Live at Cockpit on Tuesday, 30th March 2010
It's a testament to Zebrahead's popularity that tonight's gig-attendees are willing to queue up in this weather. But, it's well worth braving half an hour of torrential rain, as first up, are Hellcat pop-punkers Orange, who get the crowd warmed up nicely with their snottier, spikier brand of pop-punk. Although, frontman Perry Ladish needs to learn that when you're playing fast and snappy, no-frills pop-punk, holding your guitar aloft like a regular guitar god is not a smart move. It only serves to highlight the fact that you're twanging the same chord over and over, and over, again. Another niggling annoyance, is the guy stood in front of me who insists on screaming "satsuma! Satsuma!" during every quiet moment in the band's set - but the fact that Orange have such, um, witty hecklers doesn't impact on what is a fun-filled, high-energy performance.
Next up is MC Lars, and there's something about the laptop-rapper that never fails to make me smile. From his demand that the audience "pretend it's Christmas Day 1998, and play on your game boys!" to the 90's platform game video playing in the background, to the Power Point-style slides that accompany set-opener 'Space Game,' his set is unashamedly geeky fun.
His set is split into two, the 'laptop' first half, and the punk-centric second half, where he is joined by a live band. The second half is the stronger, featuring set highlight 'Download This Song,' the circle-pit-inciting 'Hot Topic is Not Punk Rock' and a brief appearance by Ali Tabatabaee from Zebrahead, which gets even the MC Lars-naysayers in the audience shouting along. As a live act, MC Lars never fails to entertain, and this could quite possibly be the only time you'll ever see a Power Point slide show of the Borg, Spock, and Virginia Wolfe used during a gig. MC Lars leaves the entire room with a smile on their faces, before reappearing at the merchandise stall, where he will remain for the entirety of the Zebrahead sound check and a chunk of Zebrahead's actual performance, being impossibly nice to everyone who wants to chat.
If this was any band other than Zebrahead, the fun-levels would take a sharp dip following MC Lars' departure. But, Zebrahead know how to keep the party cranked up to eleven, batting balloons with their guitars, urging fans to invade the stage so they can perform stage dives and gulp down bottles of whiskey, and setting up sing-alongs left right and centre. There's also a crowd-pleasing, punked-up cover of Britney Spears' 'Ooops I Did it Again' to keep the party in full swing. When Zebrahead get the entire room to crouch down on the floor and then jump up simultaneously, you can't help feeling that Slipknot have a monopoly on this piece of gig gimmickry, but it's difficult to hold anything against a band who are this much fun. Tonight, Zebrahead don't set out to change your life, or bulldoze their way into your 'Top 10 Gigs of All Time' list, but what they do is deliver possibly the most fun you'll ever have on a rainy Tuesday night.