When most people have a birthday it’s usually celebrated with friends and family, when the lead singer of The Smokin’ Prophets has a birthday, they organise a headline show. There may not have been cake but there was plenty of brilliant of rock and roll.
“Rock and rollers from hell” introduces The Smokin’ Prophets on their back drop and whilst this may seem like a bold statement, they certainly live up to this tag. Playing like the devil from the opening notes of ‘Lost Hope’ with its killer riffs and thunderous rhythm, the four piece showed the crowd this is how to open a set. Looking like rock stars in the making, singer and guitarist Marty snarled through the song with plenty of angst before moving onto ‘The Innocent’ at breakneck speed. With an addictive beat, dual guitar riffs and a powerful vocal that screamed out rock to the crowd, this was a set full of energy and had the adrenaline pumping just watching them. ‘Mr Rock And Roll’ increased the tempo and temperature of the set, if that was at all possible at this point and with a new album in the pipeline it was a chance to showcase a number of the new songs. ‘You Better Run’ and ‘Pretty Sexy Things’ left you needing no persuasion that the album is going to be a must have with its super-charged power anthems.
With guitarist Matt and bassist Jayke impressing with their energetic performances on ‘Do You Believe’ and ‘Trade The World’, drummer Ali also made sure this was a show to delight the crowd with his heavy-hitting, stick twirling beats and the entire band put on a polished performance from start to finish. From the face-melting riffs during ‘Circus Pop’, there was no holding back when they played the aptly named ‘Don’t Hold Back’ as the guitars crashed through the song with an epic sound and with enough raw power to make you feel as well as hear as the heavy rhythms pulverised the room. Ending the set with ‘Sorded And Immoral’, it was a final flourish of high-octane, riff-fuelled rock that had been present throughout the entire set, which had been powerful and dominant with every song they played.
The Smokin’ Prophets didn’t just smoulder, they were on fire with their explosive set of rock and had definitely gained a few more disciples to the god of rock and roll by the time it was over. Based on their electrifying live performance at Talking Heads, this is the band to look out for in the future and the next time they play Download, it is going to be on a much bigger stage.