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Live Review: Six Great Reasons Tour - Bull & Gate, Kentish Town - 22/4/11

On an irrationally beautiful Spring day, the sun is still out when first band Mallory Knox hit the stage; even so, the room is far from empty.

They start tentatively and it’s not until mid-way through the second song that lead-singer Mikey Chapman finds his voice properly. Once they click, however, they impress, with their powerful riffs and well-executed breakdowns finding an appreciative audience. For the youngest and most melodic band on the bill it’s a decent showing, and while they might have worried about having to open one of the most brutal tours to have traversed these isles in recent memory, such worries are unfounded.

Brotherhood Of The Lake are an altogether different proposition: heavy as hell, mixing dissonant hardcore with some very metallic riffery. With 3/5ths of the band playing most of the set from down on the floor in front of the stage, they are also about as ‘in your face’ as possible and their relentlessly tight performance makes a good impression on the burgeoning crowd.

Next band Polar’s recently released 'This Polar Noise' EP has been mighty well-received by press and public alike and it is clear that there are many here to see if they can back up their recorded promise in a live setting. As it turns out, the question is not whether they can ‘do it live’ but rather, how far can they exceed already lofty expectations?

Opener ‘Shanghai Junk’ is an incendiary statement of intent and by they end of their short set they have sweaty bodies cartwheeling around the modest floor space. Though they lack a touch of the live polish shown by the more experienced bands on the bill, they more than make up for it with raw energy, self-belief and a hatful of killer songs. They may well go very far indeed.

While it is perhaps true that Heart in Hand suffer somewhat at the start for having to follow such a ferociously well-received act, you wouldn’t think they believe it from their impassioned performance. Carrying on the night’s running theme of performing from the floor in front of the stage, vocalist Charlie Holmes ends each song gasping for air in a room that is now, admittedly, probably hotter than hell itself while the rest of the band churn out their skull-crushing riffs with furious precision.

As impressively as Heart In Hand finish however, Feed the Rhino are a band with a growing reputation for delivering titanic live performances and tonight they prove worthy bearers of such accolades. Their music is simply dirtier, heavier and more dangerous than anything else tonight.

Though they draw the greater proportion of their set from 2010’s well received album 'Mr Red Eye', they also play several new songs and before the first of these, front man Lee Tobin address the crowd saying: “… you don’t know it, don’t worry, just fuck it up.” The crowd happily oblige in appreciation of such a superb display of energy, aggression, musicianship and stagecraft that raises the bar on the night.

After such a magnificent performance, TRC initially seem somewhat underwhelming by comparison. This is not to say that they start poorly but they seem lacking a little in presence and intensity. The band are not only aware of this but seem keen to talk about it on stage, sharing with the audience how hard it is to come on after a band who: “kill it every night”.

In doing this though, they are (even if knowingly) selling themselves short, as a not inconsiderable number of the assembled are there solely to see them and such is the goodwill in the room that it carries them through. Before long, vocalists Anthony Carroll and Chris Robson are merrily mixing it up down at the front with the increasingly enthusiastic crowd.

When Nathan, vocalist from London compatriots Prowler joins them onstage for ‘Go Hard Or Go Home’ it is to a mass of raised arms and the greater proportion of the room bouncing in unison. It’s very big indeed and enough to dispel any lingering doubts about their deserving their place on the bill.

Whilst it is Feed The Rhino’s night, TRC at least get the final word and it’s difficult to begrudge it them.

It would be easy to say that the Six Great Reasons tour was overwhelming. It probably was too much for comfortable consumption, but as I left the venue at half past 11, aching after five hours of sweaty, ear-shattering musical mayhem, I realised that nothing I’d seen for a long while had come close to matching the intensity and sheer commitment of what I’d just witnessed; a goddamn triumph of British rocking talent.

Nick Worpole

Alter The Press!