Saturday evening (28/1) saw Independent Venue Week come to an end, with The Horn hosting one of the most brilliant lineups I’ve seen at the venue. The lineup featured Strange Bones and BlackWaters who are currently on their co-headline tour of the UK, with support from Concrete Caverns and post punk four piece Fiende Fatale. The night was a mad evening of messy, intense rock’n’roll, with the four bands showcasing the best of indie rock, punk and grunge.
Concrete Caverns opened the gig, a lively indie rock four piece based in London. What I liked about Concrete Caverns was the bold indie rock sound they had, similar to bands like Arctic Monkeys in their Favourite Worst Nightmare era. They had a sort of post punk/ Britpop edge to them, which to me was slightly similar to bands like The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand or Oasis. Tracks like That’s Why and Jenny really have the potential to become huge indie rock anthems, with the heavy guitar giving them an edge over lots of the bland indie rock out there currently. The band have a very refined polished sound live, coming across very professional and well rehearsed.
The solid riffs (particularly the rawness of Liam on bass) and raucous loud guitar from Zach paired with the rough grittiness of Joseph’s vocals make the band’s sound really intense and exciting. They intertwine Britpop with heavy indie rock, and their overall sound is a lot messier and harsher than current indie music which makes them a really exciting live band. Their set was a brilliant burst of intense rock’n’roll from the off, featuring a load of unreal tracks such as Give It To Me, Out Tonight, and Fear’s Not A Hand Me Down. The brilliant thing about Concrete Caverns is the young edge they have; they’re a refreshing burst onto the music scene, and hopefully this is just the start for them.
Fiende Fatale were the next band to play, a ‘post post post-punk’ band (according to lead vocalist Matt). Made up of Alex, Dom, Rolph and Matt, the band are one of the best I’ve seen live, and Saturday night was actually my third time seeing them. Their music is reminiscent of 70s punk like The Clash, The Boomtown Rats or The Jam, as well as more modern indie-infused punk music, like Jamie T. The brilliant thing about Fiende Fatale live is the finesse of their music and how well written each meticulous riff is; all the individual elements of their music tie in perfectly together, from Matt’s cocky sounding vocal to Rolph’s messy guitar and Dom’s extremely skilled drumming.
Dom reminds me a lot of drummers like Matt Helders or Ben Thatcher, with his little drum riffs and loops adding to the power of the band’s music. Alex is an excellent bassist too, with him writing his basslines once Matt and Rolph have crafted the basic foundations of the track. The bass is especially good on tracks like Yours Untruly and Dizzle, which the band opened with. Their set list included a variety of tracks, including Death and Taxes, Chelsea Girl and Car Crash in F# Minor. They also played favourites of mine 2020 Vision and Script, which both feature unreal guitar from Matt and Rolph who play perfectly in sync with one another. The band have been a tight-knit group for a couple of years now (with Matt and Dom being mates for over 20 years), and this closeness is reflected through the meticulous solidarity of the band and how well they play on stage. Matt’s vocal is very north-London punk sounding too, which gives them that 70s punk sound, particularly on tracks like Dizzle and Yours Untruly (which both feature immense crashing riffs). I said this the first time I saw the band live (supporting Trampolene in October, and again at Nambucca in November) and the case is still the same; the immense sound the band have is unreal, and the unique punk edge they have is blinding, promising a lot for them and punk music overall. For updates on the band, you can sign up to their mailing list here.
Next up were raucous four piece BlackWaters, an amped up indie punk group from Guildford. The band were wild on stage, with a really loud messy indie rock bite, with their music bringing in elements of indie rock and 70s punk, reminiscent of 2000 post-Britpop punk. What I love about BlackWaters is the hectic madness to their music and the brilliant energy they channelled on stage, with a very heavy punk aura to their sound. Lead vocalist Max jumped onto the crowd at one point when singing, the distorted punk power of his vocal backed up by that gritty guitar and the heavy thrashing of the drums from James. There’s a rowdy brain-explosive sound the band have, and it’s very honest and real too; lyrics in tracks like Jarr’ed Up Generation resonated well with the audience due to the blunt relatable nature of them. Tracks the band performed included Jarr’ed Up Generation and So Far Out. So Far Out is one of my favourite tracks in general, just ’cause it’s pure heavy punk. There’s no pretence to their music; it’s raw and fresh and exciting, with a rowdy, vivid 70s punk sound. Similarly Jarr’ed Up Generation is a pure punk explosion, with mad guitar throughout matching the arrogant attitude in Max’s vocal, who shouts ‘we are the jarr’ed up generation,’ in a tone similar to vocalists like Alex from Wonk Unit or Joe from Idles. The track lyrically is youthful and rowdy and messy, with a crazily catchy ‘ooh’ opening the track with a bang. All the elements of their music (i.e. heavy guitar, raw deep bass lines and cocky London vocals) were showcased brilliantly on stage, absolutely tearing through the venue.
Strange Bones were the final band to play, and the savage punk intensity of that band live is unreal. They drew raucous moshpits from the start of their set, which included tracks like We The Rats, God Save The Teen and S.O.I.A. The thing about Strange Bones which makes them such a wild enthralling band is the politically charged cynicism and satire behind their music. They’re blunt and abrasive as a band, with the lead vocalist wearing a shirt which said ‘Theresa Is A Terrorist.’
This message is put across too in filthy dirty track Big Sister Is Watching, an aggressive dig at the un-elected PM with lines like ‘the age of the surveillance state, what you been searching that for mate?’ and ‘are you fed what you believe to be true, Big Sister’s watching you’. Look at the shit state of the world right now; the only good thing is the fact it can act as a muse for punk bands. There’s a lot to be angry about and Strange Bones (who released their We The Rats EP last month) channel this in the best way possible through the cynical controversy of their amped up anti-May lyrics. The confidence and intimidating attitude the three piece have is key to their grunge-punk sound, and they filled the cramped venue with this energy. The crowd was mad too, with a hectic wild mosh pit forming which was a lot of fun (despite falling over in it a couple of times). The lead vocalist repeatedly crowd surfed and jumped out into the crowd to play those heavy blaring riffs, and it was this forceful power and energy they had which makes them one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. The ability to captivate and thrill the audience in such a forceful aggressive way was unreal, accompanied by the unbelievable savage punk tracks they have. Similar to bands like Darlia or Nirvana (for some reason Nirvana’s track Aneurysm reminds me a lot of Strange Bones), the band quite simply are a filthy explosion of honest, brutal punk.
What an incredible way for The Horn to end Independent Venue Week! The lineup was unreal, with those four class bands showcasing the best of Britpop, indie rock, grunge and punk. For more gigs at The Horn (which includes Fiende Fatale on 25/2) you can visit their page here.
Gig rating: ★★★★★
© Photo credit: Sahera Walker