Tracks Monkeys With Lasers

The Justice Force 5 @ The Wheelbarrow – 15/01
January 16, 2011, 6:46 pm
Filed under: gigs | Tags: , ,

The first gig of 2011 held a tiny bit more significance than most as it was the first at The Wheelbarrow in Camden.

The Wheelbarrow only opened recently but is run by the team that were behind The Flowerpot which was an awesome venue that in it’s brief existence introduced me to the fantastic Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, held some of the excellent Lexapalooza shows and was also the site for my first ever (albeit brief) appearance in a music video.

Sadly, the lease got pulled from under their feet but in almost no time they had moved to their new home on Camden High Street.

The venue seemed much smaller on first look than the old place but a small recce showed that there was a bit more space round the back of the pub next to the stage. It also had a bit more of an old pub feel to it than the last place but overall it was a cool atmosphere and a strangely familiar one as I recognised a fair few faces on both sides of the bar.

But I wasn’t here just to check out the venue. I was also here to see the fantastic Justice Force 5. This wasn’t the first time I’d seen these guys as they had featured at two of the Lexapalooza shows I had been to in the past and so I knew what to expect, unlike my friend who’d tagged along for the evening. Made up of a host of superheroes, including Captain Courageous and Judgement Dave among other (whose backstories you can read on their Facebook page), they’re only on stage in order to save the world through the medium of ROCK!

So after making my way down to the front of the stage, the cape-clad Bo Diggity led the troupe to unleash their powers on the audience.

It’s all well and good to have the costumes and everything but the JF5 back all of this glitz up with some really good tracks. If you know how to smile and have a set of ears, I don’t know how you couldn’t enjoy the band. And the point about smiling is what makes this band so enjoyable; they don’t just play great songs but are also a really good, fun band. So on top of everything already mentioned, glitter guns and pyrotechnics were out in full force as always and the best example of all of this must be the on stage musical battle between the band and their arch-nemesis the Organ Grinder.

The tracks themselves are a great mix of rock with a little bit of electro thrown in for good measure. Captain Courageous takes the lead on vocals for the majority of the set but Dr Amazing also has his turn as does Bo Diggity on the tracks The Justic Force Dance (featuring the memorable line “I always put my trousers on before my pants, and when I leave the house I do the Justice Force dance).

I had heard most of the songs before but I think there were a couple of new tracks thrown in as well (but I will admit that this was the most sober I had ever seen them so I can’t be certain). There was a slightly bizarre interlude to the evening when a civilian attempted to join the band but his powers of harmonica playing weren’t good enough to see the band expand it’s numbers (but his power of not leaving the stage was a bit more impressive).

Overall, I really enjoyed the set and left with a grin on my face. They’re a band I’d very much like to put on at some point just as an excuse to see them again but I do think they’re one of the best live experiences out of the many bands I’ve seen over the last few years; they are definitely my favourite electro superhero rock band by quite a long way.

Sadly, the audio from the evening didn’t come out very well so instead I highly suggest you give their two videos a watch instead..


Lexapalooza All-Dayer @ The Gaff – 20/06

Held in the bizarre little venue of The Gaff on Holloway Road, this all day event was put on in the name of Breast Cancer Research. I got there bright and early and lasted the full 11 hours (at the expense of the hearing in my left ear which has just about recovered) and had a fantastic time thanks to the array of different acts playing. I managed to get photos of all the acts and audio of a number of them, the latter mainly from the acoustic stage which I possibly enjoyed more.

The venue itself seems like it may well be host to a slightly heavier sound than the majority of Lexapalooza offered with skeletons hung about the place, fake cobwebs and (perhaps most telling of all) a plethora of event posters for bands with names that would make your mother blush. Anyhoo, the day itself (featuring mini reviews due to numbers);

Chris TT & The Hoodrats

For me, a good choice to open with thanks to the fact that there was some good banter with the crowd (and Evan, the organiser). The little material I had heard by Chris TT in the past was his solo stuff so it was a bit different to hear him play with a band. That didn’t hold him back though and he rattled through his set with a good mix of tunes.

“Where Were You?”

