It’s not often I go to a punk show and laugh my eyes dry but during The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing’s album launch show I did exactly just that. Instead of the usual local punk acts in the support slots, the band went out of their way to make this a unique night’s entertainment by booking a selection of comedy acts, while Andrew and Marc from The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing acted as compères.
Andrew took to the stage first and laid down the foundations for the evening. The man is an incredibly witty, fast and engaging comedian and you know you’re in a room with the right people when a man can say, “scream if you don’t identify with gender stereotypes!” and the whole place roars in celebration. I was already in a very happy place by the time Andrew finished his set.
The first act of the evening was a comedian by the name of Wil Hodgson. Wil’s set was a bit of a slow-burner and his comedy favoured stories over quick-fire jokes, but it wasn’t until he started a tale about buying My Little Ponies from local advertisements that the absurdity of a fairly large bearded man with an affection for brightly coloured children’s toys began to set in. Wil is a wonderful comedian with a penchant for all things nerdy and it soon became apparent in a short Q&A that he did with Andrew that you’d really like to be his friend.
What came next was an act that brought me to tears. Brian Damage & Krysstal are a comedy two-piece that tell bizarrely depressing yet heart-warming tales of growing old and losing touch with what’s cool. Their set was so unbelievably hysterical that little throwaway gags would get the biggest laughs and it felt like you were peering into the two’s rehearsals. Brian & Krysstal are a fantastic comedy act that you simply must see.
Then the proceedings were brought back into The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing’s camp and Marc took to the stage to share a few comedic stories about himself, the band and his family. Marc’s comedy is a lot more straight-laced than the other acts on the bill and while I certainly had some good laughs, he was always going to struggle following an act like Brian & Krysstal.
Regardless, it was now time for music and The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing took to the stage. If you’re not familiar with the band then you won’t know that they play a very memorable form of punk that sounds like Dropkick Murphys wrestling with Rancid. It’s brash, fast and strangely danceable punk that tells dark and twisted tales of Victorian history with a big focus on the industrial revolution and diseases that have all but gone away in modern times.
The band’s music is wonderfully theatrical which perfectly complements their cartoonish performance and image. Despite this being an album showcase for the band’s third record Not Your Typical Victorians, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing deliver a brilliantly diverse set that takes you on a real journey. While their fast and bratty punk always remains the staple of their sound, there are some beautiful moments of respite and storytelling that offer so much more than simply beating the audience around the head with heaviness.
Speaking of heaviness, when the band want to be heavy they really can be. We get some wonderful Soundgarden-esque grooves, a few doomy moments and some guttural death metal vocals that once again show just how multifaceted they can be.
The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing put on one of the best punk shows I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing and as for the evening as a whole, this was a spectacular night’s entertainment that was wonderfully diverse and it was all the better for it. Make sure you catch The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing on their upcoming album tour; you will not regret it.