In the nine months I’ve been writing about new bands and going to see them play gigs, nothing gives me more pleasure than meeting bands who not only rock out fairly intimate venues and are truly talented at what they do, but are also genuinely the nicest people you could meet.
This was true of Tuesday night’s gig at the Black Heart in Camden, where we saw exciting rap-meets-hardcore punk act Last Hounds perform alongside three excellent punk, rock / metal bands in the form of No Braver, Icarus Dive and From Idols To Ashes.
First up on stage, somewhat surprisingly for me having been blown away by the tracks I’d listened to in advance of the show, was Bristol’s From Idols To Ashes. They opened up with big distorted noise and huge bass, before diving into a big bouncy riff and a huge scream then back into the awesome riff.
The opening act is always tough, especially as this was the band’s first ever London show, but they performed superbly, blasting out a series of awesome heavy punky rock meets metal tracks. For me it conjured up thoughts of what you’d get if you took Sum 41, Papa Roach and Rage Against The Machine and blended them all together. Suffice to say, the result was enjoyable.
A particular highlight of the band for me was the huge bass alongside flying guitar riffs that fed into big low-tuned chords. The band has the knack of combining these awesome riffs that you can’t help but bounce your head in appreciation to, with huge smashing rock-outs – which is perfectly encompassed in penultimate track True Colours from the band’s debut EP Scare Tactics, which was released yesterday.
The band closed out with the last track from the EP, Fight of Flight. Opening with a big riff and “wohhh” vocals it drops down into big heavy riffs through a shouty/rappy verse. The pace dropped into a floaty guitar interlude with funky riffs and bass and loads of cymbals, then went out with a bang of screamed vocals and heavy blitzing guitar and bass. From Idols To Ashes are definitely a band to keep an eye on, and we’ll be bringing you more from them again very soon.
Next up was Surrey rockers Icarus Dive, who opened up with a drum intro that was soon joined by big guitar chords that dropped down into palm muted chords that built gradually. Evertthing dropped out and an atmospheric guitar solo came in, which gradually built with drum rolls and bigger guitars then dived into a heavy guitar chord blast with calls of “What are you waiting for?” then a big rock out to finish.
The second track opened with a huge guitar intro then a verse of palm muted chords followed by bursts of guitar and the chorus was followed by a huge smash of delightfully heavy guitar.
Next up was Kraken, off their EP Live Session, which opens up with cool beat off the drum edges and light fast-moving guitar with low vocals then bursts into life with big guitars and bouncy bass. It’s disjointed and edgy but hugely enjoyable as it gradually builds towards huge guitar chords and wild drums, before launching into a big guitar solo.
The final two tracks really highlighted the band’s exceptional live capabilities – from huge hits of double bass drum that shook the floor through a smash-out in the penultimate track to the repeated calls of “fuck you” and frontman Joe Crook flipping the bird through the energetic final track. Again, the energy and raw rock talent of this band is well worth keeping an eye out for, and we’ll be talking to them again very soon.
This was followed by the more punk fuelled sound of Southend’s No Braver. They opened up with punky guitar chords and screamed vocals from frontman Taylor Rogers countered by clean vocals from guitarist Ellis Turffrey.
They had a cool, entertaining brand of pop punk infused with screamed vocals, and their third track was apparently about Hugh Jackman in some film he was in while their penultimate track was “about drinking and smoking, so everyone should hopefully relate.” It opened up with a clean guitar into then palm muted guitars building in support of repeats of “This is not the end” and ending in fast guitar chords
They closed out with May, a song apparently about Taylor’s girlfriend, opening up with a punky intro with heavy bass then ringing guiars through the pre-verse flowed into a more shouty chorus with big chords.
The evening’s final act was the Midlands’ finest Last Hounds. I hope by now you’ve listened to their awesome brand of rappy punk, and the energy of their tracks is more than matched by their awesome live show.
They opened up with opening track from their Old Dreams EP, Listen (To Me) with low swooping guitars under rapped vocals then high guitars over the top of low chords before diving into the huge Lay Me Down.
That was followed by the equally energetic Burnt up, full from last year’s eponymous debut EP, which saw frontman Mikey Skelcher throw his microphone to the floor as he rocked out at the front of the stage.
A highlight was the awesome Murder, Murder, which opened up with a heavy intro then rapped vocals with big bass support. The lead singer threw his mic to the floor, then stood with the drummer and played the snare drum before smashing the stage with the drumsticks and then joining the audience in the crowd. That was followed by a track called Running With The Dead, with huge bouncing riffs that got the crowd moving and saw both guitarists jump to the front of the audience.
As the band was preparing to perform Incinerate a random American woman came up to the stage to inform us she had randomly attended the gig after popping into the pub for a pint, and explained how awesome the gig had been. Bravo to her! The track kicked off with a huge intro, the lead singer and guitarist in the audience with the former holding the latter’s microphone for him after he smashed the stand to the floor, then the guitarist ended the song prostrate on the floor.
Last Hounds went out in style with the excellent DOA, which had the crowd singing and boucing along as the band went into energy overdrive – with both guitarists were in the crowd as the singer paraded around smashing cymbals.
This was a superb ending to a fantastic gig from four great up-and-coming bands. Last Hounds in particular could be massive, and I think DOA should be the track that helps them get there – so do what you can to support them and all the other bands on show.
Last Hounds’ new EP Old Dreams is out now, and you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow Icarus Dive on Facebook and Twitter, No Braver on Facebook and Twitter, while From Idols To Ashes’ EP Scare Tactics is out now and you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.