Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. When looking back through those old rose tinted specs, even the most appallingly trite song is granted a certain level of fondness and comfort years later. And so it goes that last Saturday, the rather awfully named Merk Chicken was celebrating its first birthday at the underrated Old Street basement venue C.A.M.P (City Arts Music Project in case you were growing suspicious) with Oxide & Neutrino as its headliners (you know, the ones who sampled Casualty and quoted Lock Stock in that tune that time). In the past few times I’d been there, no matter what the line up had been (xxxy, Actress, Jimmy Edgar, Braiden), the club had always been shamefully empty. Tonight was different. Packed to the rafters with garage-loving hipsters, the tone was set for what promised to be, if anything, a sweaty evening.
The duo took to the stage at around 1, Neutrino’s bulging biceps in tow, and rattled through the predictable classics. T2’s ‘Heartbroken’, DJ Luck & MC Neat’s ‘With A Little Bit of Luck’, and ‘Neighbourhood’ by Zed Bias all got the adrenalin pumping, but it was the infamous ’21 Seconds’ which prompted many a person to jump onstage, grind with Neutrino and recite every line word for word.
While the night ticked all of the boxes you’d expect from a trigger-fingered old school garage-themed night described on the event page as a ‘HYPE TING’, it proved difficult to shake the feeling that in this day and age, Oxide and Neutrino struggle to make a living aside from throwing all credibility out the window by catering to everyone’s nostalgic memories of early-teenhood and play the same songs from ten years ago on repeat. Not that I’m complaining.By Lev Harris