Les Incompetents: 100 Club, London, Tuesday November 7
A bloody, sweaty mess was a fitting end to London’s infamous rag-tag rabble
Rules of journalism state that if your notebook is covered in blood post-gig, it’s either been an absolutely terrible night, or an absolutely amazing one. Thankfully, the last ever gig of the skanking multi-membered mentalists Les Incompetents falls into the second category, a 40-minute incessant barrage of blood, sweat and yes, a few hot, salty tears. A mess from start to finish, of course, but a fitting farewell to a band who, for the past two years, have terrorised our fair capital with jumbled shows of sloppy near-genius, deer antlers and a particularly ADHD take on contemporary fashion.
They were hardly going to be the next Coldplay, yet, in a strange twist of fate, the past few months have seen the band attract more than their fair share of attention. First there was singer/guitarist Billy Bell’s fight on a night bus, which put him into a life-threatening coma, or as fellow Les Inc frontman Fred Les charmingly puts it halfway though the gig, “Billy was dead for three weeks this summer.” Then there’s Fred’s missus, crown princess of the red tops, Ms Peaches Geldof, whose gossip column dominance has led to Fred becoming a celeb in his own right, his bespectacled eyes often looming out of the front page of the News Of The Screws as his ladyfriend drags him to various star-studded parties.
The Geldof family are in fact, in attendance tonight, with Sir Bob hanging at the back, while his selected offspring bounce about in the sticky moshpit to the free-form skiffle stylings emanating from the PA. Even during their last hurrah, the band are still not quite sure what on Earth’s going on. “I didn’t even know we were playing that one,” says Fred scratching his head after a raucous run through of ‘Costa Rica’. ‘How It All Went Wrong’ though, goes right, a perfect slice of boozed-up crash bang pop that sees half of the crowd leaping onto the stage to grab a piece of the insane action. A rattling cover of The White Stripes’ ‘Hotel Yorba’ and a shimmy though the TV theme tune of The Poddington Peas proves they’re not a band who have ever taken their music too seriously. If all death knells sounded like this, the world would most certainly be a cheerier place. RIP Les Incompetents.