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Sweden’s Freak Kitchen are a band that have been viciously denied the popularity and exposure they whole-heartedly deserve. With their unique mesh of experimental progressive hard rock and heavy metal in bizarre tuning with unusual musical styles thrown in for good measure, usually delivered in a succinct four minute parcel accompanied with tongue-in-cheek satirical lyrics, there is nothing generic about what Freak Kitchen have to offer. They have not been to London since 2006, playing at the tiny Purple Turtle so it is encouraging to see them performing at a larger venue. The three members take the Underworld stage to an ecstatic audience reaction, launching straight into ‘God Save the Spleen’ from their latest album ‘Land of the Freaks’. Singer and guitarist Mattias IA Eklundh is phenomenal on guitar, using the solos to showcase his virtuosic skills and the verses to create not so technical but very strange guitar leads. He makes the work look painfully easy as his fingers dance around his fret board. The setlist circles predominantly around ‘Land of the Freaks’, ‘Organic’ and ‘Move’, Freak Kitchen’s last three albums. ‘Porno Daddy’, ‘Speak When Spoken To’ and ‘My New Haircut’ secure particularly strong and positive audience impressions with their humours lyrics and sing-along choruses. New songs, such as ‘Honey You’re a Nazi’, ‘Tear Gas Jazz’ and ‘Murder Groupie’ up the bar on technicality and bizarre time signatures and are guzzled swiftly by the audience. The serious ‘Razor Flowers’ sees bassist Chris Örtefors handling the vocals, kitted out in his riot gear uniform, delivering a fantastic live rendition of the ballad. The personality of the band is so mammoth that they feel like more than three musicians on stage, certainly not making the stage look empty. Eklundh’s onstage banter is fantastic, humorous and infinitely entertaining and typically Swedish in its archetypal humble way. The show is nothing short of a marvel and as the band make their thank yous and leave the stage, the audience does not disperse, keenly awaiting an encore. Unfortunately, no such thing happens, most probably due to a curfew imposed by the venue, and the show is officially over. Nonetheless, the audience appear to have profoundly enjoyed the show of great musicianship and humour. Hopefully the strong response will see Freak Kitchen returning to the UK quicker than four years.
Friday 12th November 2010
Camden Underworld in London, UK
Review by Elena Francis