Last night at The Horn was another class gig put on by Juicebox, featuring Dead!, Airways, Chapter and Verse, and Love Buzz. A selection of local bands and more well known touring bands, it was a definite showcase of heavy, post metal rock.
The first band to play were Love Buzz, a grunge infused punk four piece from St Albans. Honestly, for me the majority of their set was underwhelming. They’re clearly well rehearsed and have a strong coherent sound as a band, and the way they played together in such perfect sync proves this. However, something seemed to be lacking, almost as if this raw DIY grit and power just wasn’t really there. At the end of their set though they played Babygirl which I proper loved. The heavy grungy edge to the track was brilliant on stage, and the rawness of Lloyd’s voice on it worked perfectly with the heavy guitar drops in the chorus. It had this element of raucous vibrancy, and on this track alone I’d recommend catching the band live. Despite the lacklustre feel to most of their set, Babygirl really amped it up, and I’m looking forward to seeing the band at Wilkestock festival next month.
The second support band were Chapter and Verse, whose set really confused me. The guitar was excellent, really heavy and powerful and raw. Similar to bands like Marmozets or Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes where riffs are the very core of the music, Chapter and Verse produced the perfect foundations for an alt-rock band. However, it was let down by Josh’s vocals. Now don’t gt me wrong, Josh is a really good singer, but as a vocalist it just didn’t work with metal music. His voice is very soft and light, and I was waiting for some kind of deep force to take over and rip through the music, to give it that thrashing edge and grit so crucial to alt-rock metal music. The underwhelming vocals in my opinion let their set down, and I can’t say I enjoyed it that much.
The third support band of the night, Airways, were far better, and I really loved their sound. They have a breezy indie rock sound, with really gritty riffs. Tight and polished,
their sound is pretty abrasive, with a certain attitude and arrogance to lead vocalist Jake. They went down really well with the crowd too, performing a variety of tracks including One Foot, Reckless Tongue and Slow. The band have a really full sound, packed with rich guitar loops and blinding vocals. There did seem to be a lack of DIY grit to their sound though; anyone who knows my blog would know my favourite kind of music is raw gritty DIY rock, and this was something Airways’ set lacked. However, the audience loved them and they managed to create a very tight polished indie sound which went down brilliantly.
And then for the headliners: Dead! At Reading festival last summer my mate took me to see them, and I remember being blown away. In terms of energy and live presence, Dead! are honestly one of the sickest bands I’ve seen. There’s so much abrasive attitude and cockiness to them, with blinding power and raucousness gracing their stages. Alex has this screwy manic sense of hectic insanity to him, with this mad deafening screaming on stage. His vocals are perfect too, a cross between singing and angrily spitting words into the mic. Tracks like Enough, Enough, Enough and Phantom went down incredibly
well, with jumping and moshing from the crowd. It was a heavy cross of indie, punk and grunge, with a very fresh unique feel. The band completely dominated the stage, dimly lit lamps and roses on stage adding to the band’s unique aesthetics. Something More Original, Jessica, Alaska and Up For Ran$om were fucking class too, the crowd screaming the line ‘Up for ransom’ back to the band during the chorus. There’s a thrashing beat to their music which gives Dead! a manic moshpit inducing feel, the bass and both lead guitars further amplifying this. The line ‘you’re so handsome, you’re so fucking handsome’ in Up For Ran$om was spit into the mic with a blinding careless attitude, with heavy post metal riffs tearing through Alex’s vocal. Dead! killed it once more, and I left the gig feeling exactly as I did last year after the band’s Reading set; mesmerised, blinded, and sweaty. Big up Dead!
Dead! are currently on tour, and you can pick up tickets here