Theory of a Deadman preach to the converted at the Koko
It’s fair to say that Camden isn’t Theory of a Deadman’s natural habitat: despite their being Canadian, their sound invokes teenage America rather than trendy North London. However, the band staged somewhat of a takeover of Koko, turning it into a place to rock out, amongst their thousands of fans.
The band got their leg up from countryman Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, to whose record label they were once signed to. It’s easy to see the similarities; frontman Tyler Connolly may lack Kroeger’s flowing locks, but his strut and legs wide apart stance come straight out of the American rock star manual.
Watching them, one can almost see this genre’s charm: they have a certain wit about them, which means that the pounding guitars and overtly simplistic lyrics are more than bearable. In fact with songs like Got It Made and Santa Monica, they’re infinitely more listenable than their more famous compatriots.
Yet, despite the fact that a band like this gets the crowd rocking, one can’t help but feel that there’s a slight poverty to what they’re trying to do. Nothing is that experimental or even particularly interesting for those who aren’t immediately infected with the urge to sing along. This culminates in a badly judged cover of JJ Cale’s Cocaine, a needless cliché that didn’t add anything to the gig.
The problem is that their sound now feels terribly dated and more mainstream than perhaps they would like us to think they have; it’s the sort of hard rock which adorns computer game soundtracks, bad Blockbuster movies and MTV reality shows.
Despite their charm, they’re ploughing a field that went fallow in the middle of the last decade. The kids have moved on, and the music is simply not compelling enough to thrive outside of its natural habitat of disenfranchised North American suburbia.
This is not a reason to hate the band though. Their fans love them, as evidenced by those jumping around chanting every word of Bad Girlfriend, yet Theory of a Deadman are unlikely to convert anyone who didn’t already know every word, and that in the end makes for a workmanlike – rather than great – gig.
Photos: Chiara Ceccaioni
Watch Theory of a Deadman sing Bad Girlfriend here