Gig Review: Halflives, Finding Kate & Elswhere at The Black Heart

An evening of impressive female vocalists was topped off by the emergence of an exciting new rock band as Elswhere and Finding Kate provided support for Italian rockers Halflives at The Black Heart in Camden on Tuesday (9 January).

The evening began in great fashion as Enfield, north London, quartet Elswhere took to the stage to a strange backing track that built into repeating guitars then a big, full-on rockout.

They paused for breath and played opening track Change, which began with big chunky guitar chords and a high-pitched guitar riff that flowed over opening vocals from Ethan Smith supported by light drums. Really cool high-pitched vocals followed, then a bit of a scream gave way to another big rockout – it was an impressive way to introduce themselves.

DSC01126Next was This One’s For You, which opened up with bass over quiet guitars, which moved into palm-muted guitar that became gradually heavier through the opening verse. Ethan’s voice was increasingly impressive as the song grew into somewhat of an epic anthem.

It was followed by Focus, which kicked off with a backing track then cymbal crashes were the cue for a big rockout. A cool building riff and drums led into a singalong chorus that dropped into a laid-back verse and the cycle repeated. Ethan then nailed a big high note then launched into another chorus of dominant vocals that ended on a huge scream and gave way to a funky solo.

Next was something I don’t anyone in the building crowd expected, and which Ethan, as he put his guitar to one side, recognised was “a bit different for us.” They launched into a rocky cover of rockstar by Post Malone, with Ethan doing rappy vocals that led into a singalong chorus, then dropped down into shouty vocals that led into a big scream and flowed into a cool guitar solo. It was a different kind of cover song, but really enjoyable and it worked really well.

They then played a “new-ish” song called Perspective, which began wth a cool opening riff with chilled vocals then a big rocky chorus before shouty-rap vocals over the returning riff. A fun metal-like smash-up followed, showcasing the heavier side to the band, which ended with repeated guitar notes that flowed into a final chorus.

The pace dropped completely for the part of the set list where the band mellows things down a little. Ethan introduced Be Frank, a song about a friend he used to have, by telling the audience: “Mental health exists, it’s a taboo and it needs to be talked about. Lots of people kill themselves and go through hell, so if you know anyone going through it then talk to them.” Light flickering guitar supported chilled vocals through a beautiful track featuring great high vocals, in a really touching moment.

They followed that up with what Ethan described as his “favourite part of the set as I get to put down the guitar.” They played another fairly new track Paper Thin, which began slowly then suddenly kicked into life with heavier vocals and guitars that built to a big chorus, with Ethan hitting some ridiculously good high notes.

An impressive set was closed out with Ignite, which began with chunky palm-muted chords over a punky verse followed by a fun riff. They got the crowd involved with repeats of “I need your love” to bring it to a close.

This was a great opening set by a really diverse, engaging band, who bear a real resemblance to one of our favourites at GR Towers, Chapter and Verse.

That set the bar high for London-based Greco-Australian Finding Kate, who opened up  with vocalist Kate Pavli’s voice cutting through big atmospheric noise. Bursts of guitar crept in then a big drum beat picked up the tempo alongside a lingering guitar riff, then a literally booming keyboard gave us all tinnitus in support of some big guitar chords and vocals.

A high point in the set was White Lies, which began with big clean guitars and vocals soon joined by the bass drum kicking in. It soon got rockier and ended on a big smash of Kate’s vocals.

That was followed by the feistier, more rocky Get Over You, which began with laid-back vocals that exploded into really powerful choruses.

More huge vocals followed, then they ended with the excellent I’ll Save You. it started slowly with repeating guitar and bass lines and the vocals occasionally picking up in intensity, winding towards a big powerful chorus.

Kate’s voice is impressive, and set the scene very nicely for the evening’s main event. We introduced you to Modena quartet Halflives back in March last year, but this was our first chance to see them live – and we weren’t disappointed.

They opened up with a building electronic noise of the opening track from last year’s Empty Rooms EP, Lone Wolf. It was a great way to open up as the audience was swiftly hooked in by the big catchy “Woh-oh” vocals.

DSC01128They flew straight into second track, the ridiculously catchy Half Alive that again kept up the audience involvement with more “woh-oh-oh” vocals.

The pace then dropped down a little for Echo, which opened with electronic backing to vocalist Linda Battilani’s laid-back vocals. It gradually increased in intensity to the singalong chorus “Now I only hear the echo of your name” with Linda’s voice sounding pretty epic.

That was followed by a track Linda told us was “about going through a tough period.” The Sickness began slow with chilled vocals but gradually built into a big rocky singalong chorus. Pounding drums came in under backing vocals as the song built toward cry of “This is the sickness in us all” followed by a guitar solo and a final blast of the chorus.

A drum and bassy interlude led into Empty Room, which saw Linda’s voice really come to the fore. She sounded awesome as the song built into a big rocky smash through the ridiculously catchy chorus lyrics “I just want to scream, Spit out my disease, Will this silence disappear?”

They then dropped the pace a little for their excellent cover version of My Chemical Romance’s Welcome To The Black Parade. I really enjoy their take on this track, and it ended on a series of impressive high notes by Linda.

That was followed by Linda’s favourite song from the EP, its final track Collide. It opened slowly then Linda’s vocals crept in over a low bassline, then a huge chorus underpinned by some massive metal drum beats. A faster second verse followed, then Linda covered the microphone with her hand to get a distant effect that sounded pretty cool, before a final chorus.

They kept up the audience engagement levels with the excellent Mayday, which sounded pretty damn good with the catchy, rocky chorus vocals “Take me, come and take me away, 
Save me, can’t you hear my mayday?”

They closed out in style with their biggest single to date, Burn, which had the crowd jumping along in appreciation – and not just the two blokes at the front who knew every, and I mean EVERY, word. Linda’s voice was at its finest through the big high bursts of “‘Cause I’m burning down the house, I burn my affliction, I burn my addiction, ‘Cause I’m burning down the house, I’m burning these walls right to the ground.”

Halflives were really impressive live, with Linda’s superb vocals supported by some big guitar and bass, and some really heavy drums to put together a really enjoyable set.

You can follow Halflives on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram, and check out their debut EP Empty Rooms on Spotify. You can follow Finding Kate on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify and YouTube. And you can follow Elswhere on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but we can’t find their music online so sort it out lads!

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