Chris Collins – Platform
Pop Will Eat Itself are a strange proposition. A midlands band, originally formed in the mid eighties, they had a ten year run before disbanding in 1996. After a brief reunion in 2005, they eventually reformed in 2010 and released the first new material for five years. However, the line-up had fundamentally changed, with Clint Mansell, previously a core songwriter and vocalist moving into writing film scores, particularly for the films of Darren Aronofosky, having collaborated with him on ?, The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan and most notably Requiem for a Dream, with the main theme Lux Aeterna probably becoming more recognisable than most if not all of PWEI’s work.
Nowadays, the line-up consists of once drummer, core songwriter and only surviving original member Graham Crabb on vocals alongside Mary Biker, with the band rounded out with drummer Jason Bowld, Guitarist Tim Muddiman and bassist Davey Bennett. As they play a set comprised largely of new material, they blast through track after track at a ridiculous pace and although occasionally Crabb and Biker’s ages start to show as you can see them stop and catch their breath, that’s all they do before throwing themselves around the stage again and bouncing off each other, Biker in particular looking like a crazed Rik Mayall with his over-exaggerated moves. But while their enthusiasm is without a doubt infectious, there still seems to be a disconnect.
You get the feeling much of the equally aged audience would be dancing along just as wildly if they were just listening to the CD at this volume and despite the energetic duel frontmen, they still appear to be finding it all a bit routine Despite opening with Back To Business as a presumed message of intent, the new tracks just don’t resonate as deeply with the crowd as much as classics such as Ich Bin Ein Auslander and Get The Girl! Kill The Baddies!, the band’s highest charting single.
A shout-out to the big building next door, Rock City gets a few cheers as Leicester lad Mary Biker talks about his misspent youth but you can’t help feel that that opening statement of intent has set the tone for the evening. Pop Will Eat Itself have on examination not really done anything wrong, with Jason Bowld’s drumming seeming not to slow down or miss a beat all night, but somehow it still feels not enough.