Replacing the accomplished tones of mega-actress Maxine Peake with the ramshackled wale of Saoudi was a move that was bold, and ultimately inspired.
The result has been a kind of hedonism-fuelled electro-punk that we simply didn’t see coming.
For the purpose of this project, Saoudi plays the role of sick and twisted rock ‘n’ roll frontman Johnny Rocket, who dwells in the Valhalla Dale with his band The Moonlandingz. It’s a concept that has developed from The ERC’s album, Johnny Rocket, Narcissist & Music Machine… I’m Your Biggest Fan.
Strangely enough – on home turf – it is Bolton-born Peake who gets proceedings underway, proclaiming “I’m just the support act tonight”, before setting the scene with a thrilling spoken word interlude.
From then on, it’s pure, unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll as The Moonlandingz – who come across as being the brainchild of the ERC’s Adrian Flanagan – try to loosely keep a grasp on the conccpt. In reality, however, as Saoudi launches himself into the audience by the end of the second song, most people are here for the party.
Lead single ‘Sweet Saturn Mine’ comes out of the blocks very quickly and sends the pit below into near-on euphoria. Those down the back probably don’t see the singer for quite a portion of the night – not that it seems to taint the atmosphere.
Although there is audible influence from both parent projects, the overall feel of the night is not that far off a Fat White Family gig, with the same eyes-wide, sweaty, dirty, but ultimately exhilarating emotions making themselves known.
A noticeably vibrant audience seem at worst enthused and at best in another world – probably an indication The Moonlandingz are having just the effect on the audience that they set out to achieve. A fictional band with real life members welcoming crowd to their world.
The occasion comes to a suitably raucous end with ‘Man In Me Lyfe’ – a curtain-closer that sees Saoudi crash to the shore with one more creschendo of demented punk-rock. The applause is deafening afterwards and quite a few are gasping for air. But it’s damn well been worth it.