Million Dead, Gay For Johnny Depp

Mark Ralph 22/09/2005

Camden's Underworld is the one of the final destinations on this Emo Mecca - questions like why?, why? and why? arise when you stop for one moment to try and comprehend the situation. So this is it, the death of Million Dead seems so much more important inside, people are actually crying (obviously, clearly I haven't read my Emo Handbook in quite some time) and the general mood of anticipation for what's going to happen next is on the minds and faces of the die-hards. For one reason or another, the mighty UK 'emotional' rockers Million Dead have decided to call it a day citing 'Irreconcilable differences within the band'.

Inside is hot, very hot, there's not a dry armpit in the house and as unglorious as this may sound, this is the prefect setting for the penultimate MD show. Is Jamie from Reuben crazy? Dennis the Menace-like jumper AND leather jacket? Take a picture. The smell of the pit is alluring and I venture down completely, well, semi-oblivious to what I am about to witness….

Gay for Johnny Depp are splitting tonight's crowd it seems. Those who have heard the silly name and seen their (awesome) videos are wide-eyed and keen to get within groin-rubbing distance of front man Arty 'Leopard', who I read, was attacked on stage for “on-stage faggery” (his words) during the Exeter leg of the MD tour. No feather-boa this time but as OTT as ever, the four-piece tear into their set tight, yet somehow cautiously vicious. 'Sex in Your Mouth' is the turning point - “this is Johnny's world” repeat x4. From here on it's an all out onslaught, this kids at the front who at the start looked comfortable during the tamer numbers, now have a worried glint about them. On-stage tomfoolery aside, this band are great!

The musician's bare stark contrast to that of their lead singer, all glued in position and eyes on their instruments delivering blow after blow stopping not once to asses their damage. 'Raise Hell' is a particular stand out and slightly different to the rest of the set. A jerky guitar intro picks up pace and thunder balls into an erotic display of power (all without the funny samples found on the record) and things heat up even further. Already shirtless with 'joy boy' scrawled across his skinny chest in a red Crayola, Arty drops his pants, a wise move perhaps with all those zombie hands? Unphased, he goes further, slipping himself into the crowd who seem only too happy to have him in their company. The Vanessa Paradis thing between tunes was quite funny although as much as my friend was trying to explain, I have to admit: I didn't get it.

Gone almost as quickly as they arrive, pants back on they leave the stage. 'Erotically Discharged Dance Songs for the Desperate' will be bought, treasured and loved. Is it possible to be gay for Gay for Johnny Depp? I think so.

I'll be honest - I never really liked Million Dead and I didn't exactly spauff my pants with disappointment when hearing about their demise. But, I can tell tonight will be different. So many hearts broken, this band owes their fans one last night of passion. Break-up sex if you will and it only gets better, evaporated sweat drops from the ceiling… They come out looking as if they've all had a pre-gig shower with their clothes on. Frank and his amazingly bad hair announce the sad news again for those who might not have heard it before. For a relatively sad occasion, there's nothing but wide smiles in the crowd, perhaps safe in the knowledge they are witnessing yet another great UK band calling it quits in 2005. 'Smiling at Strangers' sounded amazing and it just dawns on me that I will never get the pleasure again! Reality hits and it hurts. Hang on; I thought I didn't like MD? Well I do tonight - it just seems so right.

Julia is as animated as ever throwing her bass every which way, that thing should have a leash. Funny, I never remembered this band where so powerful live and tonight's Underworld sound is pretty much spot-on. I give in and, in an effort to make the most of this occasion, I enthusiastically ask a pair of young ladies to lift all 14stones of me up. Yay, I'm surfing! Frank is 90% water at this point and I am lifted up onto the stage and kicked back into the wings. They power through the entire catalogue it seems, stopping sporadically to tune up and water those crushed at the front. This set is easily an hour and a half long and by the time we hear “thank you London goodbye and god bless” everything turns into a blur - offering my shoulder to the nice girls that helped me up I can tell there will be a lot of outside street time to be had. Gone but not to be forgotten - Million Dead R.I.P.