It’s a rather quiet applause that greets Undercut as they take to the stage. For whatever reason everyone is taking their time getting to Fibbers tonight. The room is barely full enough to fill the toilet at this venue and take it from me there isn’t enough room to swing a cat in the gents' toilets.

As they climb onto the stage you just know that Undercut are thinking "Why are we bothering playing to just thirty people ?" Undeterred they start with a bang rather than a half heated effort and immediately you know these guys are going to do their best tonight. They begin with ‘Close Your Eyes’, a decent enough rock-style song with some power in it. It is enough to grab the attention of the small crowd.

As soon as they finish one song they quickly play another. They seem keen not to slacken the pace. Before playing 'America' they have a little banter with the crowd. Johnny Benn on vocals also enjoys the attention from the crowd. Undercut sound on form tonight with a bright, clear sound, the guitars from Sam James and Dave Betts searing and soaring their way through songs, cutting between the beats.

As they get midway into their set they play their new single ‘Hot In That’ a rasping blast of a song which sees bassist Wayne Jones take the thunder away from the guitars. This song for me is the highlight of the night. ‘Hot In That’ is much stronger than Undercut's earlier material and the crowd think so too as some start to come forward nearer to the front to get a better view of these five guys from Bristol.

By now Undercut are making a little headway with some of the crowd. ‘A Bit Of Education’ a former single and one of the better songs off their debut album, '96 Hours', is also played. They finish the set with a cover and a very healthy round of applause.

There is no band like the Young Gods. Unique, brilliant, spectacular, dazzling, breathtaking - these are just some of the words that describe this Swiss Industrial- Rock band who in 22 years have rarely had a bad word said against them by critics and the press. They have influenced many of the big alternative names such as Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and Front Line Assembly. Fans include Mike Patton of Faith No More, the Edge from U2 and David Bowie to name but a few. With such high praise the Young Gods have a lot to live up to. I do wonder if they will deliver live or if are they just a great band on record only.

Lead singer Franz Treichler takes to the stage of the now much fuller room almost fumbling to find his mike stand. The group's other two members,Al Comet and Bernard Trontin, follow behind and in the gloom of the stage have similar problems finding their way.

They open with ‘Our House’ a song that starts slowly with a sound like slipping train wheels that give way to a thundering sampled guitar riff that kicks not only the song but the show into life. It has a simmering power that never quite lets go but that only adds to the power. Starting with a song from their 'TV Sky' album, which is probably their most accessible record and the album that has given them their most coverage, was always going to be a good option to get the crowd involved from the word go. After thanking the audience for coming, Franz, whose voice has a gravelly but soft French accent, launches into ‘Freeze’ off their new album, ‘Super Ready/ Fragmente’. It sounds just as strong as any of their past material. Next is ‘I am The Drug’. These are all quick songs sung in English that get the crowd on side quicker than the ref would a fan from from Liverpool by sending off Wayne Rooney in a Manchester - Everton match.

You do wonder how after 22 years the Young Gods can still make such powerful, aggressive music; age certainly hasn’t mellowed them at all, I’m glad to say. These guys may look like every teenager's dream father. Who wouldn’t want Franz as their father? He is hip, graceful, energetic and polite. But beneath it all is an anger that comes out in their songs. 'Super Ready/Fragmente' is about the dark energy that is coming from an unchecked society, not just in Britain but throughout Europe too.

After this introduction they slow the pace with ‘Stay With Us’ (which has the great line "Who’s going to paint the clouds"?) and also ‘Un point C’est Tout’ which is sung in French. Both are dreamy soundscapes that almost stand still in terms of pace. All the Young Gods albums have a power and energy that no band has in my opinion yet managed to reach. Live this sound is just bigger and more rounded. They get 110% out of their instruments. Now how do they do that? I would give my eyeteeth to know the answer. Other songs on tonight's set list include ‘All Electric’ and ‘Charlotte’

Drummer Bernard has a great knack of playing in a very rock style but at times but he can also play unsteady, jaggered style akin to The Birthday Party. Most of their sounds comes from a keyboard with samples and loops being operated by Al and for a couple of songs Franz picks up a guitar.

Somehow they break down their sound into basic elements. You can hear all the sounds clearly but you also hear a multitude of other sounds that come and go in fleeting moments but none of these bleed into one another. While Pop Will Eat Itself tried it and just ended with up with a muddied sound, it’s a neat trick that I have never heard any other band do and carry off.

The main set lasts only for 50 minutes, way too short for a main set, but they return quickly explaining that they just needed a few minutes to recover. Their encore starts with ‘Super Ready/ Fragmente', a long winded prog rock sort of tune that does nothing for their set. It is unnecessary and is as boring as hell, They have a wealth of songs to choose from so why they have played this is anyone's guess. They redeem themselves though by playing ‘Sunflower’ and ‘Gasoline Man’, which is a great way to end any set.

The Young Gods have put on a spectacular show full of life, energy and power. While I applaud what they do and how they do it, I smile at myself as they leave many of their contemporaries in the shadows but I’m also a little sad that so many other bands from this point forward will seem lightweight in comparison.


The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Russell Ferguson

















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