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Rock of Travolta Camden Monarch 10th August 2001

We arrive at the Monarch after a ridiculously extended journey to Camden thanks to the dark horrors of the northern line which result in us having to get on a bus and sit through some girl's insufferable whining about how she'd rather get the tube. We are in no mood to be messed about. Luckily, The Rock of Travolta are lining up onstage preparing to assault us with delicious, grin-inducing noise.

There are six of these desperadoes all dressed in black shirts, each vibrating and juddering to the colossal sound that immediately rips from the speakers.

Rockin' Travolta

From left to right, they read: keyboard player who could be Trail Of Dead's Jason Reece with longer legs; first bass player; a guitarist who throws himself into a hundred corny rock star axe hero poses, foot on monitor and all, with obvious glee; another bass player (oh joy!) and a bloke on violin making that instrument look as ROCK cool as having two bass players. At the back there's a drummer who looks about twelve battering out a parade beat. There is no singer, for we are in the crazy world of instrumental noise. All lined up for battle, they remind me of Rocket From The Crypt or Gold Blade pulling their righteous soldiers of rock stance.

The music is an exhilarating mix of droney bits, early Mogwai and bombastic metal. The second song, during which a small girl leaps onstage to help with a second keyboard, could have sprung from, gulp, the first Iron Maiden LP (so I'm told). Maybe they're trying to be the 21st Century Shadows, when as one they all point out across the audience with choreographed panache.

The trumpet comes out for an intro of blasting MC5 grandeur to song three, becoming a mindblowing, riff-building thunder. Keyboard man goes spammy as song four begins, dancing about as an electronic voice burbles, the trumpet blares, guitars thunder and Kraftwerk precise keys lead into swooshy noises. Mid-song, they all stand punching the air, keyboard man adding a further comedy element by doing it behind bass player number one's back. Then there's a time change and it all goes slow, the trumpety bombast lost to a lovely violin-led Mogwai quiet bit, as everyone moves on a space. Keyboard man crosses the stage to the um, other keyboard thing. Bass player two who's been on the other keyboard thing goes to drum. The drummer moves to the main keyboard as bass one and guitar stay put dronily.
Rocket From Travolta

Everyone takes their original places again for the next song which starts with a twangy bass riff sounding like Peter Hook playing 'Rock Lobster' whilst the guitarist throws twisty-ankled moves worthy of Neil 'twinkle-toes' (©Breakstuff website) Busch. It sounds like a joyful death march, if such a thing is possible, tumbling into wibbling feedback followed by military tattoo drumming and an explosive guitar squall inside which somewhere is the trumpet.

It's fantastic, we grin and clap like maniacs, all horrors scoured away in the blast.

Rock Lobster Travolta
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