The Black Heart in Camden was quaking to heavy sounds, as all 3 bands from out of town showed London how to rock.
3 piece instrumental band Sleeping Creatures opened the set with the dual guitars sounding immense in the venue. There was plenty of fuzz and impressive effects from the guitars, as well as drums that complimented the heaviness of the sound, with beats ranging from a more delicate touch to a heavy beat. This is a band that thrives on improvisation throughout, and songs such as ‘Addendum’ and ‘Cordova’ produced a maelstrom of sound, as the crowd moved along to the rich intrumentals the band were more than capable of performing. As the high notes pierced the venue on the third song, you were impressed by the talent they had for making their guitars produce an array of notes that intertwined beautifully with each other and the songs had an opus quality about them. Ending their set with ‘Well Thumbed’ that started off with a delicate guitar solo before the rest of the band joined in to pick up the pace, the heaviness of the track grew in strength throughout and ended with massive sounding guitars and drums. Sleeping Creatures were playing their first show in London tonight and judging by the enthusiastic response from the crowd to their excellent set, it will be the first of many.
Yorkshire’s finest Goat Leaf were here to rock The Black Heart and they did just that with an impressive set packed full of heavy sounding guitars, a filthy bass line and drums that pounded the venue. Add in the sometimes bluesy sounding vocals and this was a band that got the crowd moving from the very start. Songs such as ‘The First Stone’ and ‘What Dead Men Say’ had a delicious heaviness about them as the riffs echoed around the room. Not being able to understand the name of one song, someone from the crowd shouted out “You’re too Northern” to which singer Jonny Town replied with good humour “you can never be too Northern” and brought a cheer from the crowd that were enjoying the set. With slightly stoner influences at times, and a bluesy undercurrent to them, songs such as ‘Love Under Will’, ‘Truth Be Told’ and ‘Sally’s Nude Ranch’ had the crowd dancing along to the heavy beats and immpressive sounding guitars, as the vocals soared through every track. The crowd certainly showed their appreciation of such an excellent set by handing singer Jonny drinks throughout, and as the band finished on their final song ‘Ain’t Got Time To Bleed’, Goat Leaf had gone down a storm with their set.
Grifter started off the set by asking if everyone was alright, noting that there could have been a slightly louder response by saying “we’ve got a tough crowd in tonight” but the band soon got the crowd warmed up with a set full of their heavy, riff-drenched songs by launching straight into ‘High Unholy Mighty Rollin’. This was heavy and loud as the you felt the floor vibrate beneath you and the crowd erupted in delight as heads nodded their way through the song. ‘She Mountain’ and ‘Young Blood, Old Veins’, with their dirty sounding guitars and a thunderous rhythm pounded the room, and singer Ollie was on excellent form with powerful vocals that filled the entire venue. With drummer Foz getting a tad over enthusiastic by adding a few extra drum beats, Ollie noted that “for once he didn’t shoot too soon” and continued with his witty banter about being on the road. Contractually obliged to play songs from their latest album, ‘Bow Down To The Monkey’ with its cowbell intro sounded massive as the beats thumped their way through the track. Bringing a touch of the blues to the night with ‘Paranoiac Blues’ and its more delicate sliding guitar intro, the powerful song exploded into monster guitars. Apparently one of their fans Mick wasn’t so keen on the next song being played, so Ollie being well….Ollie went ahead and played it anyway, getting the crowd to give Mick some abuse in the process, as everyone went wild during their Black Sabbath cover ‘Fairies Wear Boots’ which Grifter do better than the original. With a set full of banter throughout the night that was just as entertaining as their songs, ‘Braggard’s Boast’, older song ‘Pendulum’ that they ”thought they played alright” and ‘Man Bites Dog’ that Mick likes apparently, reverberated around the room with the heaviness of the guitars and rhythm that sounded truly immense. Playing next the AC/DC influenced intro on ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ and the filthy sounding ‘Bucktooth Woman’, the band completely rocked the venue with their brilliance. With a favourite ‘Alabama Hotpocket’ that had the crowd shouting out “Hotpocket” throughout the chorus, this had the whole room moving along to it, arms waving, hair flying and the crowd generally going wild. Grifter finished off their set with the fast paced ‘Sweat Like Horses’ as the band steamed through the song, before a final word from Ollie by announcing “and now we are done”, bringing an excellent set to a close.
With a set full of loud, heavy and awesome sounding tracks, the return of Grifter to London had been hugely successful. It was outstanding performance from the band and with the crowd leaving the venue, ears still ringing from the immense sound, this was most definitely how a rock gig should be done.