Lonesome Cowboys From Hell
Luxury Goods Festival
The Courtyard Theatre, Pitfield St
Friday 30th April 2010
Words: Peter Makinde
Images: Martin Lau
Taking the stage like zombie roadkill from a Jonah Hex comic, LCFH are one the most unusual Country acts you’re ever likely to encounter.
It’s Americana, but not as you might expect. There’s no corn-fed, Nashville-by-numbers tonight. More a slice of Dixie’s nightmarish underbelly with a lo-fi punk sensibility, and it’s here in plain sight.
Kicking off with the death march of Chimp Love, which vocalist Frank E. dedicates to all “the simians in the house tonight”, the scene is set. By the crowd reception I guess this is a signature song. With it’s eeiry, hypnotic accordion, and chiming geetars we’re served a heavy dose of Southern Gothic.
Without warning we get hit by One Mean Ass, a jarring number apparently making it’s live debut. With depth charge drums and bass from the distinctly unusual rhythm section of John D. Vile and Jan E., this is how a collab between Johnny Cash and Merzbow might have sounded, had you ever pondered.
Performance art touches abound. Somewhat surreally is the presence of a lady in her death bed at the foot of the stage which adds an air of creepiness to the frentic stage show.
On the rousing Cawffee and Beanz, lead vocalist, Frank E. (a double-take for QOTSA’s Josh Homme with the sartorial stylings of John Wayne Gacy) barks as much as croons like a man who’s seen too much of life through the bottom of a bottle of bourbon. Their most radio-friendly and trad offering, the poignant 119 sung by guitarist Jk-ee, with its reflections on a misguided youth (“shoulda gone to college and gone into real estate”), would surely have had both Peel and Wogan reaching for rewind. Not ready to peak the band drops Private View, a tasty cut of psychobilly that whips the crowd into foot-stomping frenzy.
Closing, the band leaves us with the excellent Remember Me, a hate song, that makes The Police’s stalker classic Every Breath You Take sound like a romantic overture.
As a name LCFH is a misnomer, though more apt to these boys than the Texan thrash merchants who were known by a similarly-titled pseudonym. In fact, they make Pantera sound like Michael Nyman. Whilst you may not see them on CD:UK any time soon, judging by the diverse and enthusiastic crowd at Friday’s gig, their reputation is sure to grow.