A night in Islington showcasing the best in new indie talent called Kill All Hippies? Was it not such a bunch of free-loving freaks that helped pave the way for indie music? The Beatles, The Doors, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, anyone? With such stark ingratitude the night surely deserves to screw up immensely as Jerry Garcia laughs into his sanctified grave. But get this. Kill All Hippies is a total, complete, unmitigated riot - in a very good way.
The crowd wear dishevelled chic like they were born in their skinny jeans, pencil skirts and retro adidas. Fit girls and effeminate lads crowd the Islington Academy as they wait for the first act to take to the stage. It’s less than two quid for a pint so inebriation is most definitely the drink of choice.
Action Plan are first up and kick start the evening with mixed success. Their set starts extremely well, lead singer Dr Action, looking akin to Vincent D’Onofrio in The Cell, has a good distinctive voice and the band’s rhythm section are excellent, all pounding bass and wicked, thumping drums (is that Brian Malko on bass?!). The band are an amalgamation of acts currently en vogue: think Boy Kill Boy, The Killers, The Automatic with The Ramones, Smashing Pumpkins and The Stranglers thrown in for good measure. Neo-punk meets indie rock. The set’s good start slips as Action’s voice begins to deteriorate and he turns into a “fucking hobbit” as the mic stand begins to slide southwards. They are however a loud, proud, tight outfit and very contemporary. New single 'Blood Brothers' is just what the indie kids are listening to and exhibits all the necessary conventions: catchy guitar riff, repetitious lyrics, comfy chorus. Nothing too risky.
From the balcony, the crowd turn into a raging tempest of flailing limbs and twisting bodies as soon as The Others begin their first number. These guys are seriously good. It is testament to the band’s excellence that fans are crowdsurfing to such an extent it looks as though the stage front security are going to be overwhelmed as more and more bodies tumble over the barriers, all to the sound of angry, melodic indie-punk. Lead singer Dominic Masters is charismatic, freestyling as he parades round the stage, long hair sweaty, mic in hand. Think Zac de la Rocha meets Luke Pritchard from The Kooks. Tunes like 'Thick as Thieves' and new single 'The Truth That Hurts' contain the fast, frenetic energy of current indie faves such as Arctic Monkeys and the poetry of Masters’ mate Pete Doherty. Their Inward Parts tour is taking in over 20 dates around the UK, and with any luck these boys will be shunning away the usual MTV2 dross to stake a claim as bona fide indie stars.
Get down to the next Kill All Hippies night. Cheap beer, excellent acts, till 4am. Nuff said.