Four Star Mary – Camden Underworld

It's those mad guys from the states, back again to try conquering the UK music scene.

[l-zone1]Who watches “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and if so, who remembers OZ and his band “Dingoes Ate my Baby”. Well the music for this TV only band was actually played by real life band “FOUR STAR MARY“. Although they have not appeared on the show for several years, they managed to gain a firm fanbase from it and have now toured several times in the UK. Four Star Mary seem to be gaining strength at the moment, moving on from their ‘Buffy’ routes and and gaining a far wider and more diverse following. And the Underworld is the perfect venue for the first night of their UK tour, it’s initmate but with a dark and dirty rock credibility. Sadly the security are an unhelpful, surly bunch!

Four Star Mary play us a stormingly energetic set, whilst still maintaining their position as the nicest guys in rock. They obviously enjoy playing live and interact with the small, but enthusiastic crowd wherever possible. Frontman Tad makes a point of grabbing as many of the outstretched hands as he can  and thanks absolutely everyone for coming. At the end of the show the band rush to the back for their mandatory signing, meet the fans and in Tad’s case personally hug everyone. Few bands do this and it is obviously appreciated by the crowd, who all greet each other and the band like long lost friends.

[l-zone2]The upbeat mood of this band is infectious and as they launch into opener “All I See” it’s impossible not to dance along with them. Tad’s throaty voice is reminiscent of many grunge bands, but FSM’s rock is far too cheerful to fit into that genre and would be quite at home on a line-up with bands like Less Than Jake. They do of course play the obligatory slower ballads and the crowd indulgently pull out their lighters and sing along. Four Star Mary are, however, at their best when playing their bouncing, uptempo tunes. The band leap about the tiny stage stage with endless energy, guitarist Zu even bounding halfway along the balcony, to the delight of the crowd.

Even the moshpit is good natured, with everyone leaping in unison and waving their arms in the air with a synchronicity not often seen outside of an S-Club gig! Every song is greeted with cheers and the only disappointment for the audience is the omission of “Strangled” from the set list. With two albums under their belts, this American five-piece perform a tight, well planned set. They manage to combine recent material like “Welcome Home” with older favourites like “Thrown to the Wolves” and the sublime “Pain“. During “Pain” Tad holds his microphone into the crowd and the result is surprisingly tuneful. Everyone, it seems knows the words and sings along at the top of their voices.

Their encore is an unusual choice for a rock band, a stomping cover of Duran Duran’s “Rio“, which they carry off effortlessly, to the obvious enthusiasm of the fans. Why Four Star Mary haven’t made it bigger is a mystery, but at least those who have discovered their infectious tunes can enjoy a more personal relationship with the band.

Four Star Mary are:

Tad Looney – Vocals
Zu – Guitar, backing vocals
Derrick Tanner – Guitar
Steve Carter – Bass, backing vocals
Chris Sobchak – Drums.