Debaser (Slussen), Stockholm, Sweden
June 1, 2008
As witnessed by Marko Niskapohja and Ari Taiminen
Photo: Ari Taiminen
Way back in 1989, The New Christs played a gig in Finland. To this day it has been their only appearance here; a fact which has grieved both of your present-time reporters to no end. You see, we were both underage at the time and thus unable to go and see 'em. So, earlier this year when news began to trickle down that The New Christs are doing a European tour, our hopes rose again. Maybe this time! After all, Radio Birdman had played in Helsinki (the capital of Finland) on their last European tour, so maybe, just maybe The New Christs would come here, too. Unfortunately, this did not happen, so our eyes began to scan for the next best thing. And off we went, to the merry ol' Sweden.
June 1st. A hot day in Stockholm. About to turn even hotter when The New Christs hit the stage. The gig was in a club named Debaser (Slussen). Since the day was warm and the place has a nice big outdoor terrace, we decided to skip the sight-seeing (like we were going to do that anyway!) and sit ourselves down and enjoy the sun (and beer?). A couple of DJs kept the fingers snapping and toes tapping with a steady flow of garage, punk, powerpop, soul and other cool stuff. Kasenetz-Katz followed by D.O.A. (the band not the song?), that kinda lineup. There were also two support acts, but we didn't pay much attention to them. Our apologies to the bands, but beer in the sun was
better this time.
Finally The New Christs began to play. There were something like 100 to 150 people in the audience. A lot more could?ve fitted in, but perhaps it's the quality not the quantity. We saw at least three members of The Nomads and some other Swedish rock and roll celebrities, too.
Anyways, "Coming Apart" and "Woe Betide" were the first two songs. In studio versions these two are among the fastest songs in the band's repertoire, but live they were even faster! And this was the main recipe for the whole show to follow. Fast, turbocharged high-energy rock 'n' roll. It is amazing to think that the band had been touring now almost for a month and was still bursting with this much energy and not showing any signs of weariness. Rob Younger was swirling and swinging like a dervish, throwing his hands about and jumping around throughout the whole set. Jim Dickson kept pumping on his bass, head in a constant whirl. Stuart Wilson attacked his drums like his intention was to try and beat them through the floor. A real maniac at play.
"The Burning Of Rome" came next, and this really put the two guitarists to the test. Charlie Owen?s playing on the studio cut of this
is just magical, and we are pleased to report that both of these "new" guitarists can deliver the goodies, too. Dave Kettley played the solos on this particular song, but throughout the set him and Brent Williams traded solos. Williams also added some nice keyboard touches to a couple of songs as well. This band needs to be recorded, LIKE NOW!
"She Comes in Colors" was the fourth song and first of the three covers for the night. We didn't get "Hot Generation", but instead we got "Life Of Crime" (by The Weirdos, a real nice surprise!) and The Kinks' "I Need You". In addition, the ending of "The Burning Of Rome" was again lyrically boosted with The Stranglers' "No More Heroes", and the middle part of "Born Out Of Time" turned into a mutant jam of "Shakin' All Over", "Loose" and "Suzy Q" before settling back to its parent song again. There were also four songs we didn't recognise, but suspect these were new originals not cover songs.
All in all, there were 14 songs in the main set. Basically all the main (as in full-length or semi full-length) records of the band's back catalogue were represented by at least one song. Perhaps this report has so far read like promotional ad, so if we are allowed to be at least a little bit critical, of the new songs, the one listed as "Daddy" in the set list, was bit of a dud. A sort of nothing-happening-in-this-song kinda song. Maybe if there's a studio version of it, it'll reveal its charms. The other new songs were good and fitted seamlessly into the set.
And so it went, a hit after a hit kept coming with "Party Time" being an especially high-speed version. But then suddenly - way too soon - the main set was over. The audience kept making enough noise, so the band came back for three more songs. And a lucky thing for us that they did, because the best of the evening was still to come. The majestic feedback monster that is "The Black Hole" was the ultimate jaw-dropper where everyone in the band really stretched out at their instruments but still kept it tight as a glove. Fast and furious "Like A Curse" followed and then it was all over.
Afterwards, Stuart Wilson told us that they were prepared to play more, but the club put on the recorded music. He also told us that they have some six or seven new songs ready, but no record label in Australia is interested in The New Christs!?! WAKE UP, PEOPLE!! One of the hottest bands is in its prime. And the same goes to anyone still wondering whether to go and see this band play. Like, what's your excuse?
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