Saturday, 20 June 2015

Stupidity at Garageland, The Unicorn Camden June 12th

Stupidity photographed by Paul Slattery
Despite the somewhat bizarre coincidence surrounding my first encounter with Stupidity drummer and all round nice guy Tommy Sjöström, actually it was outside the ladies toilets in the Galeries Lafayette department store in Nice of all places ('s a long story...) this was the very first time I had seen the band play. Noting on the venue web-site that the live music curfew was 11pm I thought it was worth heading out on the long trek up to London to The Unicorn in Camden as I didn’t want to miss this rare visit of the Stockholm based Stupidity to our shores. Unfortunately, as it turned out, the band didn’t take the stage until just before 11pm which means that I can't review the whole gig as I had to rush off to catch the last train home. The late start was particularly annoying as the crowd had noticeably thinned out and I think Stupidity deserved much more. Anyway, the 30 or so minutes I did manage to see made it all worthwhile in the end, even more so as entrance to the Garageland Club night was free which is always a very welcome bonus.

Stupidity photographed by Paul Slattery
Stupidity have been getting a lot of support from Little Steven van Zandt and his Underground Garage radio show in the States which also led to them being featured in the TV series “Lilyhammer”, as Little Steven not only stars in the show but is the music director too. Stupidity are also good mates with The Fleshtones and guitarist Keith Streng has appeared on the band’s album "Move". Thinking about it, they have a lot in common with The Fleshtones as they both have that raw R’n’B tinged Garage Rock sound, although Stupidity have a bit more of a harder and Punkier edge. I’m pleased to say that tonight it was confirmed that the emphasis on live performance and the importance of putting on a great show is also something that is shared by both bands.

Tommy from Stupidity photographed by Paul Slattery
Stupidity photographed by Paul Slattery
First of all Tommy and bassist Miss Anna appear and start playing, then a guitar suddenly rings out from behind me and guitarist PA and vocalist Erniz push through the audience, take the stage and they all burst into the Stooges style riffing of the brilliant "On Fire" from the new album "Fore", it’s quite an entrance. Erniz is a great front-man, clutching his microphone stand he leans right out into the audience; his voice is impressively raw as though he’s just swallowed a handful of razor blades, smoked a pack of Gauloises and then gargled with a beaker of Jack Daniels. PA’s stuttering Fender Stratocaster reminds me a bit of Wilko Johnson in places and the rhythm section of Tommy (dubbed Sweden’s Clem Burke…) and Miss Anna, with her cool Flying V bass, are tight and powerful. "Girl Named Moe" with it's crunching stop-start chords is one of the highlights along with the sinister "Baby It's You". I'm pleased I get to hear the tuneful "Rum and Gone" and "City Boy" played live as they are two of my favourite Stupidity tracks, but then I have to make a dash for the exit. Unfortunately, I missed the encore which featured Mike Spenser from The Cannibals and Count Bishops joining the band on stage for a cover of The Standells’ classic “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White”. Ah well, next time I’ll make sure I stay in town so I don’t miss a beat.

Stupidity photographed by Paul Slattery
Miss Anna Palmer from Stupidity photographed by Paul Slattery
With thanks to Paul Slattery for the excellent photographs. For more pics of the gig then please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and if you are not already following, hit “Like” for access to the photo album. There are videos of two songs filmed at the gig up now at the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel too. If that's not enough then Stupidity also feature in a couple of episodes of our Retrosonic Podcast such as Episode 15 below. Our archive is available to listen to or download for free from Soundcloud or you can subscribe for free at the iTunes strore.

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