Red Fang

support Black Tusk + Christian Mistress
author EW date 18/04/12 venue Underworld, London, UK

In recent weeks my musical playlist has been dominated by one band: Christian Mistress. Their free show (with British thrashers Deceptor) at the Wheelbarrow in Camden on Fri 13th of this month was one of the best concerts of my life; could their second show in town in a week equal that glorious night out?

Christian Mistress

This time they were first on a set of three with Black Tusk and Red Fang following, so the odds were on something a little more low-key. While this turned out to be the case it was not for lack of trying and certainly not for lack of quality in their recent release, "Possession" (review coming soon). With the Underworld gradually filling up to tonight's sold-out capacity, the four men and one woman of CM ploughed through as many cuts in their half-hour set with little spoken in between to break up the flow of songs, many of which I expect will become considerably more loved as the band's profile rises - "Black to Gold", "Haunted Hunted", "Pentagram and Crucifix" being the strongest contenders. Coming off the back of their first UK shows leading up to this one (the Wheelbarrow being their debut here) the excitement of that show had been replaced by a more business-like CM here, but one that even with a more muted crowd reaction shows serious potential for their next expected visit later this year.

Black Tusk

The last and only previous time I saw Black Tusk was to a half-empty Underworld in February 2011 from which I was left the memory of being impressed, but not moved, by their very American brand of self-styled 'swamp metal'. With "Set the Dial" released since then and the band's profile continuing on the upward trajectory I still find myself deliberating over the same thoughts: it's great to see a band on stage playing sweaty, blue-collar metal with a crowd heartily involved in every song but the special ingredient to tip them over the edge in to the top league remains tantalisingly just round the corner. Not to mind though, Tusks's hearty enthusiasm and crowd-pleasing tunes like "Bring Me Darkness" and "Embrace the Madness" are easy to enjoy and so long as Black Tusk stay this way they will always be a quality live proposition.

Red Fang

To say I was surprised at the sold out nature of this show 2 weeks before doors would be an understatement. A headliner that had passed me by til now, a band who could only half-sell the venue 14 months ago and a new(ish) band just making their name…even listening to Red Fang's two albums prior to the show did not illicit the excitement supposed in me for an evening of such high demand.

Although the listening session to the bands two LPs - "Red Fang" and "Murder the Mountains" - gave the impression the recorded output of these Oregon natives was no more mighty than other recent stoner/doom acts like The Sword, the live performance brought songs like "Wires" and "Prehistoric Dog" up a notch or two, unleashing a torrent on movement on stage and in the enraptured audience before them. Having been complimented by a solid sound from the Underworld system all evening, the heavy groovy riffs of Red Fang generated the kind of warm reception every band of Red Fang's stature would desire - this was an evening to please everyone in attendance with the headliners winning in the battle to be most appreciated by the boisterous and animated London crowd.

8

The latest releases of all three bands are available for streaming and purchasing through the Bandcamp links above.

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