In this digital age and times of hardship, the live scene and the struggle to be heard for the lower echelons of the musical hierarchy is a tough one. Most bands would be grateful to get any live exposure: especially in Central London and with a free backline and PA provided.
This gratitude seemed to escape The Proletarians as they shambled on stage at The Comedy Pub near Leicester Square in the sizzling City of Westminster. They picked up the gauntlet handed to them on a silver plate and took a geological age to set up, even longer and more meticulously than pretentious stadium rockers with a phalanx of pot-smoking roadies. Eventually they turned to the crowd with an impressive array of instruments: all hollow bodied guitars and gleaming cymbals. As they started to play, the shine wore off and hollowness prevailed. Ten thousand years of musical tradition were thrown out of the badly fitted window as the drummer failed to grasp the basic tenet of keeping time, the guitarists had never learned to tune their guitars (let alone play them) and the “vocalist” seemed to have a hit and hope policy to every note, leaving me constantly hoping he would surely hit the right note next time around.
Having never written a bad review, especially of the real proletariat of up-and-coming bands with little or no income, I felt compelled to do so in this case due the complete lack of social awareness and diva-esque stroppiness of the lead singer. The first complaint was fired at the all too generous sound man who was directly blamed for the central mic stand being too low. “I’m not two-and-a-half foot f***ing tall” was the comment from the floppy-haired, pseudo-surly front man. After the offending metal pole was adjusted for him (by almost 20 degrees), the musical debacle unfortunately continued.
After more of the same: tunes played as if each band member was in a soundproofed isolation booth with no connection to each other, or indeed the real world, they ran over time by five minutes, necessitating the promoter to call it quits just at the end of their penultimate song. This resulted in more four-letter tirades from the sweary front man, ironically harrumphing about how rude it was to stop them mid song. The other musicians in the crowd, as well as some of the friends and family in the audience I suspect, were glad of this musical euthanasia. More time was eaten into the final bands’ sets with the dismantling of their gear and eventually they flounced off vowing never to play there again.
Lucky venue; lucky future audiences.
[Anyone who would like to judge for themselves, please tune into their music: a fair approximation of how they sounded live. The Proletarians- One Night at the Hippodrome]