EVIL SCARECROW Review – 28.10.21

Evil Scarecrow Review
by Donny Wrench

Review for Ay Up Duck Radio’s Sugarmill Show

Thursday 28th October 2021 will remain in my memory for a long time for being my first post lock-down concert. Vulgore, INTHEWHALE, and headliners Evil Scarecrow did not disappoint on my first venture back to the live music scene.


On a typical soaking wet autumnal night in Stoke on Trent, I entered the familiar setting of The Sugarmill and was just about to order a drink when Vulgore hit the stage. The local lads ploughed into their first song and really woke up the audience dampened from the appalling weather. Their energy and enthusiasm was completely matched with driving guitar riffs and crashing drums.

Although their sound was definitely on the heavier side, it had a great groove and lots of catchy guitar-based melodies from rhythm and lead guitarists Andy Lovatt and David Jones respectively, not to mention the sturdy bass playing of Sam Williams.

How lead singer Nathan Meigh can repeat the performance I witnessed night after night I’ll never know, pouring his heart out and leaving nothing on stage while drummer Hayden Ball skilfully crashes his drums around his every word.

It was awesome to see hits like Nothing But Time, Carnal Instinct, and Let It Burn from their 2021 EP Archaic. Vulgore are definitely one to catch if you’re lucky enough to see them locally or further afield. They wowed the festival crowds at Bloodstock and it’s easy to see why.



Next to the stage, all the way from Colorado, USA, were INTHEWHALE. It’s always surprising to see only two lads make their way onto the stage and you often wonder what you are going to be met with. Well let me assure you I was met with musical excellence.

Armed only with a drumkit and guitar, I assumed this would be a stripped back set for the duo as there was no way these two could make the same sound as they do in their studio stuff. I was, of course, pleasantly surprised when the clever blend of energetic rock, aggression, memorable riffs, and the screams of annoyed youth translated on stage in a way better than I could have possibly wished for.

The two-piece of lead singer and guitarist Nate Valdez and drummer Eric Riley show that sometimes less is much much more, sprinting into their set with an ungodly pace and cool composure which produced a wall of noise. The warmed-up crowd had just been knocked off their feet.

At no point during the set did my ears miss a bass guitar, rhythm or lead guitar, keys or any other instrument or instrumentalist as Nate was running around and leaping from anything and everything he could climb on. Eric, meanwhile, was of course stationary behind the kit, though his animated performance made the stage his own. His arms a blur all around him, his head banging with every beat of his kick-drum, and every now and then producing a scream any Halloween creature would be proud of, Eric tried his best to one-up his bandmate Nate.

INTHEWHALE played most, if not all, of their new EP Vanishing Point and it is certainly one for any rock collection; not only is theirs a catchy music, but it is also extremely clever. The two draw comparison to Soundgarden, System of a Down, and even the Beastie Boys at times.

These boys aren’t messing around. The United States know this, their fans know this, and now I know this. While we are only just learning of INTHEWHALE I implore you to listen to Drug Dealer, Smoke Break, and The End, all of which were amazing in the live setting.

I’ll be closely following the band’s progression and you’re a fool if you don’t join me in doing so.


Evil Scarecrow

Finally, the moment I had been waiting for all evening, the headliners.

Coming into tonight’s gig I was what some may refer to as a ‘Scarecrow Virgin’, having only previously seen photos of the band and just a few snippets of their work. In all honesty I was feeling rather nervous; I was a little worried by the band’s appearance and as the lights went down I could feel the tension and atmosphere mount to an enormous height.

Suddenly the lights beamed down on a stage so full of props that Spinal Tap would have been jealous. The tension was immediately broken as the heavily made-up and ghoulish band emerged onto their dojoesue stage; lead out through the smoke by frontman and guitarist Dr Hell, the band made up of bassist Kraven Morrdeth, drummer Ringmaster Monty Blitzfist, guitarist Count Gravedïga, and keyboardist Alice Babylon took their places.

I knew immediately that Evil Scarecrow had come for a good time.

I now understand that watching Evil Scarecrow is far more than just watching a band perform a set as they made their stance on audience participation clear from the off. Getting the crowd involved sits at the centre of everything the band do, be it the ‘karate masters’ either side of the stage holding signs reading “Strike First!” and “’Show No Mercy!” to be shouted by the crowd in Evil Scarecrow’s latest single Master of The Dojo, to the free DVD on offer to the crowd member who could catch a giant fly dangling from the ceiling with a 10-foot pair of chopsticks. No, you read that right.

Evil Scarecrow make the dancefloor into a circus, especially during their hits Robototron and Crabulon, in which a giant robot on stage flies a UFO above the heads of the crowd and demons patrol the stage respectively. They certainly don’t take their image seriously, but their craft is utter excellence.

Each band member was so comfortable with their instrument that they could focus on the circus unfolding before them. Evil Scarecrow had the audience, myself included, in the palm of their hand.

I’d see this band a hundred times over and not get bored of their antics; the music was loud, incredibly well written, tight, and the whole set seemed perfectly rehearsed. I can imagine no better way to end my musical hiatus than with that night’s performance.

You have to experience Evil Scarecrow and you have to do so soon or you may have to bring your binoculars as they will soon be selling out stadia around the world. They are nothing short of a musical riot fused with a fever dream and you will have to go a very long way before you can find anyone to match their insane talent and stage presence.


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© Donny Wrench 2022
Contact: SugarmillShow@gmail.com







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