BLOODYWOOD / ARMADA OF SECRETS - Crauford Arms, Wolverton 29.07.19
The Crauford Arms in Wolverton is an absolute gem of a live music venue. With a decent selection of beer available compared to most music venues that are sponsored by the regular watered-down piss larger brands out there and a decent sized backroom with an impressive sound system and stage for bands to play. It’s great to see so many high-caliber bands passing through regularly on their UK tours. Unfortunately, while the location is fairly ideal for some like ourselves, it has to be tough competing with London being so close and so many bands requesting a more desirable weekend slot in the Nations capital. Having said all of that, it’s a Monday night and India’s finest BLOODYWOOD are in town so, despite selling out Islington Academy on Saturday night, it’s naturally absolutely packed.
The only support band on the tour is London based trio ARMADA OF SECRETS. 3-piece bands don’t have much to hide behind but when your only instruments are a drum and bass (as well as occasionally a football shaped synth...) you have very, very little to hide behind and creativity is key. Luckily, ARMADA OF SECRETS have that in absolute abundance. Every song has a different groove, a different feel, a different energy. The fact that everything is played with maximum effort helps sell it but at the end of the day this product sells itself. This is art in purest most wildly beautiful form. They don’t miss a beat or riff which is impressive when there’s no wall of noise to hide behind. There’s very little reverb or delay or build up of sound, it’s all raw. This all requires a high level of execution to pull off so it’s great to see the whole band smiling, laughing and joking throughout their set. Possibly not the most musically suitable band to play main support to a metal band but one I’m so glad did, as I never would have usually listened to them and will definitely be keeping an eye out for their next tour dates!
Having a chat outside during changeovers, no-one can really recall where BLOODYWOOD came from and it remains seemingly out of nowhere - but one things for sure, YouTube and other social media platforms have played a huge part in the Western world being unable to ignore who BLOODYWOOD are. As the lights go down, the main room is packed and the chants of “BLOODY-WOOD!” start way before the band can even get on-stage.
It’s a bit of a bumpy start for the 6-piece with the microphone not completely working and the front lights being off so that the audience can only see the silhouettes of the band. The first few songs also have a long introduction from rapper Raoul Kerr which kill the momentum a bit as it’s clear everyone here just wants to lose their mind in the music as quickly as possible and those particular songs may have fared better off later in the set.
But once the Bangra-infused metal wagon gets rolling there is absolutely zero chance of stopping it. The energy emanating from singer Jayant Bhadula is awe-inspiring! Not only is it great to hear that he is an incredible singer but he can do it whilst giving 110% into his performance getting the whole crowd worked up into a frenzy. It’s incredibly humid in the venue this evening to the point where swimming attire was arguably preferably to the black t-shirt and jeans most are donning tonight but that doesn’t stop the majority of this Wolverton crowd jumping and moshing in absolutely any direction that will take them. Hit’s like ‘Ari Ari’ and ‘Machi Basad’ as well as fan favourite ‘Punjabi Metal’ go down an absolute storm with their percussionist even getting in among the mosh pit for a couple of songs.
Despite a few minor hiccups, the atmosphere here tonight has been absolutely amazing - you would definitely have thought it was still the weekend. If this is the sort of show BLOODYWOOD can put on after a few YouTube hits on a debut tour, I can’t wait to see what happens when they get some real traction. Bloodstock - one of next years main stage acts, right here.