My Passion, The Crypt, London

They've toured and toured, and they're on bedroom walls everywhere, but this year one five-piece will really take off

Even if you haven't heard of My Passion, there's a more-than-fighting chance that your daughter has.

Five almost sickeningly pretty boys from the sleepy dormitory town of Hitchin in Hertfordshire, My Passion are quite conceivably the most rabidly loved underground band in Britain. And the most impressive thing about them is the manner in which they've achieved it.

With no major backing and no funding from a rich daddy, the ultra-energetic electro-metallers, led by badger-quiffed pin-up Laurence René, have done things the hard way: touring, and touring, and more touring.

Meanwhile, the band have sustained themselves by selling merchandise (invariably dayglo variations on their heart-in-a-circle logo), while holding down day jobs at Tesco and Aldi, until the supermarkets had to put them on night shifts because kids kept coming in and screaming at them while they were trying to stack shelves. (Laurence's buff biceps aren't merely the product of an expensive gym. These guys have served time on building sites, too).

This old-fashioned approach (combined, admittedly, with high-level internet savvy, and assisted by a sponsorship deal with Red Bull) has paid off. My Passion have earned a young, ever growing and overwhelmingly female following who travel the length of the country to see them, sleeping four-to-a-room in Travelodges, a dedication the band always repay by giving them face-time after every gig, and generally looking after them (not in the grubby sense that most bands would "look after" such an audience, either: the majority of the band have long-term girlfriends).

The music industry may have been slow to spot the rise of a band that could easily be My Chemical Romance-sized if they didn't hail from the (in rock/metal terms) unfashionable UK, but My Passion's platoon of kohl minors eventually reached such a critical mass that Kerrang! couldn't ignore it, and whacked MP on the cover – still rare for an unsigned act – as well as nominating them for Best Newcomer at the magazine's annual awards. Nor did the publication fail to notice that the photogenic fivesome were ideal poster-fodder, which is why they're currently Blu-Tacked to the bedroom walls of teenage gothettes and emo kids across the nation.

My Passion's organically grown, hype-free pulling power is now such that they're able to lure their barmy army out to play – many of them in punked-up variations on that seasonal classic, the little red Santa dress – during the dead interregnum between Christmas and New Year, to a dark, dank, subterranean arch underneath the main London Bridge railway line with the impossibly perfect address of Crucifix Lane.

Introduced by a mysterious duo of top-hatted henchmen in beak-shaped masks and an old-time music hall barker, the quintet surge on stage looking like five mummified Kings of Orient in white balaclavas, fur-collared snow fatigues and crowns. An angular explosion of elbows and knees, riffs and screams is immediately mirrored by outbreaks of circular moshing, slam-dancing and shrieking down below. David Ryder-Prangley of Rachel Stamp, mutual friend and sometime My Passion producer, turns to me and says – approvingly and accurately – "They're exactly halfway between Slipknot and Bros."

On the cusp of 2011, My Passion are almost unrecognisable from the band I saw rise from the ashes of their earlier incarnation, Shard, to make their debut at my club night Stay Beautiful five years ago. In those days, their most obvious appeal was to the glam and glitter crowd, the Suede/Placebo demographic, and they were a far more fey, effeminate proposition, with frilly shirts the norm and bunches of gladioli wrapped around the microphone. Since then they've beefed up musically as well as physically, and it's more Manson-meets-Prodigy.

What remains is the star quality of Laurence René, the boy with the dragon tattoo, known for yelping such greetings as "Welcome to the corporate flesh party!" or "This is the fabulous blood disco!" among bouts of heavy breathing of the kind that could get you barred by BT (or at least fast-tracked for an asthma inhaler). There's none of that tonight, but he does brandish a Gandalf shillelagh and Yorick skull with a theatrical panache that the Bard, whose re-created Globe is but a couple of hundred yards north-by-northwest, would appreciate.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about My Passion live is their attention to detail. Every last moment is milked for maximum excitement: a calculated, vorsprung-durch-technik combination of chaos and choreography. At least, it is now. Before they nailed the split-second accuracy of their stage moves, broken teeth and noses were an occupational hazard from Simon Rowland's flying bass head or Laurence's mic stand.

Apart from a spooked-out, Hammer Horror rendition of "Plastic Flesh Garden", a song introduced with self-deprecating irony as "our hit", many – even most – My Passion tracks may appear indistinguishable to the uninitiated: almost prog-like structures, almost funk-like rhythmic undercurrents, obliterating metallic guitars, and a lot of screaming. It's a template which, on the single "Day of the Bees", culminates in a stage invasion from the frenzied faithful.

If you don't "get" it, it might be because you're too old. I know that's a cheap shot, and I can't prove it, but I'm just putting it out there. And if My Passion still isn't on your radar by the end of 2011, one thing is certain: it won't be for want of trying.

Next Week:

Simon Price faces up to singer/rapper/actor/whatever Drake, once he's finished playing bowls

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary charm: Clive Owen and Keira Knightley in 2004’s ‘King Arthur’
FilmGuy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle the legend
Arts and Entertainment
Corporate affair: The sitcom has become a satire of corporate culture in general

TV review

Broadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: There are some impressive performances by Claire Skinner and Lorraine Ashbourne in Inside No. 9, Nana's Party spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Glastonbury's pyramid stage

Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair

Arts and Entertainment
Ewan McGregor looks set to play Lumiere in the Beauty and the Beast live action remake

Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie feels the lack of food on The Island with Bear Grylls

TV

The Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Arts and Entertainment
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, in a scene from Avengers: Age Of Ultron
filmReview: A great cast with truly spectacular special effects - but is Ultron a worthy adversaries for our superheroes? spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Ince performing in 2006
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Beth (played by Jo Joyner) in BBC1's Ordinary Lies
tvReview: There’s bound to be a second series, but it needs to be braver spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, the presenters of The Great Comic Relief Bake Off 2015

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Harold Ramis' original Groundhog Day film, released in 1993

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7

film

Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary

TV

Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige

TV

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence