Boys Night Out

support F.O. Machete + The Ghost Of A Thousand
author PP date 15/11/06 venue Barfly, London, UK

Having met and interviewed Connor, the Boys Night Out frontman, before the show, my expectations had risen even higher than they already were. His answers were intelligent and he was genuinely interested in making and playing the music he likes instead of conforming to the norms of record label interests and public pressures on what's trendy and what's not. Barfly is a tiny room with no security barriers and only slightly elevated stage, which allows for the most intimate of contact between the crowd and the band, which is what Connor was especially keen to have. It's outrageous and should be criminal to allow Boys Night Out to play in a venue this small, let alone not have it sell out when the capacity is nearer to 150 than to the 1000 or more what a Boys Night Out show should be attracting. It is crazy to think that a band that released "Trainwreck" over a year ago flies over to the UK to do a headlining tour in venues this small, especially when their album has been critically acclaimed and hailed to be one of the best concept albums of the decade. It says something when Connor was able to stand in the middle of the crowd throughout the support band without getting noticed! But on one hand, this also guaranteed that we would only have the most loyal of fans present tonight, and every song would be sung back at Connor at full volume and the experience would be ten times better than it would be at, say, an Astoria sized venue.

The Ghost Of A Thousand

Brighton based hardcore act The Ghost Of A Thousand opened the show with their mindless screams, brutal breakdowns, and quite possibly the most mental frontman I've ever experienced live (having already feared for my life at a Beecher concert before..). Withing seconds of thrusting into their first song, the vocalist jumped into the crowd and started a mosh pit with himself, grabbing innocent bystanders by the neck, squeezing them, tackling them and damn near beating them up - all while screaming at lightning speed & full volume! And this wasn't just the usual front row stuff you see at hardcore gigs, he was actually all the way by the bar at times, circling around the room screaming senselessly and causing (probably) irreparable ear and limb damage to anyone who dared to challenge him. "Punch me! Punch me hard! Kick me!" he shouted as he tried to get the crowd moshing with him. By the end of the first song he had already knocked an unfortunate fan unconscious and had to sing the next song and a half near him trying to see if he was okay. You don't see that every day at a gig. This ensured he would be slightly more orderly, but only slightly. The amps, members of the crowd, the walls and other band members each got a part of his treatment, and it was one of the most intensely insane live shows I've ever seen. The rest of the band pulled off similar behaviour with their instruments with especially the drummer demonstrating his sheer brilliance, resulting in a tighter, more aggressive set than I've seen in months. This is definitely a band to watch.

F.O. Machete

As the F.O. Machete (Fuck Off Machete) were going through their set, it became ever clearer that BNO didn't just want to pigeonhole themselves into just a single genre as Connor said earlier in the interview, because the variety of the two support bands was vast, and neither of them sounded even remotely like Boys Night Out. F.O. Machete represented a more indie rockish side, with obvious influences coming from the Yeah Yeah Yeah's. The female fronted trio played groovy rock songs with sudden sonic explosions and followed their stage show similarly: during the slower parts the female vocalist/bassist and the guitarist would largely stand still jamming, while at the more riff-oriented sections especially the guitarist would release his energy by throwing himself around aggressively with his guitar. In between songs, the vocalist seemed a tad bit pretentious though, trying to be all artsy, giving cheeky looks at the guys and taking long pauses in thinking about what to say, or firing up jokes like "I'm sweating like a bitch on heat here...(pause)... oh wait! (cheeky look)". Even with the resemblances to quite a few bands, their set was enjoyed by the majority of the crowd tonight.

6

Boys Night Out

I just HATE when a venue's sound problems cut into a bands set. My favorite bands always seem to be mistreated by the venues - Darkest Hour had it both in Malmö and Melbourne, and the beginning to mid-set of Boys Night Out was plagued by problems as well. The microphone would randomly turn on and off, cutting some of the best parts of songs like "Dreaming", "Waking" and "The First Night It Shouldn't Taste Like Blood" away, and the amps were giving scratchy noises at random intervals as well. But this didn't matter too much, as Boys Night Out proved tonight why they have a reputation of being an amazing live band. The way Connor engages the crowd with his deep lyrics by singing them in ecstasy or by just throwing the lyrics in the face of the fans close enough to trip him if they wanted to is uncontested by almost all bands out there. Of course the intimacy of the venue helped a lot here, but you can't help but melt when he hands over the microphone for a fan to scream the finishing parts of "A Torrid Love Affair".

The band put on a fantastic display as well, with not a single member standing still on stage at any given time. There was constant headbanging, throwing around of guitars and jumping - just like it should be in all gigs. Danish bands have a lot to learn as I am yet to see a single band to perform such stunts on stage. This combined with an excellent setlist didn't leave a doubt in anyone's mind whether or not this was a great concert. Songs all the way from their debut EP were featured, and the set overall was well balanced between all of their recordings, tickling the eardrums of the whole crowd, who evidently knew everything the band has ever released. This was a die-hard fan show from the absolute upper ranges. The screams in "Purging" were delivered with passion and intensity, and the fan-favorite "Composing" finished the show off with everyone in sight singing along at full volume - what an ironic end to the show when everyone is singing "It's all about the song in my head, the one where the audience is all dead". My initial fears of how the "Trainwreck" songs would work live when separated from each other vanished together with the concept when each song worked just as well individually as they do as a whole on the album. And just to top off the genuine passion for fans and their music, the band didn't mind having people stagejump or fill the stage grabbing members of the band mid-song, and even Connor himself did a couple of stage jumps. A fantastic show, with the only finger pointing going for Barfly's stupid time slot schedule which forced the band only to play 45 minutes instead of their desired full hour.

Setlist:

  • 1. The First Time Shouldn't Taste Like Blood
  • 2. Purging
  • 3. The Only Honest Love Song
  • 4. Dreaming
  • 5. Waking
  • 6. New Song
  • 7. I Was The Devil For One Afternoon
  • 8. Medicating
  • 9. I Got Punched In The Nose For Sticking My Face In Other People's Business
  • 10. A Torrid Love Affair
  • 11. New Song
  • 12. Composing

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