Live Review: Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Smoke

11 December 2015 | 3:45 pm | Tom Hersey

"The exploitative uneasiness present in the filmographies of Russ Meyer or Herschell Gordon Lewis has found its way onto all of the band's records."

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The thing about Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats is that you expect them to be this tiny cult act. In an age where a band's popularity is so easily quantified, they're one of only two metal acts around today — the other being Ghost — that, no matter how much hype you hear about them, you still assume that at the show the touring party is going to outnumber audience members. That's why it's so jarring to walk into Crowbar and see a mass of people hovering around the bar. Who are they all? Why weren't they in the audience the last time Cathedral played Brisbane? By the time Smoke start playing the kind of hazy jams that might worship at the altar of Saint Vitus it's damn near elbow-to-elbow.

But even if some of the crowd might be otherwise disinterested and jockeying for a dope spot for Uncle Acid, Smoke do a pretty good at making those in attendance take notice of their tunes. With their bowls packed tight and ears turned to the 1970s, the long-haired trio riff on Sabbath when they are at their slowest. It's leaden-paced stuff, but the guitar keeps everything feeling interesting while the deft shifts in dynamics afford the drummer his moment in the sun. Before long those vacant placeholders are shouting their cheers. Tonight, Smoke definitely don't blow it.

Then it's Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats turn to do the whole proto-doom thing, and Crowbar's downstairs gets even more packed out. The room fills with excited masculine cheers as the Englishmen take to the stage, plumes of smoke obscuring the parts of faces not already covered by hair. They kick things off with Waiting for Blood from this year's The Night Crawler record and the packed crowd pushes towards the front of the venue. Much like Electric Wizard, a certain part of Uncle Acid's appeal lies in their excellent taste in weird retro films. The exploitative uneasiness present in the filmographies of Russ Meyer or Herschell Gordon Lewis has found its way onto all of the band's records, but onto Mind Control and The Night Creeper most prominently. Even chopped out of their album sequencing, tracks like Pusher Man and Poison Apple hit home because of the dark eeriness the band presents them with tonight. The guitar tone has that warm vintage crackle that heightens the creepiness of these otherwise straightforward rock'n'roll jams. As the band continues on with their set, getting big cheers for the material from 2012's Blood Lust record, it becomes glaringly evident, even through all the fog being pumped from the smoke machines, that their live show is the reason why Uncle Acid &The Deadbeats have earned this legion of fans.