Twenty-five years ago, Dog Eat Dog released All Boro Kings, an album that blew the roof off many rock venues and opened up an avenue for fans of Biohazard, Sick of it all and Cypress Hill to embrace hardcore, funk, rap and metal in one.
Tonight the New Jersey crew are in London to celebrate with us at the Underworld in Camden, a venue drenched in history for showcasing some of the best metal and rock bands you may not have heard of. I see fans wearing Biohazard garb, skater clothing, Bad Brains T-shirts, Anarchist leather jackets and Dog Eat Dog hockey shirts, some with hair and many like me where father time has taken the follicles.
A little after 8:45 pm and it’s time for the main event of the evening. Straight into “These Are Good Times” as the saxophonist blasts this recognisable intro, the crowd go crazy. The crowd stage dive like it’s their last day on earth, some a bit too often. John Connor holds the mic like a pro and maintains the stage with confidence, bassist Dave Neabore to the left of the stage is a sight for sore eyes, Brandon Finley behind the skins, and guitarist Roger “Swiss Hammer” Haemmerli are going to put All Boro Kings on full blast with “Pull My Finger”, “Who’s the King”, “In The Dog House” and “What Comes Around”. Their energy hasn’t deteriorated over thirty years all. We have a little dance break courtesy of Bozes the saxophonist, at the front of stage jiving like an uncle at a wedding.
Dave Neabore’s face is of pure joy, he acknowledges the crowd while humbly thanks us for being here. John Connor’s mum and first cousin Sinead are here tonight watching what the band built over their years together. Sinead jumps on stage… No, she isn’t about to do a duet. What she does is tap John on his side mid-song and tells him, “Get out my way, I’m going for it !” and she stage dives. This is when a metal crowd looks out for others, they carry her to the side of the stage, a beautiful sight. The party atmosphere in the Underworld goes up a notch with the UK hit “No Fronts” as tour manager Danny joins the festivities on the mic.
This is euphoric recall as I stand at the back of this venue and reminisce seeing these guys the first time at the London Astoria in 1996, Sugar Ray supported them. I had hair and, after that gig, I met the band at The Borderline – two iconic venues that are no longer with us.
John Connor announces Dog Eat Dog will release their first record in twenty years. That is surprising but what’s more, is how DED does not feature on the UK festival scene such as Download. I’d love to see a shared tour with Biohazard or Powerflo, how crazy would that be? My inner teenage self just wept with joy.
Back to the party as Dave runs on stage in a boxing gown to do “Rocky” from Play Games, then “Step Right in” – a track which featured RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan – tonight performed with Brandon. The lead singer of support act Waltari appears to help JC cover “Just Another Victim” from the Judgement Night soundtrack, originally by House of Pain and Helmet and then a great cover of Green Day’s 1994 hit “Basket Case”.
Tonight’s been an energy fuelled evening where they haven’t missed a beat, and damn, I’m shattered. I have to say what an amazing performance from guitarist Roger Haemmerli who crunched those riffs like a mo-fo.
Until next time.