Live Review: The Galvatrons
With The Galvatrons apparently opting to fill their support slots with acts that err on the more bombastically synthesized end of their sound, I was compelled to leave the Gershwin Room (where The Galvatrons would be holding court later) to check out the action in the front bar, where I was completely and utterly blown away by a band called The Service.
Though he might have looked more like a lumberjack in his thick beard and flannelettes, The Service's Fergus Linacre was actually the ultimate rock frontman. Somehow, he managed to have both the balls-out, lackadaisical swagger of Bon Scott and, when the time called for it, the vocal power and man-on-the-edge urgency of Steven Tyler.
Heavily bluesy and sometimes a little swampy, you could easily trot out the ol' Led Zeppelin comparisons for The Service, were it not for the fact that the sound they produced when the acoustics came out and all members grabbed a mic was a lot more Nashville than anything on Led Zep III.
The band's biggest asset lay in knowing just how much unpredictability to throw into the mix whether through slightly unusual phrasing or more countrified moments to keep the straightforward howl'n'stomp from ever getting old. Going out with a song in which they sustained fever pitch right to the end, the service this foursome paid the gathered crowd tonight was a lesson in just what rock'n'roll is all about.
Back to The Galvatrons and don't look now, but it looks like they're starting to become more than just a pseudo-Van Halen tribute band (and I was quite happy with them being just that!) Frontman/guitarist Johnny Galvatrons' vocals, in particular, are steadily improving as he acquires the projection power to match his already compelling stage persona.
Of course, the band's synth-driven 'posturock' is still heavily derivative, with detectable traces of 'Free' (one song's chorus could have easily been substituted with " all riiigghht no-ow!') and David Lee Roth Band (ditto with ' this much be just like livin' in paaa-ra-diiise!"). But then, that's all part of the charm.
Amid such fun-lovin' romps as 'When We Were Kids' and 'I Want To Take You Out Tonight', someone in the crowd suggested that The Galvatrons were too innocent, and needed more sleaze in the mix. But when final song 'Robots Are Cool' resulted in the audience leaping on stage, dancing their hearts out and partially dismembering the drum kit, it dawned on me that this is exactly what the world needs: the guilty pleasure of up-beat stadium rock, with the 'guilty' part removed through an unspoken agreement between band and punters.
Well, that and The Service's hard-bitten soul rock, anyway