The Black Heart in Camden is fast becoming the go to venue in London for up and coming rock bands. Tonight it plays host to two of Australia’s finest, and on this glorious sunny day in the capital, it appears they’ve brought the weather with them too. It’s almost a shame to be stuck inside...
As The Lockhearts prepare to take the stage it seems like that’s what the punters have decided too, you could count the amount of people in the room on the fingers of Terry Nutkin’s hands (go look him up, kids). But at the exact moment they launch into the opening chords of ‘Leatherface’ the punters stream in and the venue, while not quite heaving, suddenly constitutes a decent crowd. And they’re treated to a damn good set. The Lockhearts rollick non-stop through their first few numbers, their sound more bombastic than the laid back “Americana Doom Fuzz” they display on record, ‘Ride Home’ especially is a steroid-pumped gem compared to the chilled out album version.
A few songs in they pause for breath, beckon the slightly stand-offish crowd forward and slow the pace a touch with ‘Little Eden’ before ramping it up again with ‘Xanax’ which sounds like a lost BritRock classic, although they describe it as an attempted Beatles rip-off.
Louche, loose limbed frontman Tim Meaco engages in some onstage banter that treads the fine line between sardonic and arrogant but with enough self-deprecation added so as not to grate. His - and indeed the whole band’s - exuberance as they throw themselves into each song gives the lie to his too cool for school persona. The tiny stage at The Black Heart doesn’t give them a huge amount of room to manoeuvre, guitarist Samuel Sheumack’s dreadlocks whip against the cymbals as he whips his head back and forth through a Led Zep style jam, but it all adds to an energetic set and as they leave the stage there is a palpable buzz in the room.
You can follow The Lockhearts here:
I Killed Robert Johnson
If the stage struggled to contain The Lockhearts it becomes apparent within seconds that it’s got no chance with The Lazys. The name being no indicator of the band’s high octane performance level.
They sound absolutely huge too, as if they turned everything up to maximum during the sound check and then bumped it up a couple of notches for the show. The room is absolutely engulfed with noise and by the looks on the crowd’s faces it’s exactly what they want.
They have the Aussie knack for straight ahead life-affirming rock n roll, passed down the generations from AC/DC, to Airbourne and now to The Lazys. The ethos may be the same but in this case the music isn’t derivative. Not that the crowd would care either way, lapping it up as they serve up big chorused belters like ‘Police Thieves’ and current single ‘Nothing But Trouble’. The songs are too anthemic, the delivery too enthusiastic and atmosphere too party-like to give consideration to such things.
It is a varied crowd too, from old school rockers to Camden hipsters, but as the surge to the front of the stage it’s clear The Lazys have won them all over in no time at all. Wild-eyed singer Leon Harrison has them eating out of his hand as he gets everyone to engage in a good old fashioned oi-along, and grinning, gurning guitarist Matty Morris keeps the place bouncing as the two trade places on the monitors at the front of the stage.
Harrison dedicates the rousing ‘Louder then Youth’ to his Dad - who is in the crowd - but in truth he has made the whole place feel, if not like family, then certainly very close friends at least and it gives the whole set an added sheen that is a credit to his charismatic performance.
As the set continues it becomes less about the individual songs and more the experience as a whole, the stage finally bursts its boundaries as Matty Morris climbs onto the shoulders of Lockhearts bassist Jameel Majam’s shoulders and rides him to the bar where he performs a wild solo. Beers are passed from crowd to band and back again, and by the end of the show something – be it sweat, beer or the shots the band have done onstage - is literally dripping from the ceiling.
The band return for a deserved encore and for a finale all ten members of the two bands are somehow crammed on the stage for a crowd-pleasing blast through ‘Highway to Hell.’ And not one person in the room leaves without a big, daft grin on their face.
This was The Lazys only UK date on their tour but when they return, and they surely will, you owe it to yourself to go see them, because they are something special indeed and it's unlikely they’ll be playing rooms this intimate for long. Don’t miss out again.
Follow The Lazys here:
Little Miss Crazy
Nothing But Trouble
Louder Than Youth
Can’t Kill The Truth
All Fired Up
Shake It Like You Mean It
Punk Come n Get Me
Highway To Hell