Poizon–Fibbers, 28/06/13

In terms of gig choices tonight was a little bit of a mistake, but more on that later. As usual when I’m out on my own I manage to get to the venue early enough to see it pretty empty. Shortly, people start dribbling through the doors and it isn’t long until Fibbers is, if not full, hosting a reasonable crowd. Looking around, I can see more tattoos than I have seen anywhere outside of the recent Sworn Amongst gig and I feel a small sense of relief that I ditched the idea of wearing my Def Leppard t-shirt when I spot a very similar one in the crowd.

Support tonight comes from Psychobabylon, who seem to be back after a year of so hiatus. Their details say that they feature members of Phluid, Slash Vegas and Velvet Star and, while I have previously seen two of those bands perform, they haven’t necessarily set my interest alight. This band play old style heavy metal, rather than the modern growly nonsense and at least one track played has more than a hint of Motorhead to it. Drummer Ginna, off to one side of the stage, can just about be seen waving his sticks around behind the speaker stack. Vocalist (and Ross Noble look-alike) Rusty, gamely attempting to engage the crowd, ends up making light of the lack of response. With Angels (no, not that one…) we get something slightly different, if only in that there aren’t many heavy metal songs that slow down in the middle to allow for a drum and bass section. Horror, introduced with one of those dreaded growls, is a more traditional twin guitar assault, while Insanity is, perhaps, more Black Sabbath than Motorhead, although that could simply be a suggestion from the titular association with Sabbath’s most famous track. There’s a cover, one I don’t recognise, thrown in before the first play of Buried Alive and then Death To Suburbia, which comes across as a mixture of metal and punk. The sound tonight is good, good enough to work out from the lyrics that Factor 10 is an attack on reality TV and its “get famous quick” promise. The song ends the set with a stadium rock sound that is only enhanced by an audience sing-along section. On the basis of tonight’s set, Psychobabylon are more than the sum of their parts.

So, onto tonight’s headliners. I had seen the band name and the reference to their most famous song while scanning the what’s on lists and had immediately added this gig to my must-see list. Then, a few weeks later, I spotted the “z” in Poizon and realised my mistake. Not that I have anything specific against tribute bands but when you have, incorrectly, assumed you were seeing the original in some form, it’s a bit of a disappointment. Oh well, that’ll teach me to pay more attention (and, arguably, think a bit more) in future. But how were they?

I don’t know much about the z-less Poison, apart from that song and the fact that they were proponents of the “hair rock” genre back in the 80s. And there were certainly some dodgy looking wigs on show tonight. The band opened with Look What The Cat Dragged in and I Want Action. Huge banners, possibly meant for a bigger stage than that of Fibbers, positioned either side of Mikki Rockett gave the impression that he was drumming in a cave. You can’t deny that the band are giving it their all but whether it is an authentic experience is beyond my knowledge. Ride The Wind sees guitarist C. D. Deville prancing around in a camp fashion and, between songs, frontman Britt Michaels speaks in a somewhat ridiculous American accent. I assume he’s “in character”. For I Won’t Forget You, Michaels has an acoustic guitar delivered by roadie Dave “Mad Dog” Hotdog who is wearing an even worse wig than any of the band. This slower track is followed by the livelier Look But You Can’t Touch, during which running repairs are being carried out to Rockett’s drum kit. On-going attempts to get one of the two lasers positioned on the speaker stacks seem to have failed and the light show has to rely on just the one. As the set goes on, with Cry Tough, No. 1 Bad Boy and Fallen Angel, the crowd seems to be thinning out a bit. Members and friends of Psychobabylon have been leaving, with the band having wheeled their kit through the crowd. I realise that I know more than one Poison song as Deville belts out Your Mama Don’t Dance and then opens Every Rose Has Its Thorn on acoustic guitar before the rest of the band come in. The drum opening to Unskinny Bop gets the loudest cheer of the evening and it’s another one I know. “Are you in the mood for one more?” asks Michaels, at the bizarrely early time of ten fifteen. Rock And Roll All Nite seems the set end in enthusiastic fashion from both band and those remaining in the crowd. As it ends, amongst much clapping and cheering, I’m sure I hear Michaels say something along the lines of, “If you want to hear some more you have to make some noise.” Yeah, like gig-goers don’t know how to ask for an encore…

Apparently we make enough noise and it’s not long before Michaels returns to the stage, covered in silly string. It’s about as close we have come to the “stage cannons” mentioned in the Fibbers write-up as part of the authentic stage show. Let Me Go To The Show, Nothing But A Good Time and Talk Dirty To Me form the encore, with what’s left of the crowd at the front dancing and singing along.

The songs have been every bit as cheesy as 80s Glam/Hair Rock is remembered as being, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. The performance has been slightly cheesy as well – somewhere between affectionate tribute and gentle mickey-take, slightly camp and yet, probably, somewhat accurate. Attending tonight’s gig might have been a mistake, but it ended up being an entertaining one. If nothing else, it has prompted me to look out for a Best Of… compilation. That’s “best” with an “s”…

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About Ian

Regular gig-goer in York, both to see local and touring bands. Huge music fan, with more CDs than my wife thinks any one person should own. I also collect American comics, read a lot of SF and fantasy and am a season-ticket holder at Leeds United.
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