Mad For The Racket: London Camden Dingwalls

The glory days happened a long time ago. And my does it show...

Onstage are four men who are reasonably deserving of more than a footnote in rock’n’roll’s checkered history. But just as footnotes bring to mind weighty tomes detailing the past, for three of those onstage, the glory days happened a long time ago. And my does it show.

One of them, MC5’s Wayne Kramer, should be dead, while the man with whom he swaps lead vocals, The Damned’s Brian James, looks as though he actually is. Clem Burke of Blondie has morphed into a rock version of Dale Winton, while Mani, filling the boots tonight of Duff McKagan, looks, as ever, just like Mani. That he has the air of a favourite nephew helping out his once-cool uncle’s band at a family wedding is telling. He smiles and nods and mouths “Come on” in all the right places, but it really is just to convince himself and keep the old guys sweet.

Still, Mad For The Racket gamely attempt to reclaim a little righteous rock fire. They bravely work through tracks from new album ‘The Racketeers’ with angry intent. But it’s never going to work – the songs are blurry facsimiles of former glories and don’t stand up, spiky guitar attitude rock without any attitude and no real spike.

At the encore, Wayne Kramer informs all that Bobby Gillespie is about to join them onstage. As Gillespie shows no sign of budging and it becomes abundantly clear that so it shall remain, the requests to “get up here” turn to pleading and a resigned Kramer, almost apologetically, begins ‘Kick Out The Jams’. It turns to be a fine judgement call by Bobby, because rather than a visceral, rabbit-punching call to arms, as brought to whole new generation so adroitly by Primal Scream, it mutates into a lumpen, unholy 10 minute mulch. A jam, in fact.

It is Mad For The Racket’s second ever gig. Already that is looking like two shows too many. Some things should be left well alone.

Paul McNamee