November 14, 2014
Camden Barfly sees a capacity crowd grace its floor for Eureka Machines. Louder Than War’s Martin Haslam was once again there to report.
It seems like a year since I last saw Eureka Machines live, but it was only this spring at The Borderline. Then, I had a ‘Golden Ticket’ which entitled the lucky owner to a pre-gig acoustic set and cuppa with the band (all for the price of the previous years’ entry price). You see; Eureka Machines treat their fans well, and are treated accordingly.
Therefore, the night before the Barfly gig, when the band launched their second Pledge Music (see www.pledgemusic.com) appeal to fund their fourth album ‘Brain Waves’, they reached 100% of their goal in 80 minutes. Thinking that people might feel a bit “Pledged Out” and having set their total a bit higher to cover dvd costs and exclusive packaging, the band wondered if this would affect their appeal. Rest assured lads; the previous campaign for ‘Remain In Hope’ meant that we plucky followers knew we were in for a treat. For that one, we got video updates including a guitar tutorial which inadvertently saw me learning some new chords (thanks Chris), two acoustic mini-albums and a rousing cover of ‘Heroes’. This time round, Pledgers get immediate access to a four-track covers e.p of their favourite Eighties songs. You want them? Then Pledge now!
The Barfly is suitably packed-out tonight, so less time to chat to the band but first support band Seven Cities don’t disappoint, with a set comprised of stadium-sized melodies. They rock out to end their set, but for me, I preferred the slower, brooding songs.
Next up are the darkly arch Scaramanga Six, mutual friends of EM and including original bassist Steven Morricone. I’ve got their ‘Cursed’ album from 2011 which is good but didn’t prepare me for the sonic onslaught tonight, leaving me partially deaf in one ear. Should’ve brought the ear plugs. They veer from grandly melodic to scarily confrontational, the latter often due to Steven’s vocals and presence. See ‘You Should Have Killed Me When You Had The Chance’ for proof. They played a few songs from this years’ ‘Scenes Of Mild Peril’, including gems like ‘The Man Who Couldn’t Sing’ and ‘Arabella’, which I will now have to buy. Damn you! I probably eat too much anyway. I think I heard ‘Misadventure’ (didn’t see set list), which was a fantastic tune.
And so, the faithful are ready and like previous EM gigs, I pay no heed to my ‘job’ and ignore noting the set list. I simply revel in being a fan and immerse myself in the live experience of Eureka Machines. All of us here know that the tunes will be brilliant, even the new ones. And, once again, I look around and see that practically everyone is singing along to every song. There’s classics from each album; ‘Champion The Underdog’, ‘These Are The People Who Live In My House’, ‘Scream Eureka’, ‘Pop Star’. As catchy as Madness or Squeeze at their best but blessed with their own sound, you need to see Eureka Machines live to fully appreciate their tunes and power. Newies ‘Welcome To My Shangri-La’ and ‘Television’ already sound great and I now impatiently await ‘Brain Waves’ like a stroppy teenager. Not bad for a bald, middle-aged fart.
Eschewing the ‘encore’ debacle of most bands, they simply play on, finishing with the huge ‘Zero Hero’. They are the underdogs made good; the band who don’t want a rock star boundary between them and us, so there isn’t one. All that and Chris will be raffling his beloved Ibanez Ice Man as part of the Pledge. You never know; it could be me…
All words and photos by Martin Haslam. More from Martin can be found at his Louder Than War Author’s Archive.