Live Review: Demob Happy - The Garage, London 01/03/2019

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To round off what has been their biggest headline tour to date, Demob Happy played a sold-out show at The Garage last Friday night.

With entrancing and exciting performances from support bands Heirloom and Sick Joy, it goes without saying that the crowd were amped up with hot anticipation and when Demob Happy came on stage, there was a roar of excitement and a distinct raise in temperature. Opening with the gritty bass-heavy ‘Succubus’ meant that Demob Happy wasted no time in warming up those who had come to see them. The set was the perfect balance between newer songs from their latest release ‘Holy Doom’ and 2015’s ‘Dream Soda’ – the setlist often alternated between a selection of the two. Dancing and head-banging around the stage, singer/bassist Matthew Marcantonio invited the crowd to join him in dancing to ‘Loosen It’ and offered to warm up anybody who wasn’t already feeling it, before performing the psychedelic warp-hole of ‘Spinning Out’ which has the dizzying feel of a part-two to Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘Sick Sick Sick’.

It must be noted that Demob Happy sound a lot heavier live, than they do in the studio – the crowd’s willing ease to mosh around reflects this. Even in the funkier tones of ‘Wash It Down’ there is a weight to the wall of noise that comes at the crowd. It’s like that feeling of when you’re intoxicated and your head feels really light and high, but your body wants to sink into the floor. ‘Liar In Your Head’ and ‘Holy Doom’ were the perfect timeless tracks to bookend the performance of ‘Runnin’ Around’ which saw drummer Thomas Armstrong take lead vocals. It is truly a sight to see where all three members of a band have outstanding vocals that harmonise so effortlessly, especially when you notice that Thomas normally does all of the screaming parts – how he manages to continue drumming like a beast whilst growling like one is beyond my comprehension!

‘Junk DNA’ brought the show into its closing stages. Its multi-layered elements of grunge, big metal riffs and creepy goth vibe translated so cleanly when played live: even with a slightly chaotic vibe running through it. The chaos only amplified when ‘Be Your Man’ came with a snippet of The Beatles’ Helter Skelter. There was crowd-surfing, fist-pumping and many voices screaming the lyrics back at the band. Matthew noted that they have been playing gigs in London for 10 years and that this was the best show they’ve ever done. By the reaction of the crowd, and in my own opinion, it really felt like they had achieved something special. 

Words by Tyler Damara Kelly and Photography by Alfie Drake