Gallows Live at The Underworld, Camden

GALLOWS
w/ Feed The Rhino, Brotherhood of the Lake

London Camden Underworld
19th October 2012

Brotherhood Of The Lake’s recent ‘Desperation Is The English Way Vol. 1’ debut is a dark-hearted, brooding beast indeed – but whatever fuels their rage, they’re not shy to vent it live. The likes of ‘You’ll Never Dream’ are shot through with the kind of grit and determination that saw Andy Dufresne through to the end of that 500-yard sewage tunnel in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, and though their precise, Helmet-esque metallic attack falls on all too few ears, it’s a fine start to an evening that can only get louder and ever more chaotic.

A case in point: Feed The Rhino, who provide a lesson in how to utterly dominate a stage. The guitarists lurch around like a hardcore tag-team, whilst Lee Tobin is a larger than life frontman, less likely to exhort the crowd to greater efforts than to jump in and show them how it’s done. Oh, and they sound amazing – punishingly heavy, yet also anthemic, and with some killer grooves to boot. The closing ‘The Butcher’ heralds a wall of death worthy of a headline act, and amidst the ruckus, you can’t help but wonder if you’re witnessing the start of something big for Feed The Rhino.

All that remains is for Gallows to take any lingering ‘new guy on vocals’ doubts and smash them into dust before our eyes. Back in their natural environment – with no barriers getting in the way – that glorious sense of chaos is there from the off, with guitarist Lags and bassist Stu frequently to be seen rocking out in (or on top of) the maelstrom of a pit, and a steady stream of stagedivers eager to help out on backing vocals.

The new self-titled record is rightfully given a good airing, with ‘Depravers’, ‘Outsider Art’ and ‘Everybody Loves You…’ among the best things this band have ever done. Throughout, Wade cuts an imposing figure; having not only brought his own brand of fury to the Gallows table, but also – like the audience – taking his band’s older songs of discontent and doomed romance in as his own, and then blasting them out again with complete conviction.

‘Abandon Ship’? Tonight, they damn well torch the fucker, and make sushi out of the shark’s belly into the bargain. Gallows 2012, then – still as visceral as ever and, more importantly, still a band to believe in.

Words: Alex Gosman