The Moon, Cardiff, Sat 28 Apr
There’s a time and a place for I Am Drug. That time is now and that place is here: 11pm on a Saturday night, playing to a seething mass of well-oiled revellers helping to celebrate a much-loved grassroots venue’s first birthday in suitably chaotic and memorable style.
Proclaiming on their Facebook page to be “a post-apocalyptic art rock band”, I Am Drug are men on a mission, crusaders against the crushing tedium of much of what passes for rock‘n’roll “in an age of sterile, anodyne, business-plan muzak”. Are they guilty of overselling themselves? Perhaps – though the suggestion that they put on an “explosive, unpredictable and energetic freak show” is indisputable. They are, quite frankly, both ridiculous and ridiculously entertaining.
While the guitarist, bassist and drummer combine to create a musical mongrel somewhere between the pantomimic metal of early Faith No More and the malevolent lurch of The Jesus Lizard, it’s vocalist Christian Sargent who really puts the “freak” in the “freak show”. He may have cribbed pretty much all of his moves from Iggy Pop, but let’s face it – there are worse role models to have than the Stooges frontman. Sargent spends considerably more time getting up close and personal in the crowd than he does onstage, Before long, he’s topless and making use of the adhesive properties of sweat by liberally dousing himself with glitter. The utter bamboozlement smeared over the drunken faces of Judgement Day rugby fans who stagger in off the street is a beautiful thing to behold.
The final song finds Sargent chanting “Out, devil, out”, as though performing a public self-exorcism. Let’s hope it never works, given how enjoyable it is to watch him wrestle WWF-style with his demons. As birthday parties go, this certainly trumps cheese and pineapple cubes on sticks.
words BEN WOOLHEAD photos DAVID RENN