LIVE: God Damn – The Shacklewell Arms, Dalston 06/05/15
In the heart of trendy Dalston, in one of East London’s hidden gems The Shacklewell Arms, God Damn took the stage for the London leg of their UK tour in support of the release of their debut album Vultures. Although the venue was decidedly low key, it soon became a heaving mass of sweat and noise, as one of the UK’s most consistent live acts put on a show to match, if not exceed, their usual heady standards.
Opening the set with new material from the aforementioned debut album, God Damn provided the usual big riffs, deafening effects and frantic pace that we have come to expect from them. Singer Thom made great use of the space available, often making forays into the crowd bringing his soulful, yet gravelly voice to the adoring fans assembled, while drummer Ash held things together with his metronomic drumming skills. This was never more evident than during the hugely crowd pleasing, and always frenetic Shoeprints In The Dust. Some bands would be leaving themselves open to criticism by relying heavily on effects pedals to flesh out their sound, but for God Damn it seems to work, helping to creating a wall of sound with, at times, an almost psychedelic feel to proceedings.
There were numerous highlights throughout the set including new songs Meladie Melody, sporting the band’s trademark riffs and unrelenting pace, and the shorter punchier effort that is By The Wayside. Singles Horus and When The Wind Blows also make an appearance, to rapturous appreciation from the audience. However, for me the high point came at the very end of the set with Dangled Like Skeletons, a beautifully moving song which effortlessly swings between ballad and beastly hard rock, while still maintaining a melancholic core.
God Damn are easily one of the best, and certainly the loudest, bands I’ve seen in a very long time. Catch them at festival or gig as soon as possible, because they won’t be playing small venues like this for long.