Beyond the sleek, neon façade of Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, once you’re past the ironic Movember mustache-sporting tight trousered tits waiting for their hazy Serbian triple dry-hopped imperial pale ale, lies a surprisingly decent venue. The bar and kitchen may be more hipster-friendly than a Gameboy and Granola café, but the live venue is dark and intimate with a high stage and a simple but effective array of LED displays that complement the regular lights brilliantly, creating an oasis of respectable grime for a trio of bands that share space at the more rock n roll end of the doom spectrum.
MonkHammer arrives a little late to catch openers Tear, entering just as they start their final song, which sounds promising, pouring a slightly grungey, post-punk drone over the beat of a frantic drummer who pounds seven shades out of his kit as if frustrated that he can’t quite put it out of its misery. Definitely ones to watch, which is definitely also true of The Pearl Harts, who take the grand tradition of two-piece garage rock to monolithic Ramones-jamming-Sabbath places and are utterly mesmerising in the process. Singer Kirsty uses a bank of pedals to loop her guitar, a neat trick that allows her to layer extra bombast over bandmate Sara’s ferocious drumming while also giving her the freedom to work the mic stand and stalk the stage, dropping to her knees at one point to give it the full Robert Plant. Star-power radiates from both throughout their set, and although Sara’s vocals and Kirsty’s on-stage banter could both use a little work, an album promised for next year will be well worth checking out. The band deserve a huge piece of the pie that Radio 1 playthings Royal Blood have been gorging on of late for the riff of ‘The Rush’ alone, while ‘Lara’ proves that they’ve also got the earth-shattering festival-ready choruses needed to win over the masses when it finally drops.
Speaking of new music, headliners Black Moth are here tonight to launch ‘Moonbow’, the first single off their forthcoming third album, ‘Anatomical Venus’, which is due out 23rd February. Showing few signs of rust after so long away, the band offer the small but devoted crowd a mesmerising hour of doomy rock gold, entrancing everyone with their sheer brilliance and tearing this sweaty little Hoxton hole a new stinkhorn in the process. The show starts with the sludgey double-tap of ‘Undead King of Rock’n’Roll’ and ‘Tumbleweave’ before giving the new single a triumphant early outing, during which drummer Dom McCready continues the evening’s theme of tub-thumping torment by one-upping his predecessors and smashing the wires clean off his snare. As roadies scamper around the venue like amphetamine Wombles looking for a replacement, an impromptu jam session is abandoned in favour of just carrying on regardless with a broken drum, and the band barrel on into ‘Looner’. It’s testament to the power of both the music and McCready that even without this integral part of the kit, both songs sound absolutely massive, the sheer sonic bombast cloaking the dull thunk of a castrated snare. Rooted directly in front of him, singer Harriet Hyde seems possessed by the music, seduced by its spell and writhing with a note-perfect energy, but between songs there is an endearing cheeky charm as she remembers she’s allowed to talk about the new album now, or chastises herself for telling people to look things up on the internet too many times. It’s a delightful combination that gives her an immense power over an already enraptured audience. Along with the single, the band air another four new tracks tonight, and it’s fair to say that ‘Anatomical Venus’ already promises to be one of 2018’s most exciting releases, with two of said tracks heading deeper into doomy waters and the others cranking up the retro riff quota, but all sounding preposterously huge. The band are clearly excited by the prospect of releasing new music, and rightfully so, but the prize for Moment of the Night goes to ‘Banished But Blameless’ from debut album ‘The Killing Jar’, which breaks down, and down, and down again into one of the heaviest chugs ever witnessed in London, threatening to cave the venue in on itself like a black hole. With power like that in their ranks, and what threatens to be yet another brilliant album, 2018 is looking like it will be a very good year for Black Moth indeed.
Categories: Live Reviews