LIVE – Zombina & The Skeletones (Hackney Stour Space, 26/6/10)
Well this is different. As fellow Pure Rawk scribe Sexy Dave and myself get off the last train east at Hackney Wick station and head through a giant industrial estate called Fish Island somewhere just off the Eastway as the witching hour approaches and the full moon hovers overhead in the sky, it seems kind of apt that we’re heading for a night of zombie rock ‘n’ roll at a converted warehouse.
Even with the 2am start I wouldn’t have missed this gig for the world though because Zombina & The Skeletones are a damn fine band. If you’re unlucky enough not to know of them yet, imagine the missing link between “Billion Dollar Babies” era Alice Cooper and the Rezillos and you’d probably be fairly close. Oh and add in some zombie make-up. And a saxophonist. And the odd ’50s style doo-wop tune that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the “Grease” soundtrack. And the occasional tendency to do close harmony barbershop quartet style vocals on their songs. And the odd high-camp vaudevillian number about being a dead ringer for Hollywood horror actor Vincent Price. And…well, you probably guessed this by now but it’s safe to say that the Skeletones are most definitely a very unique and wonderful band.
With three albums already out to their name (four if you count their EP compilation “Monsters On 45”) and a fourth currently in the pipeline, the Skeletones now have close to a decade’s worth of material to draw from and, with a one hour set tonight, they get a chance to showcase a fair bit of it, veering from psychobilly-ska numbers like “Springheeled Jack” and “Zombie Hop” through turbo-thrash moments like “I Go Psycho!” and guitar-heavy rock like “Flaming Skull” and “King Of The Ring” to the pure pop-punk heaven of “Nobody Likes You When You’re Dead”, probably the best song ever written about the difficulties of trying to make friends with people when you’re a flesh-eating zombie (and including the immortal line “Just ‘cos I’m biting on your head, there’s no need to be impolite…”)
It really is a mystery how this band aren’t a lot bigger than they are but hopefully one of these days that’ll change. All I can say is that any band who can make me brave a 4am walk home through the rough streets of Hackney because of how late their gig finishes must be good. Those of you who bemoan the lack of genuinely exciting and innovative bands in modern music really owe it to yourselves to go and give Zombina and co a listen – if this band don’t put a smile on your face then you really must be dead.