Review: The Drellas & The Dead Class

Posted on 28 October 2009
By Amy Roberts
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The Dead Class make me wish I hadn’t wasted so many years pissing time away with education. No, it’s clear to me now that what I should have placed my full concentration on from 16 onwards was pissing people off, waking up in the gutter at least once a week and punk fucking rock. Bollocks.

This life-crushing epiphany hits me during the feral yelps that bolt out of the dry-fuzz Dead Kennedys-esque ‘Pulse And A Heartache’, though their entire set cements the idea that we might just all be better off quitting our bloody jobs, getting back on the Buckfast and play-fighting with our nearest and dearest to furious, howling, acerbic noise 24/7. Yes, please.

‘Mrs Donkey’ and ‘Age Of Paranoia’ – roaring, wonderfully shabby trophies of near-buckling punk perfection, are proofs of The Dead Class’ prowess for performance – full of pulverizing, addictive bass-lines, skin-splitting drums and croaking, charismatic vocals that scream, chant and wail throughout.

With mimic guest spots from what is essentially the very, very poor man’s mysterious ‘V’ character from V for Vendetta (frankly, the budget won’t stretch as far as a snazzy suit, a Guy Fawkes mask and some fun anti-government terrorism – instead we’ll give you a blank mask, a boiler suit and a novelty monkey man pounch to strip down to. Trust us, ‘the peoples gonna loves it’), and Spongebob Squarepants (Drella’s drummer Alan Jones in an admirably painted box) which also sees a wonderfully shambolic cover of ‘My Girl’ distorted into a clumsy but surprisingly endearing ‘My Spongebob’.

Yes the whole thing is a little juvenile, but fuck it, save your immaturity-intolerance for your monday night book club and get involved.

The Drellas then, are a little more serious than their support act would have you believe. Well, serious in the same way that a Judge Dredd comic or a raptor in a leotard is serious – yes, it could blow/tear your bloody head off, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a massive shit-eating grin on your face while it happens.

Sounding like the scuzzy underbelly of Liverpool has grown a pair of jaws, indulged in the whole back catalogue of X-Ray Spex and gargled with a bottle of bootleg whiskey, The Drellas are on cherry-on-top form.

The crowd are enchanted from the offset. Twitching about the place and crushing forward for a closer look – it isn’t long before every body in the building is entranced and united in a bolting-fury of merriment and action.

Their set is varied and wonderfully degenerative. It bounds from the snide-disco-snarls of ‘Cash Converters’ to the cheery-anthemics of ‘Burn Down The School’, and finishes somewhere around the foreboding thrash shackles of ‘Violence Is Art.’

The Drellas use of treble vocals and an instrumentally-ambidextrous approach to their music gives them an exciting and unpredictable edge which is theatrical, mirthful and occasionally macabre and melancholic.

There’s a sublimely gothic dirge mid-set which should by all accounts drag down the upbeat and enlivening aspects of their sound, but doesn’t, if anything it balances them out and cements their sound as an adventurous melange of the dark and the brutal.

The Drellas, in short, are deftly irresistible. Their sound is characteristic of a number of sounds currently dominating the local music scene – at times it sounds like a celebration of the city and its creativity, past and present – however, it’s performed with the sort of joy, experience and skill that puts them very near the top of a scene often far too saturated with people who’re clearly doing it just to mindlessly, like, look cool. Or whatever.

Also, high fives all round to Tommy Scott – leopard print is the fucking way forward, my good man.