The Gay Blades review: 02 Academy

Posted on 24 August 2009
By Andy Johnson
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Before swaggering out on stage Clark lovingly straps a ring of roses to his microphone which perfectly captures the dynamic between their melodic trash pop and engaging humour.

Drummer Puppy Mills said he never really knows what’s going to happen when singer Clark Westfield opens his mouth, which keeps it exciting for him and the crowd.

The Gay Blades performance has the raw, stripped down energy of The White Stripes mixed with the comedic anarchy of an early Blues Brothers Saturday Night Live sketch.

This hotly tipped New York duo tried valiantly to energise the crowd with their stomping beats and roaring riffs of O Shot.

But although they have supported Tricky in London they are yet to win over the masses with their edgy wit and in your face shock rock.

They opened with ‘Hey She Say’ then the poppy ‘n.h.d.n.’ (Not Having Done Nothing), before Clark tore into the audience: “Fuck you guys! Did you come here to party or stand here?”

Picking on one young lad in the front row: “What’s your name son? Reagan? This is Brother Reagan.

“Brother Reagan wants you to put your cigarette-stained left hand in the air. Do it… this is for brotherhood and Reagan.

“Now put your other yellow-stained paw in the air and clap along like this…”

Without missing a beat Pups broke into a pounding rhythm and Clark belted out ‘O Shot’ while the crowd happy-clapped along in harmony.

Winning over a crowd like this is impressive and Clark has certainly got the confidence to take on the world, although bandmate Pups did say a similar routine got him in trouble back in New Jersey.

Post-gig, Puppy said: “He did the same thing back home once and got punched in the face.

“We were playing at a church hall with a bunch of kids and the guy who got chosen didn’t like it and called his older brother or cousin or something to come beat him up.

“But ten minutes later he came back and explained his friends egged him on, said the show was good fun and apologised.”

Cue the interim music – a totally gay disco soundtrack – and Gloria Gaynor’s classic ‘I Will Survive,’ and Clark sings along for the new fans he’s just won as he packs up his roses before White Denim and Cage The Elephant took to the stage to hype the crowd up again.