The first thing I notice upon entering the venue is the band’s backdrop, their variation on Motorhead’s ‘Snaggletooth‘, looking down menacingly at each and every one of us.
Tonight’s show begins with Pete Pamf and his band. It’s very hard to review them as Pete proves not to be the most enigmatic or talkative frontman around, indeed he never even gets around to namechecking his own band or even introducing a single song. The highlight of the set is the fact that the rhythm section is incredibly tight and has a funk rock feel to it, not unlike the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The comparisons end there unfortunately as songs like ‘Crabs’ and ‘Love Song (You’re A F**king Bitch)’ just feel tired and generic and, quite frankly, I’m happy to see them leave the stage. (1/5)
After a short interval, it’s the turn of Dallas Frasca, a three piece all the way from Australia, to liven up tonight’s proceedings. From the outset, it’s immediately apparent that they mean business and are no strangers to a stage. Opener ‘Better’ gives front-woman Dallas ample opportunity to showcase her gritty, bluesy voice and stage presence. Even the intense use of strobe lighting can’t keep my eyes off the band as they literally power through their set. Lead guitarist Jeff Curran is in fantastic form and I honestly almost feel sorry for the heavily modified Gibson Flying V he is using tonight, such is the sheer brute force he is using to get the sounds he requires.
We are barely into the set when Dallas decides that barriers aren’t her thing and she is on the floor of the venue, mic in hand, singing with and cajoling the growing crowd. Looking around me at all the smiling faces and the hands clapping, it’s clearly apparent that ,even this early in the set, she is making plenty of new friends in Dublin tonight. From here on the band just get better and better , songs like ‘Wasting Time’ and ‘Anything Left To Wonder’ just keep upping the ante and make me believe that this is indeed a band with enormous potential and one that I definitely will be keeping an eye out for in future.
The band close their set tonight with an absolutely stunning ‘All My Love’ which has everybody present loudly singing the extremely catchy chorus, all the time being baited into singing it louder and louder by Dallas. It’s only been a short six song set but during that set they have absolutely owned the venue. I’m converted (3.5/5)
The room is now filling up quite nicely and you can feel the heat and anticipation begin to rise with every fleeting glimpse you catch of one of the band members in the minutes leading up to tonight’s headliners taking to the stage. Before you know it the house lights are out and the intro tape is on and Ugly Kid Joe are back onstage in Dublin like they’ve never been away. They break into an absolutely breakneck ‘Neighbour’ which is followed immediately by ‘Jesus Rode A Harley’ all of which has the desired effect on an audience clearly here for a good time. Where Ugly Kid Joe win out over so many other bands is that they have an excellent frontman in Whitfield Crane, he has the ability to make you want to enjoy yourself and ,at the same time, manages to coax the audience to follow his every lead, be it singing, throwing devil’s horns or quite simply encouraging all here to abandon pretence and follow his lead in emulating his every move onstage (no mean feat when you see how fast he manages to cover every inch of available space).
The aural assault continues through ‘C.U.S.T.’ and ‘Panhandlin’ Prince’ before the band decide to show us, that despite the thirteen year hiatus, they are very far removed from a nostalgia act by playing a trio of songs from their last two releases in the forms of ‘She’s Already Gone’( from last years ‘Uglier Than They Used Ta Be’) and ‘No One Survives’ and ‘Devil’s Paradise’ (from 2012’s ‘Stairway To Hell’ EP). By now we are pretty much reduced to a sweaty mess and the band take things down a little for their cover version of Harry Chapin’s ‘Cat’s In The Cradle’ which certainly finds The Academy in full voice, ably orchestrated by Whitfield.
Guitarists Klaus Eichstadt and Dave Fortman seem to be in their absolute element tonight, pulling all the poses from Guitar Hero 101, possible and seemingly at will. None of this detracts even slightly from their playing, it merely makes the band even more entertaining to watch and interact with. Not to be outdone, bassist Cordell Crockett is no shrinking violet either and continuously stalks or bounds around the stage depending on the song he’s playing at that particular time.
By now the songs are coming so thick and fast that I’m actually relieved to see an acoustic guitar being brought out for Whitfileld and Dave’s acoustic session. This being Dublin it appropriately has to pay a little homage to Thin Lizzy in the form of an excerpt ftom ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ before taking a decidely dubious turn into Chris DeBurgh’s ‘Lady In Red’. Unfortunately during this segment of the show the ‘Dickhead of the Night’ award should be handed out to the guy who decided to heckle Whitfield while he was sharing a little story with us. Some people just shouldn’t be let out unattended!
Just when we think they can’t possibly have anything left in the tank, the band treat us to an absolutely blinding version of the Motorhead classic ‘Ace Of Spades’, it’s played with all the venom and ferocity it deserves and is genuinely one of the best versions I’ve heard in a long time. All around me are people starting to feel the effects of the heat and an evening of good old-fashioned fun so it’s great to see the rejuvenation brought about by the closing number, and probably Ugly Kid Joe’s most famous track, ‘Everything About You’. When the band take their bow and depart the stage they leave behind a lot of very happy, satisfied fans. (4.5/5)
Jesus Rode A Harley
She’s Already Gone
No One Survives
Cat’s In The Cradle
God Damn Devil
So Damn Cool
Under The Bottom
Come Tomorrow (Acoustic)
Cloudy Skies (Acoustic)
Ace Of Spades
Everything About You
Photo Gallery – Down The Barrel Photography © 2016
Words – Paul Lynam
© OVERDRIVE 2016