Sencelled, Dynazty, Tainted Nation, Miss Behaviour, Jettblack, Electric Boys, Islington UK, 12/10/11
Boasting an incredible six band line-up for less than the standard gig ticket price in London, it would be hard to come up with a convincing reason to have missed the Smokehead Rocks tour as it hit the O2 Academy Islington. The four-band strong Swedish entourage of Electric Boys, Dynazty, Sencelled and Miss Behaviour were joined by Tainted Nation and (for one show only), up and coming UK rockers Jettblack. This 'there's certainly a little something for everyone' line-up has been hauling itself around the country for the past week, and rolled into London for its final show on October 12th.
Sencelled (www.sencelled.se) are first up, appearing on stage almost as soon as doors are opened and to an amount of people that could happily fit in to a bedroom if they bunched up. With an image that would not seem out of place if they broke out into Sum 41's "Fat Lip" as their opener, we were a little unsure about what to expect. Nevertheless, a great power pop-influenced rock sound emanates from these guys, with catchy tunes that make for the perfect opener - they don't take themselves too seriously and the tracks are fun. You'd be hard pushed to not be smiling by the end of their set.
Their 25 minute stage time is over almost as soon as it begins, and they are followed almost instantly by self-proclaimed "melodic party [metallers]" Dynazty (http://www.dynazty.com/). After hearing their latest effort, Knock You Down, we were certainly expecting a great deal from their limited set - and they did not disappoint. They blazed to the stage with Sleeping With the Enemy and the set remained impressive throughout, despite a well-handled technical hitch. Singer Nils delivered perhaps one of the strongest vocal performances I've heard all year. While they would fit in perfectly with your eighties hard rock playlist of choice, there's a real unique quality to their set - it doesn't feel like something you've seen or heard a million times before. Watching these guys steal a show where they were almost billed lowest, you know they're going on to do great things.
Up next is Tainted Nation. They look like they might break into a Motorhead track at any moment, and while no piece of the puzzle is bad on its own merit, something doesn't quite work when you're looking at the whole picture. Musically, these guys seemed tight - the track intros alone were promising, but the vocals and resulting songs just didn't seem to reach the pounding high you thought you were going to hit when the song started. Coupled with a poor crowd reaction to vocalist Pete's humour, this felt like the longest set of the night.
Hot on the heels of Tainted nation are AOR'sy Miss Behaviour (http://www.myspace.com/missbehaviourmusic) who graced our shores back in May, when they joined Houston and CRASHDÏET on tour here. Generating the best crowd response so far, these guys have greatly improved since their last visit to the UK. Although it feels like there's a little tiny something missing from the stage chemistry, something magical happened to their sound when vocalist Sebastian Roos picked up a second guitar. If this is a true taste of what's to come, then these are certainly a band to look out for.
Special one-night-only guests to the tour, Jettblack are next to grace to stage. Energetic as always, the guys are a real treat to watch. With their unusual set up of alternating vocalists and fantastic chemistry with each other (as well as some clusters of fans in the audience who know what these guys are about), their intensely catchy tracks are well received and their stage time flies by. While it was not quite the killer Jettblack performance fans have grown accustomed to (apparently the guys were a little out of practice), the set was highly entertaining. Even the guitar 'showdown' between Wil "Sausage fingers" Stapleton and the apparently aptly dubbed Jon "The Body" Dow is as fun as it is skilful. With a little more crowd response, the set would have been wrapped up perfectly with their clap-inducing earworm 'Get your hands dirty".
Unfortunately, due to short notice and a slightly later than average curfew, we were forced to miss the headlining act. But it has to be said, whether Electric Boys sewed up the night with an awesome set or brought the night (and the tour) to an average end, the line-up for the night delivered. The only real disappointment is that these acts weren't playing to a much bigger, more responsive audience and while it would have been nice to watch each act for longer (to truly get into each one), the Smokehead Rocks tour certainly demonstrates that you can put almost every second of valuable stage time to good use if everyone grabs their own gear every once in a while.
More photos can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xilaii/sets/72157627823014365/"
Last Updated (Saturday, 05 November 2011 19:02)