Spoof style bands often don’t stay around for long, they put out a few songs then disappear into the ether of the ‘could have, should have’ complex. However, its not often that you see a spoof style band sell out the Club Academy Manchester, which is exactly what was witnessed on Friday 12th October. Evil Scarecrow (9) are lost in Antartartica, with nothing but a 13 track set, a stage prop igloo and some other friends to help them. So Evil Scarecrow, why did you go to Antartartica, the coldest place on earth?
Despite being a band since 2002, Evil Scarecrow made waves with their early 2014 Bloodstock set, enticing a huge turnout, with a pretty entertaining sight of scuttling metalheads, another sight to witness at their shows. Opening the set with ‘Way To Die’, featuring on their newest album Antartartica, its clear the band have a very enthusiastic audience ready and waiting. Donning their classic ghostly stage makeup and new stage additions, following tracks ‘Skulls Of Our Enemies’ and ‘End Level Boss’ have little extra personalised touches to them. From giant drum playing skulls to a literal boss level fight with Link from Legend Of Zelda, the dynamic quintet are dedicated to their stage performances (as are the loyal stage crew with the daunting task of such a performance). Through the bands more popular tracks, older releases still remain true through the set with ‘Robototron’ and ‘Blacken The Everything’ making appearances in the gigs set. To make it clear, the audience knew what was coming, personalised robot costume heads floating among the audience there’s no denying that some old hits had to make the cut.
Yet, through the spoof tracks, silly antics and jokes, there truly is a deep side to the group. ‘The Ballad Of Brother Pain’ saw a darker side of the band and stage, while the audiences fuelled the beautiful ballad with torches and lighters. On a slightly warmer, more serious note, it is quite respectable how the group can tone down the tracks, getting the audience to sing and move through the saddened acoustic guitar and slower vocal aspects. Another song deeply routed in what the band describe as ‘politics and love and stuff’ (very important) is ‘Cosmos Goth Moth Gong’, something even fans were brought into with each respective left and right side chanting Cos-Mos-Goth-Moth-Gong in perfect timing.
The question remains, what would Evil Scarecrow be without possibly their most well known track of all, ‘Crabulon’? With people holding inflatable crabs at the show, this song is clearly a hit and it must be said, it was performed extremely well. Not only were the audience in perfect synchronicity with each other, scuttling left and right but so were the band, managing to play almost perfectly with the distracting amusement of the raging crowd in front of them. Even managing to upkeep the energy and stage movement with a literal raging crab behind them, its quite a sight, an impressive sight indeed. Most of the band-audience interaction is already known, but this still doesn’t take away from the extreme connection between the two. Whether its recently added dance battle or a friendly shouting of ‘EGGS!’ and ‘HOWEVER!’, you really can’t beat the interaction these guys have with their audiences. Hell, the band even got the audience to shout ‘you bastard’ at temporary ‘goose’ keyboardist Chucky The Bastard and honk at him. Bonus points must be added for that inclusion.
As much as the band may want to appear jokey and spoof-like, they do have an air of seriousness deep down. Yes they play 10 minute song ‘Antartartica’, a track they aren’t even sure why they made so long’ to ‘close’ the set, but the skill to which they play and set their stage design, setlist and interactions are that of a serious band. Closing on the Antartartica singles ‘Polterghost’ and ‘Hurricanado’, the band (and audience) are swept away into a spirling cylinder of spinning movement. Literally.
Evil Scarecrow aren’t for everyone, but they are sure as hell a fun band to watch. Can you rate them on the same level as incredibly professional, super serious strict bands? No, but who would want to? Lost In Antartartica was far from a cold spell and if anything brought a true warmth to the show. Eggs!