S.C.U.M - Koko, London - 18/10/11
27 Oct 2011
“A gig that doesn’t win them any fans, but even-handedly, doesn’t cost them any...”;
Playing second on the bill to Wolf Gang on the NME Radar Tour, S.C.U.M. don’t really get the audience they deserve, given the sonic impressiveness of debut album, Again Into Eyes. Instead, the crowd they get is sparse in numbers yet talkative, leaving the band to do their thing in spite of disinterested rudeness.
What results is a gig that doesn’t win them any fans, but even-handedly, doesn’t cost them any. Frontman Tom Cohen, still blunting his teeth as a frontman, looks oddly uncomfortable. His attire, as always, is impeccable (except the bare-feet) yet his voice trails off on some tracks. He has particular difficulty in his single-voiced rendition of ‘Whitechapel’’s multi-tracked vocal parts. But then, by contrast, on songs like ‘Dreams Untrue’ – which opens proceedings – he sounds better than on record. His confidence is equally volatile, seeing him sauntering into the crowd during ‘Faith Unfolds’ but hiding sheepishly behind a guitar for what should be a majestic outing of ‘Cast Into Seasons’.
Having left after only thirty minutes on stage (again, a limitation of the NME collaboration), you get the feeling this is more a dress rehearsal for the band, than a true stab at a gig. It makes for a curious appetizer, working up my appetite for their next gig proper, but for now, it remains a tentative performance from a band beginning to find their (bare) feet.