Louder Than War’s Martin Haslam takes his ‘Golden Ticket’ down to the Borderline, London to review the sold out show from Eureka Machines.
There’s a lot of room in my heart for Eureka Machines, and for a number of reasons. ‘Remain In Hope’ was the first album I reviewed for Louder Than War; Chris Catalyst was the first person I interviewed and has proven to be as kind and generous with his time as I’d heard he was.
However, the main reason I hold them in such high esteem is simple; they write fantastic songs and are quite possibly the best live band in Britain right now.
May 4th 2013, I attended my first EM gig. I’d seen the video for ‘Pop Star’ and pledged for the ‘Remain In Hope’ album on the strength of this. It didn’t let me down. I was amazed that it had taken me this long to search out their music, already being familiar with Chris’ work with Ginger Wildheart..
I knew all the words to ‘Remain In Hope’, but it was clear that the majority of the crowd that night knew every song from all three albums. Fast forward 10 months and so do I. ‘Remain In Hope’ has now scooped ‘Album Of The Year’ at the Pure Rawk Awards, with Eureka Machines also winning ‘Best Band’ and Chris as ‘Best Front Person’. And you STILL haven’t heard them? Well, I forgive you, like the crowd forgave me last year.
I’m here tonight with my Golden Ticket; this allows the lucky punter to have a cuppa and biscuits with the band and watch an ‘almost acoustic’ set by Chris and Davros prior to the main doors opening. All this for the same standard entry price as last year’s gig. They’ve put the standard entry down to £9 tonight, continuing in their quest to provide something special for their followers. I’d say “fans” but with Eureka Machines there’s no egos and no barrier between either of us. It really does feel like a community of like-minded music lovers.
Chris and Davros’ set was a fittingly intimate start to proceedings, with Wayne and Pete on tea-serving duty. My personal highlight was ‘The One Who Wouldn’t Change You’; a beautiful song. “Say that you’ll stay and we’ll grow young and grey”.
The Role Models were next on. Their singer/guitarist is also in The Loyalties, who supported here last year. Here, his genuine American accent gives a hint of Tom Petty fronting The Undertones. No bad thing(sorry I forgot your name).
And so, onto the main event. I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I last saw them; too long. They open with ‘Champion The Underdog’ and everyone’s happy. It feels so good to sing along, and no one seems annoyed that I carried on all night. There’s also a pleasing absence of people talking loudly at the bar; it’s sold out tonight and everyone wants to be here. Some have travelled from Japan just for this gig, others from across the U.K. This is when a band knows they’re doing something right.
So many great songs; ‘Do Or Die’, ‘Pop Star’, ‘Affluenza’, ‘None Of the Above’. No egos= no encore, so the band stay on. When Chris talks about the low point of two years ago, playing to eight people, it seems almost impossible. The thought that they came close to calling it a day is quite emotional, especially as this turned around via everyone in this room and the Pledge Music campaign.
It ends with the mighty ‘Zero Hero’. Smiles all round, a signed poster, a quick cheeky biscuit and off home with a head full of melodies and some precious memories. Lads, you’ve done it again.
All words by Martin Haslam. More work by Martin can be found in his Louder Than War archive.