The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing came to Edinburgh as part of their tour promoting their fine new album Double Negative (review can be found here: Double Negative Album Review
Before the show, I was lucky enough to get to interview the band. An interview where I managed to get their name wrong TWICE! The good news is being gentlemen they stilled allowed me into the gig itself to review it. Which I am very glad of. As expected there were lots of great songs and laughs throughout the set. Part of the joy of a “Men” show is you never quite know what will be said or happen on the night so each show is different making each night unique to itself. For instance tonight due to no local band being on the bill Andrew O’Neill actually did a rather hilarious 30 minutes stand up comedy routine where he tried out some new stuff and made us his guinea pigs.
First song of the night, “Supply And Demand” is the opening song on the new album and as Andrew pointed out, a song which has as its first word “Edinburgh” making it very appropriate on the night. At which point Gerhard “Andy” Heintz had a go at him for trying to ingratiate himself to the crowd. Looking around it seemed the song was already a fan’s favourite as folks were singing along in all the right places.
“Charlie” is one of the songs that just makes you want to join in. From my position near the front at the side, the crowd were belting out the words whilst jigging around due to his mix of folk, punk and music hall all in the same song. The repeats on the lyrics “the origin of the species, the species, the species” and “it contradicts the bible, the bible the bible” were done in our best cockney accents! It is a tune that is right for a good old knees up.
Some of the intros are superb, if at times very dark, for instance the comment that “you seem warmed up, so here’s a song about killing babies” before starting “Baby Farmer” about a very unpleasant and cruel woman called Amelia Dyer who bought and sold babies in Victorian times, the ones she didn’t sell ending up thrown into the River Thames in London.
No other band that I know of float from fast hardcore punk material to old time sing-a-longs which again makes the band stand out and a completely different experience live. Also something which I personally have never witnessed at any other shows is someone playing a saw with a bow, which happens during “Moon”. There are quips aplenty about “Andy” having a “little sit down” and the need of some “tea and biscuits” for him.
Andrew was delighted to tell us that they had Marie Curie T-shirts which glow in the dark to which I think Marc quipped “just like she did” which led to lots of laughter. Yes that may seem a little sick, but the song “There She Glows” is meant ironically as she died due to radiation. She did say about the vials she carried about that they “gave off a faint light when dark”. All that knowledge and brilliance but she didn’t realise the dangers of what she was working with.
There was plenty of leaping around during “Doing It For The Whigs” where the lyric line of “no future in Tory politics” was very popular indeed. They finished the main set with the last track on the newest album which is a call to arms, a call for revolution, to overthrow the monarchy and the government at Westminster. Well, they are punk (and correct)! Was interesting as it had the drummer Jez up front also on guitar. Everybody was leading from the front, which was a good touch I thought.
They rounded up the evening with a 4-song encore that featured the marvellous “Obscene Fucking Machine” and “Etiquette” which had not only a bass solo but including a chorus of The Who’s “My Generation” to add to the fun.
One of the things I noticed was how good drummer Jez Miller is. He has some lovely deft touches adding texture to many of the songs. At times gently using the rims of the kit and other times swinging away like a mad jazz man! The rhythm section does a good job keeping it all together despite the almost anarchy and mayhem going on. They are fantastic to watch. There is so much fun and humour in what they do. The albums are very enjoyable and live it all becomes even more so. Some bands need to be seen and experienced to fully get, and this band are one of those. There is a joyousness in amongst the horror.
A fabulous night in Bannermans and here’s to the next visit to Edinburgh. For everyone else try to get along to a show if they come near you. I guarantee entertainment. You might even find yourselves having a right good knees up.
Songs on the night. 1. Supply And Demand. 2. Hidden. 3. Charlie. 4. Baby Farmer. 5. Miner. 6.Occams Razor. 7. Moon. 8. There She Glows. 9. Disease Control. 10. Third Class Coffin. 11. This House Is Not Haunted. 12. God Is In The Bottom Line. 13. Doing It For The Whigs. 14. There’s Going To Be A Revolution. (Encore) 15. Marie Lloyd. 16. Vive La Difference Engine. 17. Obscene Fucking Machine. 18. Etiquette (with My Generation included)