It was set to be a jammed pack weekend for the alternative scene with bands like Rammstein, 3Teeth, and Ministry drawing in the crowds as well as people saving energy for London Pride the next day. Even so the bands that played at the Fiddler's elbow did so with pure passion and determination in the face of such competition for audience numbers.
Arriving at the historic and beautiful Fiddler's elbow which is decorated in hundreds of vinyl records, hundreds more posters, and thousands of stickers top to toe, I kicked myself that I had not visited this bar before. It really is one of gems that should adorn the crown of alternative royalty in London and I would suggest you drop in just to view the aesthetic over a pint next time you pass Camden's way. I also was not sure what to expect of the bands either. I knew SYD.31 well already and had set up an interview with the band which can be found here. I had also heard of AlterRed but couldn't remember much, the other two were a mystery to me but I was in high hopes for the evening and without a doubt, those hopes were fulfilled!
Let me put this out there now. If I don't know a band, I am highly critical when it comes to seeing anyone play live, especially in a bar having seen far too many amateur as hell bands cover one too many Wonderwall and Sex is on fire tracks if you know what I mean? However each and every band was highly entertaining and has changed that perception for me almost over night. Down From Above
This duet of a guitarist and a female singer with backing music to support was an absolute delight! Have you ever watched Supernatural or True Blood on TV? Well this band's music wouldn't go amiss playing over an important scene, be it emotional, or fast paced.
Their music is powerful with some intense melodies both vocally and shredded from the guitar. Even with this powerful sound, the vocals were pitch perfect and clear enough to make out the lyrics over the top of what was a very well balanced overall sound; partly due to the high quality equipment of the venue as well as the band's talent.
I had to tell the band after their performance how much I enjoyed it and was lucky enough to be handed an EP by the lovely singer Anastasia. They have a couple of tracks on Spotify at the moment called 'Where angels fall', and 'Give it up.' Which I have listened to quite a few times already whilst writing this. Go check them out! Jan Doyle Band
This is a true art piece to watch. A band half way to old school goth Sister's of Mercy but got snagged on David Bowie, and slipped in a puddle of glam; in a sense... The Clash on acid. There's PVC galore, glam metal hair, and retro aesthetic makeup for days. Even through all that, the industrial sound still underlines everything perfectly.
Jan Doyle Band present themselves as an 'Insurrectionary Neo Futurism' experience which also happens to be the name of their album which is also an EXTREMELY good listen for anyone goth looking for something new to listen to, especially if you really like some of the traditional stuff. The lead singer Derek throws himself around the stage, in to the audience, wraps a microphone cord around his neck, and covers himself in 'blood' all the whilst stumbling about in an ecstatic stupor that in no way interrupts his flow of singing. Yet with all this frivolity there were a few technical issues, wardrobe malfunctions, and forgotten backup vocals yes this only added to the brilliant nonchalant spectacle.
"He is honestly one of my favourite artists because no matter what, he doesn't care about f**k ups and just keeps going hard." - Doctor Magic of SYD.31 on the bands performance
And the delights continued with the band doing a fantastic cover of Skinny Puppy's 'Assimilate' followed straight away by Baccara's 'We can boogie.' Truly it was one of the more interesting and bizarre yet satisfying sets I have ever had the privileged of witnessing and I want to see it all over again!
Dressed in black and wearing red ties, the band came out sounding like a heavy Nine Inch Nails and looking like a top class William control group. To their credit I saw several of the younger goth ladies in the audience leave after AlterRed's set, presumably having been there to see them. I therefore jokingly referred to them as 'The Daddy kink' band when I noticed that.
All of that is a compliment to what was a fine band playing some pure industrial rock/metal fueled with aggression and passion for what they were playing. The guitars were heavy and the drumming was on point to make the audience step and stomp in time to the beats of the former Command and Control drummer. I can see why I had heard of this band before, and enjoyed their set being the industrial lover that I am. During the track 'Breaking news,' the energy was intense and the crowd were as warmed up as they were gonna be even as the crows asked for one more to be played, sadly they could not however as time was over running and SYD.31 needed to start their headline set.
Syd.31 When SYD.31 was doing sound check the question 'How loud is too loud?' was asked by Jason (Dr.Magic) to the sound engineer and I can tell you this, It was exceptionally loud but it was perfect.
The last punks on Earth tore up the stage and the dance floor with many of the audience, myself included finally giving in to the need to STOMP, rave, and rock the hell out.
Shavor Joined the band as the guitarist for his first show with the band and he is a truly talented musician who played heavier than heavy which easily covered up any mistakes or timing issues that arose because the noise, power, and energy coming off the band was pure and it sounded exactly how the apocalypse should.
Kara destroyed it on the drums playing with the ferocity she is well known for making the ideal back up to the heavy guitar riffs, and of course Doctor Magic as ever roared himself hoarse for that hardcore growl we all know and love. Even pressed for time, the band had grace and calm amongst the chaos that is their music.
With messages in the music ranging from F**K Theresa May, to F**k Greedy landlords, to helping those in need to prevent suicide, the band has a lot of story in their performance and meaning to their lyrics. It was hotter than hot by this time, so much so that the electrical equipment started to fail and the bad were on the verge of passing out from dehydration, yet still they powered through their amazing tracks like 'Bulldoze everything' and 'Start a war.' There was also that cheeky cover of 'Mr vain' by Culture beat which always goes down superbly.
An interview before and after, with clips of 'Start a war' and 'Mr Vain' can be found here The set list: 01) Beware of The Gods
02) Unrepentant Anger
03) Last Punks On Earth
04) Walk Amongst Rebels
05) Bulldoze Everything
06) Fighting For The Future
07) Start A War
08) No Fear
10) Mr Vain
As ever SYD.31 put on a passionate performance and rounded the evening off perfectly. If you have a chance to see them, make sure you go and pick up their new album 'Walk amongst rebels' here!
A big thank you to the bands, The Fiddler's Elbow Camden, and Off Beat Promotions.
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