Live Review: Demob Happy // The Cluny, Newcastle, 12.09.23

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Demob Happy; a rock band with a very apt surname. Shuffling into a rather crammed Cluny on an unsurprisingly chilly September night, the crowd was abuzz with anticipation. After an impressive opening set from alt quartet Congratulations, pints were in full swing as Geordies young and old gathered to bear witness to one of the more promising up-and-coming alternative acts in the UK.

As they approached the stage and the bass started blaring, it became clear to me this wasn’t going to be a relaxing gig. In the best way possible, the music was so jumpy and in-your-face that you couldn’t help but welcome the usual discomfort of a bustling crowd. 

One could perhaps say “Oh, all the songs sound very similar.” To that one, I would respond: “But as long as it sounds good, who cares?”. Demob Happy have certainly found their sound, with every song littered with fuzz guitar, floaty verses and punchy choruses, and it works. If it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it. 

At times, I wondered if they had Queens of the Stone Age just off stage playing along. If you closed your eyes you’d find it easy to compare Demob Happy’s low-fi, fuzzy sound with that of an undiscovered QOTSA B-side. Especially tracks such as ‘Super-Fluid’, ‘Token Appreciation Society’ (which was a crowd favourite) and ‘Less Is More’, with the latter having a riff similar to that of more modern Royal Blood tunes. 

We were also treated to an early performance of their latest single ‘Sweet & Sour America’, released days prior to the start of their UK tour. Arguably a bit punk-ier than the rest of the set, a mosh pit that had slowly started forming at the start of the gig began to erupt, as Demob’s stoner-metal guitar licks were welcomed by the crowd with open hands.

The final tune was a crowd pleaser, as is the case with most live acts. Ending with a punchy rendition of ‘Be Your Man’, it’s safe to say not a single head was left un-nodded. I honestly think that lead singer and bassist Matthew Marcantonio must have some sort of microphone effect in which he can perfectly emulate a young Josh Homme, with his equally laid-back yet powerful vocals echoing throughout the venue.

But don’t take my word for it. If you like powerful guitar licks that give you enough energy to run through a wall, then I think you should catch them when they’re next in town. You can keep up to date with Demob Happy’s current tour on their Instagram.

Words by Tom Moorcroft


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