bandmates again. The guitarist decided he was going to stage dive into the crowd which could have gone very wrong as he was in his robes, luckily nobody thought to reveal his undergarments! I think the bass player made the best impression when he jumped off the stage into the circle pit and decided to form his own heavy metal conga with about 100 people following him around the room, like the evil pied piper of Scarecrowville!
From then on in, it was like a sketch from Monty Python, prior to launching into ‘Dance of the Cyclops’ they set up a ‘sexy metal waltz’ competition which resulted in a lovely bearded couple winning the DVD that was up for grabs. ‘Crabulon’ saw the 6th member of the band take to the stage dressed as a huge crab and proceeded to demonstrate the dance steps required to accompany the song….
All in all, a surreal night of comedy, entertainment and some kick ass music by one of the most talented bunch of musicians out there who think nothing of letting their hair down, lowering their guards and demonstrating that you can enjoy some brilliant music as well as have a good laugh at the same time!
Review by Steve Muscutt
Photography by Julian Baird www.julianbaird.com