ACID REIGN Devondale Hall, AIloa
TO SAY the least, Acid Reign are a tad confused.
“You’ve had fun songs, serious songs, stage-diving and politics. Nothing like all-round entertainment!”
Tonight midget nice-geezer H is known simply as ‘Humpty’. Cheeky chappie that he is, he’s managed to squeeze his trouser-worm into yellow Lycra shorts and now looks like a scholarship candidate for the University of Harvey Proctor. But Acid Reign pride themselves on their graceless exposé of Thrash’s po-faced intricacy and inherent doominess. Yet now they seem dissatisfied with the tag of simple court jesters. Tonight there is an uncomfortable feeling that Acid Reign might have overstepped their limits.
This, the first night of an extensive club tour promoting the ‘Obnoxious’ album, finds Acid Reign in a distant Scottish village. Attendance is, urn, respectable but hardly likely to rival Live Aid. Within the first 60 seconds the majority of the crowd are on-stage and wreaking havoc.
For 45 minutes Acid Reign excel in their role of piss-taking, hi-NRG vaudeville. Sloppy, madcap and boisterous Thrash with tongues firmly in cheeks. Kev – Hicksville farmboy turned guitar killer – square-dances and high-kicks with all the precision of a Sunday Sport new exclusive.
Beside him ‘Humpty’ is the mischievous and demented pivot of the Acid Reign freakshow. As the band plough through ‘Joke Chain’ and ‘Creative Restraint’, H is a blur of yellow buzzing from every corner of the hall and every inch of the stage. He surfs across the crowd like a human battering-ram, ocean-sized grin fixed in place, quick-fire quips rousing the crowd to mob lensman Paul ‘Well Baggy’ Harries.
Yet following the blitzkrieg bomb-run of ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ – the closest Acid Reign will ever get to screwing Debbie Harry – the pace slackens and the humour grows tiresome.
H precedes the epic and multi-tempoed ‘Thoughtful Sleep’ with an apology, as if he realises the imminent battle that Acid Reign face if they want to be taken seriously. The brooding soundscape sits uncomfortably, sandwiched between impromptu impersonations of Mike Patton and the 30-second gem that is ‘Big Fish’ (‘Big teeth, swim like ‘f).
Acid Reign wind things up with blundering versions of ‘Trumpton’, ‘Postman Pat’ and Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’. A rare moment of sincerity follows with Kev’s brief speech on the Poll Tax before ‘Suspended Sentence’ closes the curtain on Acid Reign’s current confusion.
Ultimately Acid Reign are gonna have to decide whether they are mere politicians or merry prats. I really do hope they settle for the latter.