This Uncle Acid article was written by Michael Liggins, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Sam Jourdan.
The first thing you’d have noticed walking into The Fleece on Wednesday night was the smothering heat. For a relatively underground cult band, Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats had managed to completely fill the place. The stage was bathed in green spotlights and flanked with a fake brick wall façade, presumably to match the Victorian noir aesthetic of the band’s new album ‘The Night Creeper.’
Recorded by Liam Watson at Toe Rag Studios, whose past clients include the White Stripes and Billy Childish, ‘The Night Creeper’ is a concept album like it’s predecessor ‘Mind Control.’ Frontman Kevin Starrs announced the concept before the albums release – “The idea is that this album could have started life as an old cheap, grime-covered 25 cent pulp paperback like the type sold at news-stands outside train stations, but then perhaps it’s adapted into a film noir, which itself is then re-made twenty years later as an ultra-violent, slasher Italian Giallo film.”
Uncle Acid began the show with album-opener ‘Waiting For Blood’, its powerfully hypnotic riff instantly stirring the front of the crowd into an early frenzy. Uncle Acid’s proto-metal inspired psych rock transfers well into a live setting, the band didn’t debut live until 2013, their first album released in 2009 was limited to just 20 copies due to cost constraints. The combination of Black Sabbath-esque riffs combined with a Beatles-like pop sensibility add to the band’s conceptual horror appeal.
The foreboding riff of ‘Murder Nights’ descended into harmonic duelling guitars, that had Starrs and guitarist Yotam Rubinger ferociously attacking their instruments. Watching the tight musicianship of Uncle Acid gave a sense of how it might have felt to witness Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden for the first time. The set was heavy and high octane, continuing with the dark grunge of ‘Deaths Door’, it’s hard cymbals and frantic guitar lines, creating a pulverising groove.
Following on from the dense power metal of ’13 Candles’ came ‘Pusher Man’ with Starrs requesting to “…see some fucking head banging tonight!”, which most people in attendance were only happy to oblige. The murky ‘I’ll Cut You Down’ ensued chaos across the front rows with it’s garage-rock fuzzed out guitars and discarded beer cans flew through the air in careless abandon. Two songs taken from ‘Volume 1’, the band’s self-financed debut album, took us to the inevitable encore. The broader live sound improved on ‘Crystal Spiders’ and ‘Vampire Circus’ original lo-fi recorded counterparts.
The encore kicked off with the power-pop of ‘Melody Lane’, displaying blistering guitar solos punctured by Starrs’ demented John Lennon style vocals. The band concluded the encore with ‘Withered Hand of Evil’ taken from their second album ‘Bloodlust.’ Eerie theremin-esque guitar lines and a taut rhythm had the crowd head banging, trance-like, bringing the night to a satisfying close. The night’s set contained the more energetic songs from across each of Uncle Acid’s albums, creating a cohesive show by dropping the slower, experimental numbers like ‘Death Valley Blues’ or ‘Slow Death.’
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats take their inspiration from classic Hammer Horror and ’60s exploitation movies combined with the occult immersed heavy rock of the early ’70s. Current bands like Electric Wizard and Witchcraft that also draw from this era have already gained attention from a wider audience. But it’s Uncle Acid’s irresistible penchant for fusing this retro styled metal with dark-hearted pop song writing, that could gain them even further recognition.