- Kingsley mid asphixiation. Possibly taking the Ian Curtis comparisons a tad too seriously.
Just over a year ago, The Moon and Back ran an article on Teeside post- punk outfit, The Chapman Family. Currently embarking on their largest UK tour to date, the band are louder, more confrontational and ever more relevant than they were not so long ago.
By mid-day on the 10th of November 2010, the ‘peaceful’ protest against the Tories rise in tuition fees has descended into anarchy. The Conservative headquarters have already been destroyed, and the first of the protests fifty-seven arrests have been made.
Meanwhile, back up the north. The Chapman Family quietly unload their van in preparation for their not even quarter full gig in Liverpool’s Masque Theatre. All of which is a rather morose commentary on the state of twenty -first century Britain. To make matters worse, little over a mile down the road, yet another American band so barren of substance, it physically hurts (Paramore) prepare to play to a 10,000 capacity crowd in one of the UK’s largest venues.
As the day goes on, news coverage repeatedly regurgitates the story of the ‘anarchy’ outside the Tory headquarters, each version more dramatic than the last. Adjectives such as ‘chaos’, ‘hostility’, ‘anger’ and ‘brutality’ are terms the media begin to force feed us until the story is so filtered it is beyond the point of truth. However, these same adjectives could so very easily be applied to The Chapman Family’s entire performance that same evening.
Taking to the stage amongst an ear bleeding drone of distortion and feedback, the band storm into forthcoming album track ‘All That’s Left to Break’, before new single ‘All Fall’ explodes into his short lived and extremely angry little life. Frontman, Kingsley Chapman screams with all the gusto of a young Henry Rollins yet gazes vacantly at the baying crowd with all the vulnerability of a very troubled Ian Curtis. Needless to say, it’s the most intimidating combination of attributes since Kerry Katona and Iceland joined forces to become the greatest advocates of frozen food, the cocaine industry has ever seen.
The intensity in the live performance only increases with forthcoming album tracks ‘She Didn’t Know’ and ‘This English Life’, both of which are easily potential singles. The show climaxes with the already anthemic ‘Kids’ and concludes with Kingsley’s inevitable self destruction as he asphyxiates himself with his mic lead (as you do), for set closer ‘A Million Dollars’ which, is bluntly introduced as ‘A song about killing children’. Subtle, I know. However, it’s when one of the just shy of twenty crowd members pipes up from the barrier and requests early demo tracks ‘You Are Not Me’ and ‘Lies’, that the importance of the band becomes so blatantly apparent. It begs the question, how high a regard must a band with no album , three singles and forty miles away from their home town be held in, in order to be asked for (and play) a demo track they haven’t played in just over two years?
It would be a mistake to label The Chapman Family a band for the people (a term reserved strictly for the pending re-incarnation of soul destroying Brit-Pop). But, on the back of such a performance where so few embraced them so dearly and more importantly, so honestly, it is difficult to consider them anything but. Possibly, this is the band for the people that actually give a shit. For the people that riot when a corrupt government prices an entire generation out of education. Or, for the people with ability to see straight through a teen subculture so void of anything worthwhile and so consumed by its own vanity that it’s arrogant enough to label itself ‘Emotional Rock’. On a day when mass media struggled to define a generations backlash The Chapman Family summed it up simply as ‘the kids are not alright and the kids are not ok’. This quite simply, is music for the current generation.
The Chapman Family played:
All That’s Left To Break
You Are Not Me
She Didn’t Know
This English Life
Something I can’t Get Out Of
A Million Dollars
The Chapman Family are currently touring the UK the dates of which are available from their website www.thechapmanfamilyisnotacult.com where you can also find a free download of ‘All That is Left to Break’. The band’s current single ‘All Fall’ is available via Itunes.