a city through the eyes of a girl who's not sure how she ended up here

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

WANTED...Brutal Vocalist

Err, yeah...

Now I know this is not my usual mode of posting but when I saw the above I just felt the need to share it. In the interest of clarification, here is the detail transcribed:

"BRUTAL VOCALIST

Wanted for Progressive Doom Metal Band.

Great Material Written.

Influences: Mastodon, Crowbar, Pink Floyd, Godflesh." (And then someone has hilariously pencilled in "Beyonce, Jay-Z")

To those au fait with their doom metal, it will not come as a surprise that this missive was taped to a phone box outside "The Intrepid Fox"; not a Roald Dahl appreciation pub, but a goth/metal rock bar in Bloomsbury. A leering gargoyle hovers atop the entrance, and the bar has a somewhat forbidding air from the outside. It is not exactly a regular Accidental watering-hole.
"I don't even know what Doom Metal is!" said one bewildered Accidental chum with whom I made this discovery. "And who are Mastodon?" - with a name like that we found it hard to believe that they were that stylistically similar to Pink Floyd.
At the bottom of the flyer however was a series of jagged tears indicating that plenty of other Londoners did know, and were keen to audition. I suddenly had a wonderful vision of a group of aspiring rockstars, with long, matted hair, a fondness for ripped, black clothing and KISS-esque eye make-up; "So, fancy yourself as a Doom Metal rocker, do ya? How'd you sum up your style?" "Well, if I had but one word it would be, errr, 'brutal'." Imagine meeting someone at a party and the conversation going a little like this; "So, what do you do?". "Oh, I'm a brutal vocalist for a doom metal band." Room backs nervously away, and conversationalist looks hurriedly for that nice, boring accountant they met earlier.

Fittingly I encountered the above on exiting the Dominion Theatre where I had just watched several hours of the most tenuously strung-together musical, based on the music of Queen. It was basically a few undeniably epic rock numbers cobbled together by some rather gratuitous innuendo and swearing, with a very thin futuristic story-line about the search for outlawed live music. I refer to the jukebox musical "We Will Rock You", which has been rocking (or at least stirring in a slightly uncomfortable way) the Tottenham Court Road since 2002. We had arrived late for an Accidental friend's birthday celebrations, hurriedly greeting each other in the auditorium's semi-darkness of the opening projection. "Cake?", another chum enquired as I shrugged off my coat. "What?" I whisper-yelled over the prelude, as a plastic tray of bright pink cupcakes was thrust into my hand...and the house lights flashed on, to reveal me, half out of seat, clutching said cupcakes, looking confused. Not an auspicious start. Although we munched along to "Radio Gaga" to looks from our fellow theatre-goers I like to think were deeply envious.

Rock is evidently alive and well in London Town, in many different forms. The city's proud musical heritage is not being entirely undermined by plastic popbands and X Factor runners-up. Needless to say however commerce is cashing in. You can take a tailor-made tour of the city, visiting sites associated with famous musical legends; from Abbey Road's famous studios to where Elton John lives when he's in town. As of last year you can even stay in the Sanctum Hotel, a "rock 'n' roll hotel" in Soho. It describes itself as "an alluring haven of hedonism", but looks rather too plush to be truly rock 'n' roll. If you wanted to hurl any TVs out of the window here you'd need to first prise them from the walls on which they are firmly fixed. Rooms are full of media gadgets, including Guitar Hero game consoles if you want to jam all night long. Just don't expect to get much sleep during your stay. But then that'd hardly be very rock 'n' roll...

7 comments:

  1. Hiya! Your interview is up today :)

    http://littlelondonobservationist.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/listen-to-a-londoner-flora-tonking/

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  2. A good illustration of the contrasts between the brutal and pappy end of the London rock scene.

    I saw the QUeen Show a few years ago and it made me think that Ben Elton had dashed it out in an afternoon, based upon the thin plotline. Because of its location and the number of bus adverts, its bound to attract plenty of out of town punters however.

    The doom metal is typified by the juke box at the World's End in Camden. The band you reference would be good to advertise around there for a singer.

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  3. That's exactly the impression I got too - doesn't really do justice to Queen's fabulous music. Even Mamma Mia has a more robust story-line!

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  4. Mastodon for the win. Like, utterly FTW

    The famous "white whale, holy grail" comic is based on one of their songs!

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  5. Hey there from 20sb!

    lol... that photo made me laugh!

    I don't know if I would consider Mastodon to be similar to Pink Floyd... one is clearly metal, while the other is classic rock - 2 ENTIRELY different genres!

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  6. An excellent 'jukebox musical' is Backbeat at the Duke of York's! Based on the Beatles' early days - it is absolutely incredible. Go and see!

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  7. I've walked past the theatre where that's playing and wondered of it was any good, Emma. Maybe I will have to go and check it out. Thanks for the tip!

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