Fuckface Unstoppable, In The Hills, Pump Action Radio
Bournemouth O2 Academy – 14th July 2013
Review by Nicholas Holmes
Photos by Tess Donohoe – www.tessdonohoe.com
The Dorset seaside town of Bournemouth has a reputation for old folks retiring to see out their doting years. One area, Boscombe, has been infamous for its population of drunks and drugged-up lunatics. The latter is the perfect backdrop for a gig by former Jackass star Bam Margera’s vanity project Fuckface Unstoppable. This bizarre prospect was popular enough to be upgraded to a venue more than double the original size. But would it prove to be shit-faced unwatchable?
The night kicked off with local hopefuls Pump Action Radio, whose style is catchy pop punk with added heavy bass. A strong American influence was clear (think New Found Glory, etc) but with infectious choruses reminiscent of The Wildhearts. Their short and confident set drew a good crowd reaction and they certainly won some new fans.
Over the last 15 months In The Hills debuted opening for Red Fang and Black Tusk, played with Prong and Viking Skull and self-released their own EP. Made up of several Dorset metal scene stalwarts, at this show they moved up a level to say the least. Burly frontman Choff had the curious audience already rapt with his opening comments, “We don’t do pop punk. We’re gonna clear this place in five minutes. We’re heavier than your nan’s colostomy bag!”
The music is indeed heavy as fuck. A jarring mix of eerie melodies, shredding riffs and topped with Choff’s often agonising screams and roars. He doesn’t sound so much angry as in tangible pain of some kind and he stormed around the stage bellowing out tracks including “Season of the Witch” and “Brought In By The Sea”.
They also had a large video screen displaying sinister images and film clips to cement the atmosphere. A Wicker Man sound snippet and video was particularly effective and the initially curious became loudly appreciative. Choff tempered the dark moods with good patter. “You’re lucky! I was gonna put my granny porn on! Like the golden girls on crack!” A pause for a technical hitch led to a “Happy Birthday” sing-a-long for a young fan before Choff added, “We will fucking embarrass you! We can do bar mitzvahs and other celebrations. Circumcisions too!” Then something about knives and Lorraine Chase.
Frontman perversions aside, In The Hills looked very comfortable on a bigger stage. They are not a schlock band at all. There is something genuinely different about their brooding and at times truly unsettling approach.
Then it was back to abominable cheesy pop blaring over the PA as numerous young women became increasingly excitable about the imminent Bam Margera. The one-time Jackass pretty boy and HIM/Ville Valo über-fan had inspired beer throwing and broken glass around the place before he’d even emerged. Things were about to get ‘stoopid’.
The headline performance began with pure aural hell. Pro skater and prank monkey extraordinaire Brandon Novak. Screaming karaoke over the actual Phil Collins track “In The Air Tonight”. Where’s avowed PC fan Patrick Bateman when you need him?
Heavy bass and rhythms kicked in heralding the arrival of Bam, whose appearance was akin to one of the local Boscombe bums. Puffy-faced, unwashed, hoodied and clearly in an altered state he admitted having just got up. That was obvious. However, once he got going he showed surprising competence at making a racket with his buddies, several of whom are members of CKY. A specially retarded form of rap metal with added shit-sprinkles of dubstep here and there.
It was like watching a frat boy party on a stage. Banter about French kissing security. Homophobic insults. Name checking each other regularly. Throwing beer around. Mooning. It made Limp Bizkit look like intellectuals. Nearly.
The hour-long set was mostly covers, Clutch covers to be precise. Turbonegro’s “All My Friends Are Dead” and The Bloodhound Gang’s “Ballad of Chasey Lain” were also aired, inspiring drunken sing-songs. FU’s own material takes a cue from both those bands and then sinks to previously unchartered depths. “Little Dick”, roared to the tune of “little pig, little pig…” brought back shudder-inducing memories of the 90s novelty record by Green Jelly. With added bell-end factor. No comment is necessary on a song that is built around the mantra “I want to bend my dick round the back of my ass so I can fuck myself!!!!!” Repeated over and over again. Ad nauseam.
The many females in the crowd loved it. Their screams were similar to that of a McFly concert or something. There really is no accounting for taste and they were left hungry for more. No encore, presumably so Bam and his motley crew could get even more trashed and/or go back to bed.
It would be easy to simply dismiss and slag off Margera, but if an audience is willing to pay to see this kind of thing then it makes sense to make hay. It might not be big or clever on most levels, but wouldnt many of us do similar if we could get away with it? Be honest! The last word to ol’ fuckface can only really be, “Fair fucks!”
Pump Action Radio
In The Hills
Bournemouth O2 Academy: