Thrash metal loons from Virginia dressed in shark suits. What’s not to like?

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Municipal Waste, Underworld, London; Friday August 10


Municipal Waste, Underworld, London; Friday August 10

“Remorseless killer digests the deceased!” cries the drunk idiot onstage. “The terror shark!” chant his drunk idiot bandmates. “Humans are helpless to this mighty beast!” he continues. “The terror shark!” add his bandmates. Then a man dressed in a shark costume does a backflip off a 12-foot speaker stack and someone stood next to NME pukes on his feet. Parteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

In credibility terms, you can file thrash metal right next to Ethiopian jazz fusion and any record ever made featuring saxophone. It’s a music largely played by drunk idiots who look like they’ve been dressed by blind idiots, and features subject matter on zombies, nuclear meltdowns and, yup, sharks. All this goes some way to explaining why it makes us want to pour beer on our head and do somersaults off speaker stacks. It’s also essentially why, right now, Richmond, Virginia four-piece Municipal Waste are the best party band in the world.

Beloved by the likes of Klaxons and CSS, tonight, the parallels between those bands and these gloriously inane idiots are clear to see. This is a celebration of fun and escapism, a suspension of reality and responsibility, and a place where 300 drunks collectively say, “Sure, the world will end in nuclear war and we’re all going to spend our last moments having our faces eaten by zombies, but there’s time for another pint, right?” ‘Headbanger Face Rip’ and ‘Unleash The Bastards’ sound like two-minute bursts of pure, aural fun, with guitars that come on like snarling aliens and drums that rattle like PCP-dipped rattlesnakes. Despite this being a sold out show, there are at least three occasions where there are more people onstage than off. Sure, there’s going to be one hell of a hangover in the morning, but for now, where’s that shark suit?

James McMahon