If there’s one thing to bear in mind when it comes to hard rock band Red Fang, it’s that they’re not a band that takes themselves – nor rock music in general – seriously. The group are known for their insane, and frequently hilarious, high concept videos. Usually involving some low budget special effects gore and a copious amount of beer swigging. They set the tone right from the beginning. Four bearded dudes emerge onto the stage, wearing the results of years of touring and drinking almost like battle scars. They make their entrance to the sound of ‘Danger Zone’ by Kenny Loggins, mostly known for its use in the movie Top Gun and possibly the most 80s piece of music ever conceived. They shake hands with each other in mock formality and then away they go, their music speeding down a desert highway that only hits the breaks once the show finally comes to an end.
They play a number of new songs from their soon to be released new record, Only Ghosts, but if you didn’t have any knowledge of their back catalogue you would be hard pressed to tell which songs were the new ones and which were the old. Red Fang have no real interest in progressing their sound all that much. There’s nothing here that’s going to challenge any of their audiences pre-conceptions of what a Red Fang song sounds like. They’re not even particularly going to change much from one song to the next, but that’s fine. It’s all about maintaining that momentum. So long as their songs perform the basic functions of giving us a monstrous riff and a galloping rhythm, then that’s more than enough for the crowd. The aim is to have fun and take the opportunity to jump around. Both were to be had in abundance during tonight’s performance, spilt pints and all. As the anticipatory opening riff of ‘Wires’ rings out, the crowd are already bouncing up and down before the rhythm section even kicks in. There’s almost an element of football terrace chanting to some of their choruses, which serve as an open invitation for participation.
Their show comes to its end and naturally ‘Prehistoric Dog’ is given an airing to a rapturous response. It’s a fantastically stupid song about intergalactic canines coming down to invade earth. Still their biggest hit, it perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the band. “They will erase the human race / Time to kiss your ass goodbye”, singer and bassist Aaron Beam warns us. In the face of imminent apocalypse, Red Fang know the only proper response is to party like it’s the last day on earth.