Nu-punk hopefuls The Living End just about deliver enough sub-Clash thrills...
They should of course be called The Not-As-Good Australian Clash, or Clash Downunder, because there’s more than a slight hint of tribute band worship in The Living End’s workaday set. There’s a big difference between wearing your influences on your sleeve, and wearing the full Clash cap-sleeved T-shirt, and Melbourne’s rockabilly heroes seem to have brought the altar with them, stopping off at a Green Day temple on the way.
Thus, predictably, Knaack is brimming with every misfit Berlin has to offer – 5 teenage punks to every greased extra from Rocket From The Crypt: The Movie. Firmly from the “We’ve got a new album out, and this one’s called…” school of personality, The Living End don’t really get going until the end of their set. Everything that goes before, from album title track ‘Roll On’ and ‘West End Riot’, to the tempo-changes of ‘Uncle Harry’, are just standard punk political broadcasts circa ‘London Calling’. When they threaten to get mildly interesting, in the galloping rhythms of ‘Revolution Regained’ or the metal riffery of ‘Don’t Shut the Gate’, they bizarrely blow it all by dissolving into mid-song (jazz) jam sessions.
To their credit, they look like they mean it all the way, and you could clean a ’57 Thunderbird with the amount of sweat pouring from singer Chris Cheney’s forehead. Scott Owen, too, does a neat trick of spinning on his double bass while playing, but they look as if they’ve lived just a little too heavily through the eras they’re apeing.
The crowd, though, love every second, and the band are taking their punk revue and cover of U2’s ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ out to appear on Letterman next month. But when Cheney states, “Our lyrics aren’t trying to change the world”, even the staunchest fan would have to agree. Just changing the ageing choice on the Neighbours jukebox will do.