• Casper

A night of punk and Hulk Hogan - a show like no other

Punk has always been split; the 70’s had fashion versus politics, the 00’s had Emo vs Pop Punk and now it seems in the 10’s we have a split between how seriously bands take themselves. How many times have you gone to a gig to see a guy dressed like he bought all of his clothes from Camden for a price 4x the amount than if he had just gotten a sharpie and a pair of jeans, preaching about how consumerism is destroying society? Just cause it’s from Camden man doesn’t mean the money’s going towards some viva la resistance bullshit. Or even more common, a band dressed in Jeans and 3-day old T-shirt they picked up off the floor type. Playing the same 3 power chords every song, but it’s okay because his words are what’s important. They’re totally original despite trying their best to sound like Nirvana or some various band from the Tony Hawks Pro Skater games. And as you listen to the nth band in a row to rhyme girl with world maybe you start to think “is this what’s left of Punk”? Have you ever wanted a band that can entertain you and remember your pizza order too? Who’ll dress like members of Top Gun and serenade a cut out of Ainsley Harriot? Who buy you a drink for coming to their gig instead of you buying them a drink for playing? Well, that’s oddly specific and you should really set yourself some easier goals in life and maybe start buying bands drinks you cheap skate. But, in a world where rule 34 exists there is also Melisandre’s Beaver. Melisandre’s Beaver began back in August 2016 with singer Daniel Drew, bassist Mac Macnamara, with departed drummer Rob Studholme who left the band in 2019 to be replaced by their latest toy boy James ‘Nesbo’ Nesbitt. Hailing from Dover, Kent the band has seen a strong success for a Kent based indie band. Which brings us to now to the release of the bands single “Brother” and its B-side “Never Be That Cool”. “Brother” is an ode to Hulk Hogan the retired pro wrestler and TV personality. This is easily apparent to anyone from the song’s lyrics, which sound like the showboating of those old WWE shows you may have watched after Yu-Gi-Oh on Sky1 as a kid. That’s about my only experience with it anyway. The idea to write a song about Hogan came from a trip the band took with a few friends. Spending five days away on a narrow boat in Caversham, Oxford where they would “beat the shit out of each other” dressed as pro wrestlers. “Drew was dressed up as Mankind/Cactus Jack and Mac was dressed up as Hulk Hogan. I think Nesbo was still doing his GCSE's at this point in time.” Following this very macho and totally “no homo” event the band began watching Hulk Hogan videos online and laughing at how ridiculous his persona was. “A massive orange leathery balding beefcake. He's like a cartoon character. All show, Doesn't give a fuck, he's all about the people and the showmanship.” The band usually tends to write songs together with one person starting the concept and the rest building on it. In this case it was Mac who regurgitated the lyrics in one sitting channelling his inner wrestling spirit with lines like “With the meanest as my witness, it’s time we got right down to business” and “I stripped the flesh right off the dirtiest player in the game”. These lyrics hit the right caricature level you’d expect for song written to be a musical equivalent of that old 70’s program Spitting Image. “The song explores his nature of being a badass, unstoppable, torrent of showmanship along with some of his ridiculous well known phrases thrown in.” The band itself admits the song in its “bare bones” is nothing special. And to be honest they’re right. Every pop and punk chord structure in the book is in this song. 3 chords per bar til the last bar split in to two straight out of a Green Day song. The ascending pre-chorus to create tension. And of course the 3 or 4 word repeating phrase for the chorus as a hook. But you know what? It works. I mean, It can’t not work it is a proven structure that works time and time again to make an ear worm. It could easily be considered unoriginal and as a fan and friend of the band I hate to say that. But, let’s be honest here this band is not setting out to be the next Talking Heads. This is three friends who bounce of each other, making great music that they can go out and have fun with. For what the band may lack in musical theory application in their work they more than make up for in their live shows. Banter with the audience, stage props and gimmicks, which puts them heads and shoulders above other bands on their level in my opinion. The average punter is not looking to hear a bands use of borrowed chords or how you build a song in fourths. Hell, the average pub gig you can’t even tell what the singer is singing cause the sound guys busy chatting up the bird with big tits he’s been drunkenly telling you is a “Proper goer” all evening. This band knows that and they play on it in a amusingly successful way. I have not attended a single one of their gigs and not see people at the very least tapping their feet in appreciation or laughing along, if not straight up starting mosh pits (which is in fact how I met the band). This is not to doubt the musical skill of the band. Mac’s bass playing is quite distinctive in his quite identifiable way of playing by moving to the high register of the bass to create tension in the songs. Examples of this can be heard at roughly 1:56 in to the song. Drummer Nesbo’s rocks like a metronome with rolls that could be considered rather Dave Grohl-esque. Whilst, singer Daniel Drew’s (don’t tell him I know his name. We’ve got a thing going) voice its consistently fluid and playfully gruff. Like a pizza boy angry that his parents made him take singing lessons at 9 am on a Sunday morning and tries to get back at them by smoking behind the churchyard. The band’s live performances fun and energy has carried over in to the band’s music video for “Brother”. Bassist’s Mac’s (aged 30 (not important just like reminding him) ) father owns a car spray booth “In the arse end of nowhere” renting it off of a “deaf as fuck farmer”, which the band filled with soft play equipment from Dover Bouncy Castles, as well as, amps and drums. They then styled this equipment in to the vague form of a wrestling ring, squeezed themselves in to their tight spandex and Hulk Hogan gear and went fucking nuts. Showing off their macho strength by ripping up posters of Hulk Hogan and prancing about in the manliest way possible you can in a yellow feather boa the band create a disorientating world of masculinity and pseudo-violence that only pauses for a brief moment on the tear in the crotch of their spandex. Oh no I just hit the pause button my bad…. Okay I’m back. So the video, yeah? Filmed by Mac’s sister Emily and a couple of Go Pros the band had experienced what those in the removals business call “The Gray Lung”. The car spraying booth being covered in dust left the band hacking up their lungs afterwards. Which, considering the amount of shouting happening in the song, meant the band likely did not get kissed for the next week or so. Mac then edited the video at home in roughly two weeks. This is testament to the bands DIY attitude, which is always a great sign of an authentically punk band. The song was recorded at Magpie studios in Bethersden by engineer Charlie Creese whom the band fully endorse if not just for his work, but for the butchers down the road. When asked about the bands relationship with Charlie singer Dan says: “We've always recorded there. For what he charges and the quality of track be produces, I feel like were mugging him every time we go there (…) I think he charges us so little cos we went with him when he was first starting and have brought him in a lot of other business” You can catch the band’s song “Brother” on Youtube on the link below: And more information about the band on their facebook page:

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