AT THE SUN / HELL'S ADDICTION / RAVENBREED – The Black Heart, London 12.04.19
PHOTO CREDITS: 131 IMAGES
The sun has not yet set on Camden as RAVENBREED take to the stage, not that you would know it from the dark, windowless upstairs room in the aptly named Black Heart. You also wouldn’t know that tonight’s gig is sold out from the handful of fans that have actually bothered to come and see the first band. But frankly, it’s the latecomers’ loss as the small crowd doesn’t stop RAVENBREED delivering an impassioned and powerful performance. Their sound is a nice blend of aggression and melody and their meaty guitars and fat bass rumble fill the room admirably. For those who have heard their ‘Hollowed’ EP, (Down The Front Media EP of the Year 2018), a little of the nuance is lost in the noise but it’s more than made up for by the visceral pleasures of their set. The only slight criticism would be that the bank of monitors at the front of the stage seemed to act as a barrier between the band and the audience and though the Black Heart’s small stage doesn’t allow for a huge amount of freedom, it would have been nice to see a little more movement from the band who seemed to be happy for singer Zoey Emelia Allen to bear the brunt of the audience's focus. Musically though they are difficult to fault and as the grungier strains of ‘Falling Away’ kicked in the room finally started to fill up with punters who hopefully realised they’d missed a pretty damn good band.
Zoey Emelia Allen – Vocals
Mikey Watkins – Guitar
Ross Formosa – Bass
Oli Watkins – Drums
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HELL’S ADDICTION takes to the stage next and instantly command the space. Whether it’s the bigger crowd or the band’s more confident approach, it feels like the energy levels have gone up a notch. They play 100% proof rock n roll and the combination of a classic sound and the band's cheeky smiles and easy-going banter give the evening the feel of being one big party. Songs like ‘We’re on The Road Again’ add a little groove to proceedings and they even throw in the odd slower number without dropping the energy.
The band are clearly enjoying themselves on stage and as they belt out big rock song after big rock song, brothers Ben and Liam Sargent stand up on the monitors, the crowd are drawn in and HELL’S ADDICTION make a convincing case that they are made for bigger stages than this. It is a confident, cocksure performance that is only marred by the vocals being a little low in the mix so a little of their power is lost. Even so, HELL’S ADDICTION are a sure-fire hit.
Hell’s Addiction are:
Ben Sargent - Vocals
Liam Sargent - Guitar
Dan Weir - Guitar
Jason Green - Bass
Luke Morley – Drums
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For all the previous two bands’ good work however, it is clear the crowd are here for hometown heroes AT THE SUN. The room is packed and there is a palpable buzz before their set. They enter the stage to a rapturous response and proceed to knock out a precision-crafted set of great rock songs.
They exude a relaxed, almost decadent, charisma which belies the fact that their set full of smoky, soulful, arena-sized rock is actually supremely tight. They look like they’re jamming which gives the feel that their tightness is almost telepathic. They get the crowd - which has a surprisingly large span of ages - bouncing from the front to the back as they rip through pretty much the entirety of their debut album. ‘Lay It on Me’ and ‘Devil in Your Eyes’ go down particularly well and as enjoyable as their record is it’s in this setting that their songs really come alive.
Each song seems to have a giant hook and is treated by the appreciative crowd like an old favourite. Frontman Harry Dale leads the crowd in an a capella sing along, the words from each chorus sung back at him and every song is greeted with whoops and hollers. “I can feel the love in the room” the singer proclaims and he’s not wrong, this is an adoring crowd who the band have in the palms of their hands.
It is a supremely well-crafted set too, they blast out of the blocks, slow it down with ‘Indestructible’ - dedicated to lost love ones - throw in a curveball with their own take on Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s ‘Human’ and build up the energy levels almost to the point of ecstasy by the end of the set. They leave the stage to a wall of appreciative cheers and a swiftly started chant of “one more song” from the crowd.
“Well this is awkward,” laughs Dale, returning to the stage, “we’ve only got one album!” They decide for their encore to reprise an earlier song, and after a fairly comprehensive fan vote, ‘Devil in Your Eyes’ wins it. In truth the band barely need to do a thing as the crowd do the work for them, singing every word with gusto. On this evidence AT THE SUN won’t be playing venues this size for long and they certainly have the sound and stage presence to make the step up, they might need to learn some new songs for the encores first though...
At The Sun are:
Harry Dale – Vocals
Alex Matthews – Bass
Chet Jogia – Lead Guitar
Craig Steen – Drums
Keiron Heavens – Rhythm Guitar
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