Dave Hughes

The first artist on the acoustic stage, he played a pretty solid set. Some nice tunes and good vocals so a good start for the ‘other’ stage.

Spectrum 7

Veterans of Lexapalooza, having played the previous year, they stepped in at the last minute to cover for another band. I was a bit worried that this may have meant they weren’t going to be that good but was pleasently surprised. With some clever 65daysofstatic-esque laptop work (and some problems with the laptop, just like 65dos as well) with good guitar work and vocals over the top, they were a nice surprise for me.

Superman Revenge Squad

One of only a few artists I’d heard of beforehand (and the only one I’d seen live before), I was looking forward to his set. For me, the sound levels weren’t quite right for his set which spoilt it slightly but I still enjoyed his set and the new material which I hadn’t heard. Always forget how good a guitarist he actually is as it comes across much better live than on the record for me.

“Get Yourself Into The Arms Of Drunken People”


Another surprise package, Jedethan played an unusual style of music in being rather heavy but still easy to dance along to. Good banter between the band and the crowd made it even more enjoyable and getting some of the guys involved with putting on the even on stage to ‘play’ and ‘sing’ was a really cool touch. Evan is a natural frontman in my opinion!

Oxygen Thief

Possibly my surprise act of the day, I thoroughly enjoyed this set. Playing his acoustic like he thought he was playing in a punk band, the mix of the acoustic guitar and the sound he was making was brilliant. His own songs were brilliant and the crowd loved the cover of the Spandau Ballet ‘Gold’. And it’s always nice to know that you were a better crowd than Swindon..

“Too Many Trees”

Blind Havoc

Fair to say that these weren’t my thing. Hung around for a fair bit of their set though and it’s easy to say they’re good at what they do, even if it wasn’t for me.

Jim Lockey

The fourth artist on the acoustic stage, he was another artist that I enjoyed; nice guitar work, good vocals and well written lyrics. Very good singer/songwriter. Special shout out to the bloke in the background of the pic..

“Caskets And Bibles”

Armed Response Unit

Another band that weren’t my thing but they had a good tight sound and I did like some of their tunes.

Ben Marwood

The final artist on the acoustic stage and yet another singer/songwriter I liked. He was, technically, a pretty good guitarist and had some really well written songs which flitted between angry and emotive quite nicely.


David Cronenberg’s Wife

I’m not quite sure what to make off this band.. that may have been due to the alcohol by this point but who’s to say.. Anyhoo, they were a pretty safe band who had some ‘nice’ songs and I neither liked or disliked them really.


These guys were a Misfits tribute band and I quite enjoyed them having listened to some of the Misfits stuff back in the day. They played a solid set and did loads of the classics so no complaintes from me.

Popes Of Chillitown

The only ska band of the night, I had a great time listening and skanking along to this band. A nice summery sound which suited the day well, the crowd seemed to really enjoy their set. Some good interaction with the group of us dancing down the front as well so we enjoyed them playing and I think they enjoyed us dancing to them.

The Blessed & The Cursed

Another band that weren’t my thang sadly but I did enjoy the energy of the set and some of their tunes.

The Xcerts

I’d heard some of these guys’ stuff earlier in the week and was quite looking forward to them. Catchy songs and good energy from the indie band; nice finish with the singer playing the drum in the crowd on the final song.


The Justice Force 5

Now, it’s fair to say I was a bit unsure what to expect from these guys thank to their somewhat dubious choice of clothing (the effects of costumes are always slightly lost when you have to setup your own gear as well..) It was also obvious from the costumes that they weren’t going to be taking themselves too seriously. But in the end they were a great band to finish the night off with; some (almost annoyingly) catchy songs and guitar riffs couple with the ‘fun factor’ meant that I really enjoyed the set and had muchos fun dancing along.

Unknown track

So altogether it was a fantastic day/night and I hope, ultimately, a successful one for Breast Cancer Research. Congratualtions to all involved!!

NB For those that hadn’t noticed, there’s a new ‘widget’ down the side of the blog using socialvibe. In short, please click on the link and do whatever gubbins it asks and the sponsor will then donate a small amount to my chosen charity; Stand Up To Cancer. Only takes a minute!

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