For the Imperium - The Cluny, Newcastle - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

For the Imperium - The Cluny, Newcastle

by Amy Putman Rating: Release Date:

If this were the 1950s, I would write something brief and chirpy like: "Despite their brief time on stage, the boys really rallied and gave it their all - well done, chaps!" Luckily, however, this is 2013, and I have no word-limit, so instead I can fizz effusively about their presence and skill, like an excited cola full of pop-rocks. What I'd really like to do is replace the traditional, relentless widgey-wakka of Pacman with the word 'awesome' or maybe 'epic' and play an hour-long game.

They were so good that I feel like swearing for emphasis would debase the experience. Have you ever seen a cartoon called Metalocalypse? In it they bleep out swear words with a fierce electric-guitar strum. Never before have I thought a band worthy of that particular crunch, resonant with the pure spirit of metal, but right now I'm wishing I could find some way to transcribe the experience of the sound alphabetically. I'd be using it liberally throughout.

So to get closer to the point, For the Imperium are such a brilliant, sparkling, I-don't-even-exist-this-sound-is-blowing-me-away live band that I feel my descriptive ability stumbling and crumbling away like a sandcastle meeting a clever foot. I don't believe that I can convey exactly how amazing they are - you simply had to be there. For the Imperium are one of the top five bands I have ever seen live, and I go to a lot of gigs. They were better than the time I saw Metallica. They out-performed Dragonforce. I once stood in sheet-rain for half-a-day to be at the front for Korn; For the Imperium had more stage presence.

To clarify, I'm not saying their music is intrinsically better, but whereas with many bands whose albums you love, the live version is either a plain run through with added faces, or a disappointment which doesn't live up to the benefits of the studio, For the Imperium presents an added value version - every bit as musically able but with extra depth and glimmer provided by their act.

There was a blunt-faced, grumpy-browed dude behind me who, when they came on stage, grunted gruffly to his companion that he didn't give a shit about the support bands and wished they'd all just get on with it and fuck off so Breed 77 would come and play. By the end of the first song he was nodding his head and said loudly, with a smile in his voice: "I like these guys - they're cool". Even if you don't know their music, For the Imperium would be worth seeing live just for the sheer energy they bring to the stage. Existing fans will be treated to an album-plus; everything present but somehow better; amped-up, pumped, larger; the album on 'roids, muscles flexing to show you what they can really do.

Above all else, For the Imperium are immense fun. I didn't stop grinning their entire set, whether from engaging with their absolute playfulness, or the pure joy of how well they play their beautifully composed madness. They were as cocky as The Hives but without the irritation factor, and worked the crowd with light banter and cock-rocking showcase moves. They had the ego of Dragonforce but worked it better. Their puerile comments should have been abrasive but somehow the quality of their playing offset them so they became a silly quirk instead of a deal-breaking disappointment. They managed to simultaneously seem professional, and give the impression that you were a voyeur, gaining a rare glimpse into a bunch of boys messing about on their way to fame.

Their personality is large and bounding, kicking your ears into action and poking your body into transforming their work into a physical effect; a visceral experience which made you feel every twist of rhythm or tune. The vocals were impeccable and the rest was spot on, despite them leaping around the stage in a dizzying manner; a sign of true talent. It was undeniable that they were really enjoying themselves and the strutting pride and jocular twists on genre standards of performance created an infectious joy you could feel spreading through the crowd.

They are immensely likeable and have the balls, the showmanship, and the music to back it up. They left the stage lightly sweaty and gleaming, leaving an emptiness and cavernous silence where seconds before their frenetic, ably-blended style had filled the room to such effect I felt like a slightly more solid part of a great flowing jelly, lifted and floated in the middle of their sonic mix.

Since they were supporting, it was disappointing they were only given 20 minutes, but they did a heck of a lot with the few songs they had time for. It was as though they were releasing all the energy and hard work pent up from years of practice and struggle in one great blast of laser-bright sound. Personally, I think two of the four bands playing should have been erased from the line-up and left them more time to play. I am very much looking forward to the days when they headline. With more time to dance about, jump on speakers, dive, laugh, raise their instruments to the sky and twiddle around their crotches, not to mention more of their excellent sounds, they would truly prove their worth to any doubters out there.

I am also excited about the soon-to-come day when they are better known in Britain. Since most people were there to see the headliners, I did feel a little like Mel from Flight of the Conchords; the lone cheerleader, slightly lame and cheering too loud. They deserved every decibel, but it was a little awkward. That said, those who may not have known them were gifted with a rare delicacy: a surprising treat. I believe the stone-faced man cannot have been the only one won over by their abilities. If there's any justice, everyone there will have gone home, Googled them and be buying their merch as I type.

If you possibly can, you should see For the Imperium live. Do whatever you must - fly to Finland if you have to - but don't miss out. This is what live music is supposed to be: All the joy of the band proving themselves to be more than careful editing; better than their product. It's only a matter of time before they start playing much larger venues and, while they will still be outstanding, to see talent like this up close is extraordinary and something everyone should feel at least once. These men were born to be on stage.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet
Related Articles