Evil Scarecrow, Voodoo Lounge Dublin, February 2nd 2019

© Olga Kuzmenko

What better way to lift spirits after Ireland’s home defeat to England in their first game of the Six Nations championship than a healthy dose of fun-filled metal in the Voodoo Lounge and some lovely cans? Previously described as “the Saturday morning cartoons of heavy metal”, Nottingham-based Evil Scarecrow have made their much-awaited return to Dublin after more than three years. With their new(ish) album Chapter IV: Antartarctica [sic] building on the success of their previous release Galactic Hunt, the frivolous five-piece have brought more stage props and gimmicks than you can shake a stick at. So much so, that tonight’s show was bumped from On The Rox to the larger downstairs venue to accommodate their peculiar paraphernalia.

An oversized igloo dominates more than half of the stage, leaving barely enough space for the drumkit of Ringmaster Monty Blitzfist on the other side. After a recorded intro comprised of ‘The Kiss’ from the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack followed by a teaser of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song’, Dr. Hell, Brother Pain, Kraven Morrdeth and Chucky the Bastard squeeze through to the front of the stage and kick into ‘Way to Die’ and ‘Skulls of our Enemies’. Both may be from the new album, but front-row fans already know the words and are singing along. It’s a gentle warm-up for them, with compulsory audience participation expected as the show goes on.

Pausing to greet the Dublin crowd, Dr. Hell laments the prohibitive expense of travelling to Ireland for this final show on the tour. “Fuck the Rugby”, he grumbles, “it cost us 800 quid to get here. That’s about 4000 Euro!”. Ironically, his light-hearted gripe about the cost for UK bands to play here may be a taste of things to come thanks to the royal mess that is Brexit!

Side-scrolling, Eighties 8-bit-inspired ‘End Level Boss’ is up next and gives the audience their first opportunity to join in by jumping, hitting, dodging and hitting some more. No rest for the wicked, as ‘Robototron’ keeps them animated with more synchronised choreography. Dr. Hell and his face-painted brethren struggle to keep straight faces whilst they enable the pantomime-like participation from the normally-oh-so-serious metal community before them. This “Blue Peter Metal Band” have somehow managed to find a perfect middle ground between nerdiness, nostalgia, humour, and genuinely catchy riffs and lyrics. The modest audience that have come out for tonight’s early show are thoroughly enjoying themselves, and frankly it’s a shame that so many people are still Evil Scarecrow virgins.

The pace slows down with tear-jerker ‘Blacken the Everything’ and ‘The Ballad of Brother Pain’, which came to Dr. Hell in a dream and is a new departure for the band. He informs us that the next song is the title track from their latest album and is a ten-minute long prog epic, “so if you need a poo, now’s a good time to go”. Almost every song has some sort of custom-built stage prop or costume-wearing extra making an appearance, and none is more iconic than the mighty crablord ‘Crabulon’. Of course, much scuttling and claw-pinching ensue, and the ludicrous chanting of the lone lyric “Eggs” prevents anyone from keeping a straight face. HOWEVER… no matter how many times I’ve seen this act, I never tire of the silliness. The silliness that continues and culminates with the finale of ‘Polterghost’ and ‘Hurricanado’, leaving everyone dizzy and delighted.

With Steel Panther playing Vicar Street on Tuesday and Wednesday it’s a good week for parody metal in Dublin. Don’t miss Evil Scarecrow at Bloodstock in August. If their last appearance in 2016 is anything to go by, it’s going to be one of the most talked about slots at the festival.

B.Y.O.C. (Bring Your Own Crabs)

Review by Alan Daly.

Photography by Olga Kuzmenko

Full Gallery Of The Night HERE

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