Those fortunate to have seen the force of nature POWERFLO at this year’s Download will know that they are the perfect mash-up of hip-hop, metal and pure LA attitude. Their somewhat eclectic line-up works like a hotrod built from all the most insane components found in a scrap yard. Tonight, in a bustling London side-street, the band return for a sole UK date to vent on a modest but intense crowd.
The LA act haven’t travelled alone tonight and have drawn the support of the (slightly) more local energetic Cardiff act ASTROID BOYS. This bundle of straight-talking musicians call out issues an causes that they care about but manage to do so with a wit that creeps in between songs. Benji Wild (vocals), DJ ONI (DJ of course), Lewis Newbrook (guitar) and Big Harry Williams (drums) take the stage tonight minus some key band mates in DJ Comfort and DJ Traxx but those present are more than capable of delivering the message.
The venue is relatively full for the set and the choppy guitars and sublime percussion blend well with the DJ and rapid fire vocal delivery in tracks such as ‘Razz’. The band have a confidence that has been years in the making but has been given an extra boost recently with support slots for Ice T’s band Body Count. Their political understanding is sharp with a tongue in cheek dedication to President Trump on the day he arrived in London. The song ‘Foreigners’ and its lyrical exclamation “We don’t like the foreigners” is as topical as any and the crowd rise to the lyrics and join in with more than a touch of attitude.
Astroid Boys have a huge stage appeal and speak for a demographic that has a voice now more than ever. If they continue to secure shows with acts such as Powerflo, they are destined to continue their upward trajectory.
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Powerflo have a different feel to their support act and the line-up of Sendog (Cypress Hill), Billy Graziadei (Biohazard), Roy Lozano (Downset) and Christian Oldewolbers (x-Fear Factory) is always going to provide a blend of styles but all with the same jaw dropping furious energy.
Intro tape ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is played to a near full hall with a broad range of ages in the room, many wearing Biohazard shirts much to Graziadei’s grimacing delight. The band have only recently come together and their recent album forms the basis for most of their set with the crushing ‘Resistance’ delivering the opening salvo.
Sendog is a formidable front man, prowling a small footprint centre-stage while his flanking guitarists jump, twist and parade in a dangerously choreographed battle for the remaining space. Sendog’s dedication of ‘Where I Stay’ is a proudly delivered snap shot of life in Los Angeles and that heritage forms much of the DNA in the material played.
The audience down the front wasted little time in upping the ante as some courageous crowd surfing begins. Many who clearly have their own heritage given their age, take to the stage only to be ushered back into the throng much like the early days of thrash in the capital. The band introductions are a special moment as each gets a quick rendition of a song relevant to them and Sendog frames the band in one succinct phrase - “heavy artillery”.
The addition of a Biohazard track to the set is received well and adds an extra ingredient that wasn’t needed but worked perfectly. This sees more punters take to the stage and warrants some light handed security work from a crew member to assist clear the small stage.
Those who were present at the earlier Download show will recall the experience of hearing the band ensure all-comers were left with no doubt as to the band they had heard. Tonight, the band repeat the inimitable words “We’re mother fucking Powerflo” and I have to say, I joined in.
Powerflo have a number of dates planned and you will be lucky to catch them in a smaller venue again so finger-out troops, go see ‘em while you can still see the blood, sweat and fear!
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