Ahhh, steampunk. If being a goth doesn’t get you enough fingers pointed at you, try out this sub sub genre involving alternate histories, victoriana and cogs. To be honest it holds its wonderfully geeky charms and has attracted enough people for a proper shindig in the Cross Kings in Kings Cross. As I am a big ol’ geek too, I’m there.
First band up are Savile Row, who haven’t played together in 10 years and are a guitarist down are a tight band, although more steam-indie than Steampunk, their sound (and their look) wouldn’t be out of place among the britpop scene, all jangly guitars and fun poppy sing along choruses. The addition of the rarely sighted female drummer (Seriously – you don’t see them very often) knocked them over the edge from pleasent into ace.
Next up was this years weirdest act so far – Robert Rankin’s goth wife playing hits of the 80s on a steel drum. I don’t think this needs a review. If you don’t think this is something worth seeing, then bugger off.
The fan favourites of the night, The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. Or The Men as I shall now call them as that takes too bloody long to type.
Featuring comedian Andrew O’Neill on vocals and guitar they are certainly not short on wordplay, humour and songs with instant sing-along-ability, they dominate the tiny venue and soon have the becorseted crowd dancing away. The only problem I have with them is that they are too funny. – If steampunk is to be taken as a moderately serious sub genre than bands who are more joke project than legitimate entity then The Men could hamper that by being too popular and making the face of Steampunk a big dumb grin rather than a frowny bugger in a monocle.
The headliners are the absolutely Poe faced Ghostfire. No jokes here, just steam scented goth-a-rockin.
Steampunk is all about a past that never happened, and is only imagined. Ghostfire look like a band with an imagined past. They really do look like a faded goth band who would have been huge in the 80s. Singer Mister E and guitarist Andii look like they could have been the Goth power couple in 1985 dominating the lives and eye-liner collection of a generation of angsty adolescents. The thing is, as far as I know Ghostfire have only been around since last year, so their past is only imagined, which I feel make them more romantic and mysterious. But maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, they act like they’re headlining Wembley, which is the correct way to act when on a stage barely big enough for the band, acting like a rockstar is 90% of being one after all – stage moves and arrogant banter abounds between the excellently jangly songs.
All in all, a triumph for Brit-Steampunk. The kids into it may still get called names, but with this lot on their iPod I really doubt they’ll hear it, or care.