London Camden Underworld

Maybe it's been worthwhile after all.

Urusei Yatsura are only one song into their set, and already Fergus Lawrie is mashing his guitar against a mic stand, while Graham Kemp hammers at his with a drum-stick. Bassist Elaine Graham does her best to concentrate on the task in hand, and her brother Ian flails wildly at his drumkit. It’s chaos.

On record, these lo-fi noiseniks may be a little bit too ironic and kitschy, but live they are a fireball of intensity. Much of tonight’s set is culled from ace new LP ‘Everybody Loves Urusei Yatsura’, and Lawrie and Kemp share the vocal chores. Their styles are like chalk and cheese: Lawrie comes on all arch and knowing on the Pavement-esque likes of ‘Faking It’ and ‘Kubrick In Town’, while his evil twin Kemp is far more aggressive, ripping through ‘Silver Dragon’ and ‘Thank You’ like a ginger-haired Black Francis. But it’s the serrated majesty of older songs like ‘Plastic Ashtray’ that really slays the Underworld, and a euphoric ‘Glo Starz’ even incites some dodgy looking goth types to invade the stage.

“Gimme money, gimme fame” pleads Lawrie on ‘Louche 33’, but after seven long years on the indie toilet-circuit, he’s unlikely to achieve either. Even so, there’s a wonderful moment during the evergreen ‘Strategic Hamlets’ when he surveys the writhing moshpit at his feet and cracks a broad grin of vindication. Maybe it’s been worthwhile after all.

Niall O’Keefe