Support: Hailmary / Richards/Crane
I may have drank many a pint in the famous Worlds End pub in Camden but I had never made it downstairs to the Underworld until tonight. A cracking little venue as it turns out. A venue made for rock music. That it would be Ugly Kid Joe that finally got me here was unexpected having last seen them some twenty years ago in the same city, albeit a slightly larger venue (playing as support to Bon Jovi at Wembley Stadium).
The Underworld ticks all the rock club boxes from dinginess to broken toilets and it's made for gigs like this. It is also crammed and there are plenty of sweaty bodies jumping up and down to a band on top form. Alas the Mrs didn't quite have the same experience. Things started badly and got worse. No toilet paper in the female toilets. Not quite sure why as the audience was made up of 90% males. Her caring husband (that would be me) then dragged her onto the main floor where she could barely see a thing. She then became the main victim of a staple of rock gigs...the low flying pint of lager flung from the obviously hilarious guy near the front. While she dried herself I'm not sure I helped her mood when I mentioned it could have been worse. Lets face it alcohol is generally better than a pint of piss thrown in your direction.
The band flew through the set from opener Neighbor (which transports me back to my late teens). Cats in the Cradle is an obvious highlight (always funny to see a rock crowd trying to harmonise) but there are newer tracks like I'm Alright which are just as good. Milkman's Son from the Menace to a Sobriety album is another standout and there are a couple of songs from the excellent Uglier Than They Used Ta Be long player (which made it in to the top ten rock charts this week and the green vinyl gate-fold special edition is winging its way to me as I write this).
Things don't get any better for the Mrs when a very tall girl with very long hair stood next to her and started head-banging aggressively. The aggressive headbanger. Nothing worse. UKJ finish with the song that back in the early nineties many (including myself) dismissed as a one hit wonder. Everything About You sounded like a novelty record to my then 18 year old ears. Here (where they are joined on drums by Arya Goggin from Skindred) it sounds fresh and a record that has the Underworld bouncing and the fierce looking security guards angry and worried.
The new album shows that the creative juices are still very much flowing. Then again, in rock terms, they still seem relatively young (Crane is 47) which may be why voice is still strong and hasn't shown any signs of fading (unlike some of his contemporaries). Indeed Crane looks younger than he did twenty years ago which is annoying as I look at least three times as old. No beer belly or receding hairline for him. Bastard.
I have no idea what their future plans are but not many bands have reformed and produced better songs than they did originally. Ugly Kid Joe may well be one to break the mould.
Ticket: September 26th 2015
Ticket Price: £17.50