This is the tenth anniversary of Axis’ first visit to the Fringe. I remember them then. They were great. Don’t worry, they are still great. Except now they have hundreds of thousands of millions of YouTube hits, a load of albums, an international fanbase, a wide array of merchandising (including temporary tattoos of the band) and a lot more “banter” in their hour.
But, as they point out in the opening song, some big changes have occurred. Benny is still small, but Lee, their guitarist, is now bald.
Axis of Awesome: Won’t Ever Stop Giving Up ***
Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)
Not totally bald, but deffo slaphead country. And Jordan is a girl. The one who used to be the beardy one that looked like Jack Black? Well, now she looks like his sister. She still sings like the old Jordan, so musically the band rocks on into its second decade with all the great vocals and harmonies it always had. In fact, they revive an old favourite – Birdplane – now that is has more layers of meaning as Jordan sings “part of me is a bird…” etc and the harmonies (thank you Benny) are as gorgeous as ever.
Neither have they lost their edge when it comes to parody. Imagine Dragons fans might want to look away as the “inspirational anthem by a teen band” genre is pinned to a wall of sound by pointed lyrics. Jackie Change appears (I think it might have been Lee in a hat) to do a tribute to Johnny Cash, Benny has developed an obsession with Will Smith and claims to be writing rap with him and Jordan has a bucket list like no other.
In a nod to something that is happening somewhere else (which is unusual in a Fringe show) the Axis leave us with an Olympic finale. Get your tickets now.