As Independent Venue Week kicks off, small local music venues up and down the UK are hosting an entire week of live music, to support the growing culture of upcoming DIY bands and local musicians, as well as to protect the concept of independent grassroots venues. The aim of IVW is to give local bands a platform to perform and gain more of a following, and just get their name out there in general. Supporting these small venues and bands is something hugely important to me, as all bands have to start somewhere, like Oasis who played their first gig at the Boardwalk Club in Manchester in 1991, or Arctic Monkeys who made their live debut at The Grapes in Sheffield, back in 2003 (making just £27 from ticket sales!). The Horn is one of the UK’s best independent venues, with Juicebox live (the venue’s main promoter) winning Best Independent Promoter in the UK at the Live UK Music Awards in 2016. The venue has given a spotlight to some unbelievable bands over the past few months, favourites of mine including Fiende Fatale, MONO 01, J.W Paris, October Drift, The Visitors and 485C. And last night, the venue kicked off its run of IVW shows with a killer evening of post-punk hardcore rock, featuring The Kenneths, No Idea, and Tilt Back.
The gig opened with Tilt Back, an intense rock three piece made up of Wes (guitarist), Jack (lead singer and bassist) and Haydon (drummer). This was my first time seeing a pop-punk style rock band, but I loved the immensity they had on stage and the raucous aggression of their music. The band reminded me a lot of those old-school classic punk-rock/ pop-punk bands like Blink 182 due to the heavy sound they have. It was very fun to watch them too, as they clearly love performing on stage and had a ton of energy and excitement which was infectious. The band have been together for well over a year now, having formed around September 2015 and you could tell from the solid rigidity their music had that they love what they do and play and practice music as much as they can. The short sharp bursts of guitar paired with Jack’s heavy bass and very accented English vocal is backed up by Haydon who is an unreal drummer, very skilled and talented with heavy drum rolls and aggressive thrashing in the band’s blaring choruses. The passion and love for punk rock came through so well throughout their set, with a really funny humorous feel to the set too. “We used to be funny- well we never used to be funny, we used to be nearly funny” Jack tells the crowd, “actually we used to be funny then we started exercising.” But the band genuinely are funny, they really entertained the crowd with the chilled feel good aura they had on stage; it was really fun and lighthearted which helped get the crowd properly into the music, as did the mad riffs they played and that deep heavy bite to their tracks. In terms of releases, Tilt Back released EP No Golf last May, featuring tracks such as The Radio, Goat Stoned, and Somewhere Different. The EP showcases the raw punk rock bite the band have, and this power and energy was channelled on stage with ease. For more on Tilt Back you can follow them on Facebook.
The second band to play were No Idea, an upbeat punk rock band made up of Martin (guitar and vocals), Sam (bass and vocals), and Stephen (drums). From the off the band were immensely energetic and powerful, and like Tilt Back they were having the best time on stage. What was great about them was how infectious their energy was, with really bold upbeat tracks and loud raucous guitar. The two guitars together (one lead and one bass) produced a very deep heavy sound, very reminiscent to me of punk bands from the 80s and 90s (more so the classic American punk rock sound rather than the edgy grit of British 70s punk), again similar to artists like Goldfinger or Blink 182. For one of their tracks, No Idea invited the audience to join them on stage, with two eager fans jumping up and singing the track alongside the band; this inclusion of the audience and exciting fan participation made their set very personal and fun to be a part of. Their overall set was just a brilliant burst of punk rock power and intensity, tied in with their humour and a more chilled entertaining side to them. Despite not normally listening to this sort of music, No Idea are definitely a band I’d recommend catching live if you have the chance. For updates, you can follow them on Facebook.
And then for the headline band, The Kenneths. This band are really exciting live, and are an unbelievable force on stage. Their music defines the word heavy, with a very intense savage alt-rock punk feel to their tracks. It’s abrasive and harsh, with a killer pounding rock sound. The punk sound they have is raw and infectious, reminding me of bands like Alexisonfire, Marmozets, and The Ramones. Made up of Lewis (bass), Joshua (lead vocals and guitar) and Aicha (drums), it’s hard to describe just how exciting a presence the band possess on stage. It was so exciting to see a bad-ass woman playing drums with the skill and unbelievable talent that Aicha has too, and she really was amazing. To drum with the power and aggression that she did whilst providing strong backup vocals was unreal, especially as she has just recently recovered from a foot injury. The punk rock power The Kenneths have is blinding, both on stage and on record, and experiencing this live was quite something. They reminded me a bit of bands like Dead!, Black Foxxes and Strange Bones too, regarding the punk rock intensity and vivid stage presence they had. For me the best track they did was I Can’t Focus, a ridiculously fast track which picks up in speed as it progresses; for Aicha to control her drumming as well as she did, paired with the deep heaviness of Lewis’ bass and Joshua’s fast spoken (essentially rap-style) vocals was unbelievable. They also performed favourites of mine Hollywood and What Happened To The Radio. Overall their set was fiercely blinding and explosive, capturing an incredible energy and creating a sweaty messy aura which tore through the venue. What a way to kick off IVW! The band will be playing all this week, including a date tonight (25/1) at New Cross Inn in London (18+). You can purchase last minute tickets here, or get them on the door for £3.
Gig rating: ★★★★☆
The Horn is hosting an amazing lineup over the rest of the week too, with Asylums headlining tonight (Wednesday 25th), and sets from Alexis King & Affairs (Thursday 26th), Dodgy & The Wholls (Friday 27th), and Strange Bones, BlackWaters, Fiende Fatale & Concrete Caverns (Saturday 28th). Tickets are available for purchase here.
Other upcoming gigs not to miss at The Horn include Neon Waltz (23/2), Fiende Fatale (25/2), and Fatherson (16/3)
©All photos to Sahera Walker