Hell's Gazelles, the local opening act, are a tight hard rock band with uniformly excellent hair. There was some really decent musicianship and stage presence all round, but the lead vocalist was especially good — he's a great singer and a born showman. They also gave the almost empty room an impressively full on level of energy — definitely an act to watch out for.
Next up was a comedy set from Andrew O'Neill, who is also the guitarist of the main act. He performed a scratch version of his upcoming show, Andrew O'Neill Is Trapped Down A Well. I'm not sure how well scratch material goes down in a music gig; while a more polished set here would have sat nicely, this seemed weak and unfocused. The set was a bit hit and miss — there were some great one liners and I liked the silliness of the concept, but the material was generally slightly lacklustre.
The main act, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, are a hardcore steampunk punk band with great stagecraft and an interesting concept. The band are musically very good (I have never seen a saw played with such accuracy and aplomb) and brought a lot of lively fun to the confusingly still-sparse room.
Their punk/hardcore songs are enjoyable and competent, but it's when they stray from their genre that TMTWNBBFN really shine. I loved their goth rock anthem 'No God No Ghost No Afterlife'. My favourite tracks were when they really leaned into the Victoriana and theatricality - 'Charlie Charlie Darling' was particularly good.
Rather than using their theming as a lazy gimmick, TMTWNBBFN inhabit it with real commitment. (They have released two of their singles on limited edition wax cylinders. TWO of their singles.) This, and their musical robustness, elevates what could be dismissed as a silly novelty act to something much more interesting — but without losing the important element of silly fun.