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Lucifer Star Machine
Pipeline, London
Saturday March 29 2014


Incongruously located a stone's throw from the gleaming towers of the City of London, the Pipeline is a relatively new addition to our motley assortment of rock 'n' roll watering holes.

As such, it's clean, bright, and unfeasibly civilized.

Downstairs, the gig room is spacious, well lit, and features a neon sign spelling out 'PUNK ROCK' on the wall behind the bar, just so we know what we're letting ourselves in for.

It's always good to see a new venue opening up for loud music and associated debauchery, but I think the Pipeline could do with some of its newness rubbed off.

Let's get a little messy, then, with...

...Dragster. Or, as they style themselves these days, presumably so that Google doesn't confuse the band with lairy racing cars, dragSTER. We'll stick with the standard English version of the name for now, and give the caps lock key a break.

Here they come, setting stuff up, plugging stuff in, a motley assortment of rock 'n' roll types ready for action and looking for trouble. The guitars crank up an elegantly distorted noise-blast and off they go: a one-band distillation of every ingredient in the rock cupboard.

Dragster are a little bit glam, quite a lot punk. They add a pinch of psychobilly and even a morsel of metal (although, fortunately, they don't pour in the full metal packet). In a way Dragster are a very twenty-first century rock band, in that they touch a whole bunch of bases without locking themselves in to any particular genre. A neat trick if you can do it, and Dragster certainly know how to tie the multiple strands of rock 'n' roll into a pretty nifty knot.

Dragster get in your face from the get-go. They are not in the business of taking prisoners. They brew up a big, battering noise that practically dares the audience to go out and buy a big motorbike and get some goddamn tattoos, whydontcha.

In the middle of it all, vocalist Fi (I don't know if she's got a big motorbike, but she's certainly ahead of the game in the tattoo department) gives it some righteous rock diva hollerin' while hurling herself around the stage, getting into the audience's faces, and causing some carefully-controlled chaos in front of the band's hurtling racket. Good draggin' tonight, as they probaby say on the Santa Pod raceway.

Lucifer Star Machine glower at us from behind their beards and denim armour.

They look like a bunch of extreme metal gangsters, but in fact their music owes much more to bluesy hard rock than anything particularly metallic.

In fact, much of their stuff is downright catchy, in that rousing chorus, punch the air, party in the moshpit kind of way.

If Lucifer Star Machine were a little more fresh-faced and a lot less beardy, they could give Green Day a run for their money.

It's gonzo rock anthems all the way, then, as the lads let rip, the dual-guitar thunder rolls out, and the crowd responds with a fine display of boisterousness. That's the thing about Lucifer Star Machine: they might look like the kind of scary dudes who set fire to churches for a laugh, but they're actually a no-shit bunch of good-time barrelhouse rockers, and their mission is to bring the party.

When, all of a sudden in the middle of the set, the drummer leaps out from behind his kit and plunges into the growd, fists swinging, it's a genuine shock: a bit of real stress in the middle of a show that for all its combative air is really all about good rockin' fun. It seems someone's been trying it on with the drummer's girlfriend - there's a frank exchange of views, and the drummer gets back on stage, and apologises for the break in transmission.

Good time rock 'n' roll service is resumed, and Lucifer Star Machine rumble and roar their way to a resounding climax. A few more gigs like that, and I reckon the Pipeline will soon get as messy as it needs to be.


Lucifer Star Machine: Website | Facebook

Dragster: Website | Facebook

For more photos from this gig, find the bands by name here.

Page credits: Words, photos and construction by Michael Johnson. Nemesis logo by Antony Johnston. Red N version by Mark Rimmell.

Words and photos in Nemesis To Go by Michael Johnson are licenced under Creative Commons. You may copy and distribute this material, or derivations of it, provided that you give a credit to Michael Johnson and a link to Nemesis To Go. Where material from other sources is used, copyright remains with the original owners. All rights in the name 'Nemesis To Go' and the 'N' logo are retained.