Band of Skulls, HMV Forum, London
Thursday 14 October 2010
When you forget where you are, you know you've been touring too hard and too long. "We're Band of Skulls, and you are... the Forum?" says frontman Russell Marsden nonchalantly, as he casually sweeps his long blonde hair out of his eyes. The momentary doubt never reaches confusion; this trio is far too rock'n'roll for that.
In a uniform of black T-shirts, jeans and cowboy boots, the band enters to Sam Cooke's "A change is gonna come". Success has been "a long time coming" for the Southampton band who met at school and college, and started life as notable bar-room band Fleeing New York in the early 2000s.
The debut album as Band of Skulls, Baby Darling Doll Face Honey, may be more than a year old but "Patterns" kicks off the set as fresh as a hard-rockin' daisy.
Glam bassist, vocalist and frontwoman Emma Richardson leans back sexily into her bass as she leads the Pixies-esque opener, before the band launch into the driving riffs of "Friends".
Silhouetted against blinding lights fit for a headline slot at Reading, it's clear from the very beginning that it's not just the rigging that would do well in such a setting.
Infused with 1960s garage-rock guitar solos and mixed with a pounding backbone of drums from Matthew Hayward, it's no wonder Jack White invited the band to open for The Dead Weather's London gig earlier this year.
"Fires" showcases the trio's assets (Marsden and Richardson's vocals make a powerful combination) and the crowd erupt for radio favourite "Death by Diamonds and Pearls", eliciting a rare grin from Marsden.
There's a danger they've peaked too soon, especially as slower, less compelling tracks such as "Honest" then take centre stage. But it's not long before the thundering blues-rock single "I Know What I Am", followed by the mighty roar of "Hollywood Bowl"; Band of Skulls is on a roll – and there's a lot more to come.
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