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THE QUILL, COLDSPELL, ROUGH CUT, TOXIC FEDERATION
Camden, London 22 November 2011
ashes of the cancelled Smokehead Rocks tour came this rather enticing
four band bill, headed by two Swedish acts who had been due to play the
Islington Academy the previous night. Sadly, perhaps because of the late
notice, the turnout was very disappointing.
As an added
bonus, one of GRTR!'s featured acts, Nottinghamshire's Toxic
Federation opened the show with a rare London appearance. I am not
sure why they were on first as they had brought the biggest fan base of
all four acts.
It is a time
of change in their camp as singer Mitchel Emms, whose demonic energy was
a big part of their stage act, has now departed but stand-in Steve
Braund, clad in a Sid James T-shirt, may have lacked his charisma but
had an excellent, soaring vocal range.
He fitted in
nicely with the band's energetic sound and trademark twin guitar assault
- again with a change of line-up. A big announcement is apparently
planned soon, and it would be good to see them on a more high profile
touring slot, capitalising on excellent recent album Distance.
on the other hand had the unenviable task of kicking off their set
before a crowd in single figures. Their NWOBHM inspired metal was quite
tight, but let down by the vocals, and with some very nervous stage
craft there was something about the school group about them.
It was hard
not to feel sorry for the singer as he urged the few of us there to take
a few steps closer to the stage. Hopefully they will regroup stronger
for the experience.
had impressed me at first hearing at the Z rock festival earlier this
year, and confirmed that promise with a 45 minute set which won some new
Niclas Swedentorp (sic) looks unprepossessing and yet has an excellent,
crystal clear set of pipes while the band are very accomplished.
mention should go to keyboard player Matti Eklund, squeezing his
equipment into the back of a very crowded stage but producing some very
'perfect strangers' like sounds on opener 'Keep On Believing'.
on you as the song progresses and 'One in a Million' was their more
commercial number, but they have a classic hard rock sound that owes a
lot to the likes of Rainbow, as well as to some of the pompier melodic
rock acts like Shotgun Symphony or Prophet.
By the time
they closed with the surprisingly dark and heavy, though still melodic
sounds, of the title track from their current 'Out From The Cold' album
and 'Time', they had sufficiently impressed a small pack of new fans,
led by former GRTR! scribe Mark Taylor, to go down the front and cheer
were fellow Swedes The Quill. With several albums behind them and
a tour a few years ago with Monster Magnet, it was disappointing that
more followers had not made the trip to North London.
They are in
a different musical mould, predominantly with a stoner rock sound but
one that also take influences from classic bands such as Led Zeppelin.
Arnar is relatively new but not only looks the part with his straggly
beard, but sounds it too. The band were tight and remorseless and chat
was kept to an absolute minimum.
They are not
particularly my own musical scene, so the set did sound samey at times,
but the likes of 'Black Star' and 'Medicine' combine a heavy, sludgy
sound with the accessible choruses you associate with Scandinavian
with the Audioslave-influenced 'Bring It On', very bravely attempting –
and succeeding! - in getting a sparse crowd to sing along.
For those of
you who like a heavier, dirtier sound, I would recommend the Quill
highly. Indeed there were three excellent performances tonight in
photos by Andy Nathan
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