|Newspaper >> The bourgeois >> Music|
It's 10.30 in a pub in a back alley in the heart of London's East End. Already the basement room is packed with youngsters jostling to catch a glimpse of one of Bladerock's biggest names, Axewound. Bladerock is the latest musical sensation, drawing youngsters from the council blocks and gas stations to underground Bladescenes like this.
Bladerock's origins date back to 2005, when Mick Mann, the lead singer of the notorious hardcore band The Hooples, pulled a six inch carving knife from his sock on stage during a live performance. Mann then proceeded to play his guitar with it. It was an instant sensation, drawing inevitable comparisons with Hendrix playing the guitar with his teeth.
After this fans on the gig circuit started to carry blades to gigs. They risked being refused entry by security and even being arrested for carrying an offensive weapon, but this didn't deter the faithful. In fact, many relished the challenge, as Stevie Jones, 17, explained, 'It was fun, you know, trying to get knives past the bouncers. Once me and my mates did like Al Pacino in the Godfather, and taped all our blades to the toilet cistern the day before a gig.'
The Hooples' gig inspired a whole music scene. It is best described as a fast, raw, brutal punk, but it incorporates all styles of music. Audience participation is one of the notable characteristics of Bladerock gigs. It is customary during these gigs for someone to jump on stage, threaten the lead guitarist or singer with a knife and, if successful, take over. In my time as a journalist on the Bladerock scene, I witnessed a young man in a baseball cap jump on stage, threaten a rather conventional indie setup with a cleaver, then proceed to improvise rap over the band's music. On another occasion, a young woman cut the lead guitarists Achilles tendon, and took over on steel drum.
The crowd at Bladerock nights are always raucous, merry and up for a laugh. Instead of the conventional moshpit, at Bladerock nights there are 'Stabpits', where youngsters merrily stab each other when they come in close contact. To an outsider, it sounds grim, yet to these impoverished youngsters, it gives them a sense of identity. Stevie told me, 'sure, we're stabbing each other, but at least we're not out on the streets wiv our hoodies giving David Cameron the V's.'
Another fascinating aspect of Bladerock is an appeal that transcends class boundaries. A surprising number of youngsters at Bladerock gigs are, in spite of their shiny Reebok trousers and Le Coq Sportif shirts are public schools children, losing themselves in the hedonism of the Bladerock scene. The son of The Bourgeois politics editor, Alistair, or 'Death Rattle' as he is known on the scene, first alerted The Bourgeois of this thriving scene. Alistair explained, 'Well, eventually I'm hoping to work in the music industry when I finish university. Me and my friends work as kind of intermediaries bringing the scene to the nespapers. If public school children weren't into a music scene, how would the press ever hear about it?'
Later that evening I watched Alistar cooly stab Stevie in the heart with a Japanese sushi knife. Stevie stumbled across the packed floor, blood gushing from the terrible, precise wound in his chest. As the band on stage ironically played a ska version of 'Barber's Adagio for Strings,' Stevie managed to turn his bloodied head towards Alistair. 'Why, Alistair, why? I fort we was mates.'
'Such as you are and such as I am can never and will never be friends' replied Alistair in a voice of death, and with the light of arctic mornings in his eyes, he pulled a thin rapier from a sheath concealed upon his person, and drove the point between Stevie's eyes.
The Hooples have reformed and will be playing Brixton Academy on 23rd September.