London’s rock venues in the lead up to the Great Escape Festival are packed with underground bands this week and The Gaff in Holloway Rd in North London played host to 2 of the loudest and most talked about upcoming artists bubbling away under the radar.
Tonight the venue may only have 80 people stood inside but those who have made the effort must have felt lucky when Chickenhawk came on stage to spread their evil dose of hardcore and metal.
The Leeds 4-piece have been living off the road for most of the year so far, clocking up the miles for the cause and generally getting amongst it. Tonight singer/guitarist Paul Astick leads the assault but by his own standards admits that he’s knackered and although their set is rampant from the off with team Hawk tighter than ever, even he concedes that the road is starting to rule them. No one cared though and as the set rolled out the beastly riffs of the mighty Kerosene and the stomping crunch of Scorpio, Astick found friends in the pit after slamming his mic stand down in the middle of it like he had landed on the moon and then slumped into the carpet like a lesbian on MDMA.
This evening’s show is all about the drummers as both bands have proper tech thumpers on board- Matthew Reid’s monstrous battery got Chickenhawk to the end of a cracking 30 minute set that finished on the catchy I hate this, do you like it..single… a track that has over 40,000 youtube views so far. Miss this lot at your peril. Once again, Chickenhawk proved even with a half empty tank they can still whip your butt in the live stakes. Look out for them on your travels as they will be pumping this shit out for miles yet ahead of their release planned for August this year.
It doesn’t take long for Tweak Bird to set up shop and fire out their blend of melodic vocals and heavy, sludge rock riffs for they are just a 2 piece with drums, guitar and one of those amazing theramins. Those in the know would remember their last visit to London where the brothers Bird blew a hole in the new Volcom store in Covent Garden when it opened last year. Since then they have moved over to Berlin based label Souterrain Transmissions ahead of their self titled LP release which on first listen should be one of the finest releases since Death From Above 1979’s debut. Its production is as heavy as Sabbath thanks the assistance of Melvins’ Dale Crover and Big Business’ Toshi Kasai pulling the strings on the sound in the studio and the result hucks in at only 25 mins in length but is a record you will no doubt have on repeat as a result when it drops this August.
2 of rock’s best drummers rip it up!
Tonight Tweak Bird kick off their set with new 7″ single ‘A Sun/Ahh Ahh’, a stoner rock classic that slowly builds allowing drummer/vocalist Ashton Bird to get his forearms pumped up for a drum thumping assault of the highest proportions throughout new tracks such as The Future and the wonderful vibes of Lights In Lines. His Brother Caleb has a baritone guitar so that he can tune to a lower range and delivers that drone of doom you crave to hear from a rock band at all times. His ability to actually see what he is doing through a mass of dark, greasy hair though is a feat on its own- yet he also manages to pull off in-tune twangs from a theramin that sits on his amp head which sounds fucking awesome! Shame that Caleb was not born with 3 arms because if he could blow down a saxophone at the same time this show tonight would have been complete sound wise, let’s hope they manage to find guests to join them on the road to add this to their set or at least bring a backing tape for the future as it’s the last piece of the live jigsaw missing for the Illinois duo’s perfect set which received thumbs up from a baying crowd.
If you dig the sound of Morphine and Kyuss then this is for you as the Brothers Bird have something unique to bring to the rock table this year and will be visiting these shores enough to reel you in. Look out for them with Pulled Apart By Horses at the Stag and Dagger festival in London on 21 May, it will be well worth it on this evidence.
Word and photos: Seb Adoh
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