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That Uncertain Feeling - Dirty Water Club, London, 26/8/2008

  by Denzil Watson

published: 22 / 8 / 2008

That Uncertain Feeling - Dirty Water Club, London, 26/8/2008


In their first gig in fourteen years at the Dirty Water Club in London , Denzil Watson finds innovative Derry five-piece That Petrol Emotion to have lost none of their chemistry or explosive energy

When That Petrol Emotion's vocalist Steve Mack bounds enthusiastically on stage at North London's tiny Dirty Water Club venue it's hard to believe that well over a decade has passed since the Derry five-piece called it a day back in 1994. Having lit up the 80's and early 90's with their blistering live performances and innovative guitar-fuelled agit-pop, few predicted their reformation, despite the glut of new wave bands recently jumping aboard the nostalgia train. Sadly many of these reunions have delivered us bands a shadow of their former selves and have been more about filthy lucre than artistic creditability. Fortunately the same can't be said of the Petrols as tonight they look anything but like a decrepit band going through the (e)motions; their politicised pop tunes sounding as relevant as ever. The aforementioned Mack appears to have been in deep freeze as the years peel off and they deliver a vital and intense thirteen song set spanning their entire back catalogue. The band's chemistry remains fully intact too. Of tonight's line-up Steve Mack, guitarists Damian O'Neill and Raymond Gorman and drummer Ciaran McLaughlin are all founder members while bassist Brendan Kelly featured in the band's last reincarnation. "I've been waiting for this moment for fourteen years", announces Mack as the set starts slowly with 'Black 2 Blue' before bursting into life with 'Gnaw Mark'. The band look genuinely bowled over by the reaction they receive as their unassumingly charismatic and dynamic front man repeatedly thanks the crowd. Cheers greet the opening strains of Manic Pop Thrill's 'It's a Good Thing', living up to it's name as former Undertone O'Neill and Gorman intertwine their guitar lines to maximum effect. It's the explosive indie-dance fusion of their sole Top 40 hit, 'Big Decision' that, however, gets the biggest reaction of the night and starts off pockets of pogoing amongst the 250 or so people packed tightly in the Tufnell Park venue. Technically it's a flawless performance that belies the fact that it's the band's first gig since their fourteen year hiatus. The soundman, located just next to the toilet doors, battles manfully with his little mixing desk to great effect and this intimate gig proves to be the perfect reintroduction for the Petrols to live duties. As the set continues to unfold it becomes clear that their second Virgin LP 'Chemicrazy' ranks highly in the band's collective esteem. The angular guitar pop of 'Hey Venus' gives way to the driving bass of 'Abandon' and in turn to set closer 'Scumsurfin' (which sees Steve Mack give in to his temptation to crowd surf once again), leaving only the band's indie-dance crossover album 'End of the Millennium Psychosis Blues' out in the cold. After about an hour or so their frenetic and energetic set is over and the band take their leave from the Dirty Water's postage stamp stage, before returning for the first of three encores. Unfortunately the encores slow things down rather than bringing everything to the boil. It all starts off fine with a shimmering 'Sweet Shiver Burn' "but then things go slightly flat with the never played before 'Seventh Wave' and a rather messy version of mid-paced B side 'Chemicrazy'. But that's only a minor gripe as overall it's been a triumphant and explosive return to the limelight. Hopefully what started off as the band dipping their toe back into the (Dirty) water will now persuade them to go on and take the plunge. Let's face it. The world feels like a better place with a reformed That Petrol Emotion. The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Jason Newman and originally appeared at http://www.flickr.com/photos/30002929@N05/sets/72157607021762648/

Picture Gallery:-
That Uncertain Feeling - Dirty Water Club, London, 26/8/2008

That Uncertain Feeling - Dirty Water Club, London, 26/8/2008

That Uncertain Feeling - Dirty Water Club, London, 26/8/2008

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