LIVE: Artrocker New Blood 2014, Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen 10/06/14
As the opening act of the night, TSPSI might have had the dubious distinction of playing to the sparsest crowd of the evening, but those who did get there early were rewarded with a white hot set from one of the best new bands on the British touring circuit.
Only just over a week removed from the sweaty inferno of their gig at the Good Mixer as part of the Camden Rocks festival, with an appearance at Grillstock sandwiched in between, TSPSI kept up their blistering form here. Singer Damien was in fine spirits (even if he was threatening to vomit at one stage) as he performed from the floor with the band on stage behind him, as they rattled through crowd pleasers like U.S.S.A. and Call The Coroner. Through a rage of pulsing guitars, punk riffs, and a fantastic sense of chemistry throughout the band as a unit, comes cutting, bile drenched lyrics, taking aim at all of the ills of the world, and doing so in exuberant and often hilarious fashion.
In particular tracks such as Sex, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll Workshops and If The Only Way Is Essex, You Can Kill Me Now are especially biting and venomous, and to my mind completely valid. This is not a band who shy away from expressing their opinions, in fact they do so with aplomb, which is all too rare in a world where bands are more interested in making money than creating real music. That’s not to say that TSPSI are destined for poverty however, far from it, and I for one expect big things from this band in the future (TM).
Second up and with the unenviable task of following a storming performance by The St. Pierre Snake Invasion are Limb. Having never heard anything by Limb I found myself speculating on their sound based on their name, settling on “some kind of stoner/doom metal” and to be fair I was virtually spot on. This London based four piece have a mighty tuned down sound with heavy sludgy riffs galore and powerful vocals. Think Alice In Chains/Black Sabbath combined with Pantera-esque vocals and you’ll be in the right area.
With a somewhat lacklustre crowd in attendance, Limb pushed through their set with minimal audience interaction, instead choosing to blend each song together. Singer Rob Hoey has a mighty roar, and was in his element performing live. He injected energy into their set with his regular fist-pumping and head-banging, and was clearly ‘in the zone’.
Limb have the potential to be a brilliant band, though for me they needed a little more variety in their set. While I love crushing riffs and gravely vocals as much as the next person, I most enjoyed the moments when they switched it up a bit. By adding a little variety to their sound, the heavy parts felt heavier, and I subsequently enjoyed it more. Overall this was a solid performance and I have no doubt I’ll be encountering Limb again in the not too distant future (DS).
Closing the evening were the highly rated two-piece God Damn. Having seen their explosive set at Camden Rocks, I had high expectations and these were unquestionably met; they once again proved why they’re destined to be playing much bigger venues than this. God Damn have a unique sound which blends elements of grunge, heavy metal and stoner rock, and luckily for all those in attendance, this translates brilliantly to a live setting. After frontman Thom prompted the audience to move forwards, I was in the front row for one hell of a show.
Playing their way through a set list including favourites Heavy Money and Shoe Prints In The Dust, both band members were on top form. Thom’s furious riffs and unique vocals are the perfect foil for Ash’s no holds barred assault on his drum kit. In between songs, Thom was happy chatting to the audience (apparently the sound man wasn’t happy last time they played because he had three amps, he now has five) and he’s clearly developed into an assured frontman.
The energy thrown forwards throughout their entire set really was exceptional. The crowd responded too, giving the whole venue a lift. Before I knew it the evening was at a close, with the crowd baying for more. In true rock and roll style Thom managed to break his guitar into three pieces, though I gather this wasn’t entirely in the plan. Fingers crossed he finds another as no-one should miss a God Damn live show (DS).
Words by Tom Minmagh (TM) and Dan Stent (DS).
Artrocker came up trumps tonight with a great bill of new heavy bands, all of which have real potential to be playing bigger shows than this very soon.