The Heavy, Relentless Garage, London
Monday 07 December 2009
Genre-bending voodoo rockers The Heavy produce the kind of raw, infectious, down-and- dirty sonic assault that your mother warned you about. And judging by this storming gig at the Garage, the West Country four piece are going to be worrying a lot more parents by this time next year.
The spaghetti-Western mangling "Short Change Hero" kicks off proceedings with its "This ain't no place for a hero" catchy-soothing chorus, lulling the crowd into a false sense of cosy security. But this doesn't last for long – by midway through the second track, "Coleen", the charismatic frontman Kelvin Swaby rips off his shirt to reveal a white vest, the guitars and drums are ramped up and The Heavy are in full effect. The crowd – a cosmopolitan mix of young and old which clearly illustrates the band's growing cross-generational appeal – eagerly laps up everything that's thrown at them.
Heavy rock mashes up with hip-hop, a dollop of reggae, a liberal seasoning of southern soul and a side order of garage punk to create a thoroughly modern hybrid sound. It's very much of the moment – but at the same time there are echoes of long-lost hidden classic tracks, which could just as easily have been spawned by Arthur Lee's Love or even Led Zep in their full-on pomp.
The quartet perform a mix of tracks from both their albums – Great Vengeance and Furious Fire and The House that Dirt Built – and where on disc the genre-bending can seem at times a bit jarring, as a Seventies funk-inspired track goes straight into a hard rock jam, live it works perfectly. The accomplished musicians, who appear as if they've been jamming together for years, seamlessly swap styles. It's like being tuned into the ultimate radio station where the DJ is artfully mixing the greatest ever tracks.
If I have to pick stand-out songs, then "Sixteen", where the ball of energy Swaby is joined on vocals by bass player Spence, and the funk-rock driven monster "How You Like Me Now?", which conjures up the spirit and soul of the JBs, are my choices. But it's the whole show that really impresses. Where other bands are happy just to play it safe, The Heavy push the boundaries to create a winning formula.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Paul Scholes: Manchester City were so good against Liverpool I felt like turning the television off
- 2 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 3 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
- 4 Homer Simpson takes the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he does
- 5 Hello Kitty is not a cat after all
Great British Bake Off, episode 4, review: Heat gets turned up as Iain goes into meltdown
Great British Bake Off 2014: Diana Beard quits due to illness
Homer Simpson takes the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he does
Friends reunion: Jennifer Anniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo, gig review: Just what everyone was hoping for
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >