The Urban Voodoo Machine
Glasgow ABC
1 June 2012

After all these years and hundreds of gigs, it’s rare for a band to shake me quite the way The Urban Voodoo Machine did last night.

The London-based nine-piece inhabit a weird, surreal Noo Orleans world where the ghosts of Dr.John, John Lee Hooker and vaudeville orchestras do battle with stomping rockabilly-style swamprock.

Unashamedly theatrical and sheer good fun, The UVM throw themselves around the cramped ABC stage with wild abandon. Lead singer and mainman Paul -Ronney Angel careers amongst the other musicians howling his blues-infused juke joint vocals as a fusillade of mayhem unfolds around him.

This is a band that has a virtually indescribable sound. Think spaghetti western meets The Clash at the wildest funeral you’ve ever been at and you’re still not that close.

Guitarist Nick Marsh (formerly of glam punks Flesh For Lulu) shears diamond-cutting licks from his guitar as Dr Llloyd Gomez-DeVille supplies soul-searing brass stabs. Two lunatic drummers (playing one kit) thunder and rattle blitzkrieg style at the back. Big Slim and Barney Hollington provide accordion and demented violin respectively. Glaswegian sax player and occasional vocalist Lucifire fuels the madness by encouraging crowd participation throughout the set.

Heroin Put My Brothers In The Ground from current album In Black And Red has the crowd call-and response going straight away. It sounds like an Elmore Leonard novel gate-crashing the most riotous party in town.

Cheers For The Tears continues the high energy assault with The Rev. Gavin’s solid double basskeeping the band grounded. Angel leads his colleagues into a bit of Gary Glitter’s Rock And Roll Pt1 before it dissolves into a Ramones singalong at the end.

The sheer physical energy that The UVM put into a performance is staggering. The band leave the stage literally sweat soaked.

It’s a pity that they didn’t have a bigger crowd tonight as this was without doubt my gig of the year so far. The people that were there, however, witnessed a truly remarkable show. With another album out next year, The UVM deserve to be playing to huge crowds. If tonight isanything to go by, it won’t be long.

Do yourself a favour. Get along to the Gypsy Hotel. It’s a crazy place.

All words by Joe Whyte. You can read more from Joe on Louder Than War here.

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Joe Whyte is guitarist with punk rockin' Johnny Cash tribute Jericho Hill and reformed 70's punks Reaction. He has formerly played with End Result, Reverend Snakehips Country Messiahs, God-Fearing Atheists and many, many other failed attempts at rock notoriety. Joe also writes for Vive Le Rock and Louder Than War magazine. He lives in Glasgow and in his other less glamorous life works in mental health.


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