Boarding passengers! Welcome to flight number 02-24th to Camden. The captains are 1st Class Passengers, a quartet from Italy (yes, there is rock life over there!) whose music philosophy is clear: “if you think that Rock’N’Roll is just a nice logo on a t-shirt then stay awayf you think that Rock’N’Roll is just a nice logo on a t-shirt then stay awayf you think that rock ’n’ roll is just a nice logo on a t shirt, then stay away”. This is the kind of rock band one wants to listen to: no rebellion without a cause, no make believe, no trendy whoring out the music… it’s only rock ’n’ roll. f you think that Rock’N’Roll is just a nice logo on a t-shirt then stay awayIf Rimbaud and Verlaine (Paul, not Tom) still lived in Camden, they would have come to the gig, offered them some absinthe and written a poem about rock.
1st Class Passengers came all the way from Italy to play at Camden Rock, headliner of a four-band gig promoted by Hot Vox (music management, promotion and production company). But this is not their first nor last time in London, they have been impeccable guests at Proud Camden and Underbelly and they plan to come back to UK Rock Wonderland.
Please allow me to introduce these men careless of wealth and of certain taste. The band is: Lucian Beierling (vocals), Johnny Rotten’s charisma without that creepy Richard III aura, Federico Guarienti (guitar), a precise miniaturist whose brush is a Fender Telecaster, Stefano 'Stewie' Armati (bass), elegance between Joker and a tin soldier, and Brian Breno (drums), whose performance recalls Thor waving his hammer – without thunders. They all play and played in different bands, to satisfy all their music needs, and they constitute the final line-up of a project started one year ago.
The name definitely deserves a chapter on its own. It has to do with the concept of life as a journey, where we are all passengers in a naturally fatalistic Lebowskian way. But passengers are not puppets, as their music efficiently shows, and these passengers in particular want the trip to be first class. Leading on a stairway to Heaven or driving on a highway to Hell, this is the kind of music journey we want to be part of.
The flight departs after the performance of local bands Paradigm Shift, The Theme and The Underdogs. The airport is a rough stage in a dim lit room, among red walls and beer bottles. In front of black curtains stand microphone, Marshall amps and a shining white drumset facing the public from behind a circle of red flames… rock belongs to hell, ladies and gentlemen, saints are warned. The spectators are in a good mood, and promptly change from pub rock mood to earnest music mood after the first riffs.
In the 30 minutes they are given, 1st Class Passengers play no covers; the band personality emerges from the equilibrium among the four musicians, revealing shades of The Clash, Stone Temple Pilots, Queen Of The Stone Age and Rolling Stone. The hues of their music personality are so pleasantly bright and prismatic and they guarantee 1st Class Passengers a niche within the rock tradition. The songs flow in a crescendo of hard-labour sweat and passion, they play all the tracks on their EP "$oul", old glories like "Little Miss Rock 'n' Roll"and the new “I Can't Wait”, and after the last notes the public justly asks for more. And not in the shy way Oliver Twist did, it sounds more like James Hetfield in “Enter Sandman”.
Hunter S. Thompson defined the music business as "a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs”. Tonight 1st Class Passengers demonstrate some dogs prefer to live in trenches than sell to the enemy, in this case bad played, mass loved, soulless dollar-shaped music. They demonstrate that music skills are not a jazz thing, that soul is not only inside blues rhythms, that entertainment and cleverness can get along better than Liam and Noel Gallagher (Paul and John, Keith and Mick).
The end of the night is not the end of the flight, 1st Class Passengers airlines will be flying to London within months. Like a circus crew, they pack their props and leave in the night, serious clowns of rock ‘n’ roll. Talking music, you can’t usually say that, but tonight Italians do it better. And we want more.
Note: visit 1st Class Passengers facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/1stclasspassengers. The recent switch of band components didn’t leave much time to update music and pictures, considering they are doing everything on their own and they also play in other bands. But they promised to work on their online promotion, and they look like the guys who keep promises…