I accidentally arrived at Camden’s Barfly slightly early – and by slightly, I mean 90 minutes – before the bands began.
Luckily one of I AM I’s guitarists, Jacob Ziemba came over for a chat when he spotted me and we shot the breeze for a few minutes until an adoring fan snuck up behind him.
What followed was a joy to behold, and one of the reasons I thoroughly respect the band. Said fangirl’s hand was shaking like a leaf – literally, as she quietly asked Jacob to sign some things for her which he did with a genuine smile. I was asked if I minded taking a photo of the two of them which I happily obliged. I think the fans life was made right there and then.
Anyway, on to the music.
London based openers The One Hundred could have easily looked at home on a much bigger stage, which would have been a better platform for their frontman’s wild energy and overall ‘let’s ‘ave it’ attitude. Musically they’d make an ideal addition to Slam Dunk Festival, with their core styling but what was interesting about the chaps is that they combined the grit of hardcore-esque punk with a very impressive death growl and rap vocals a-la Hacktivist. ElectroMetalcoreRap, if you will.
Formed from members of the now defunct electro/metalcore band Collapse The Control, which explains this incarnations sound, The One Hundred came across as seasoned pros and I couldn’t fault their balls out performance, the respectably sized crowd bopping their heads and feeling the vibe. This is why people should watch all bands on the line-up, you can discover some real gems.(8)
Download a free track from the band via here: breed.viinyl.com
More home-town music followed in the form of massively underrated London rockers, The Mercy House. From the first note, it was clear tonight that the band meant business, with a capital HELL YES. Exploding with energy and dazzlingly pitched vocals, Drew Davies didn’t so much as warm the crowd up, it was more akin to setting off a miniature atom bomb in the room, reaching out to the fans – both mentally and physically – and captivating them. The trio of guitars were deployed with an insanity rarely – if ever – seen on stage, imagine Animal from the Muppets (in triplet) being given a guitar after sniffing a handful of speed. Mesmerising!
I don’t know quite how to put my finger on exactly what it is, but The Mercy House have significantly upped their extraordinarily heavy stage show since I last saw them at Underworld and it was frankly electrifying to watch and listen to. (9.5)
Find them on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/themercyhouse
Main support, and a massive shift of style, came in the form of female fronted rockers Reachback. Now, for a Paramore/Dirty Youth fan they would have been an absolute delight, for me, it was a nightmare. That’s not saying the band were crap because they weren’t, not remotely, they were very accomplished. What I mean is that it really isn’t my cup of tea, and I think the night should have began with Reachback and had The Mercy House as main support. I’m afraid that however lovely the lass’ voice was, I couldn’t be in there for more than two songs, I had to depart to the downstairs bar and plug some Gojira in to my ears. (5)
Headliners I AM I had drawn a good crowd at Barfly tonight, with superfans front and centre totally entranced by vocalist and founder Z.P Theart. ZP’s vocal is astoundingly good, which he showcases tonight to it’s fullest and he is as ever the crowd pleaser, grinning away like the proverbial Cheshire Cat in between tracks.
I AM I are usually in fine fettle, but tonight, something seems slightly amiss. I can’t help but wonder if the main support kinda killed the electricity in the room that The Mercy House brought to proceedings and it wasn’t until the band broke into their brilliant cover of John Farnham’s ‘You’re The Voice‘ and their latest single See You Again that the atmosphere in the room shifted back to a state of gleeful happiness. That said, the crowd were raptly focussed on ZP for the entire set and both his and the bands showmanship never fails to satisfy.(7)
Find I AM I Here: www.facebook.com/IAMIOfficial
Aside from the one band blip, it was a thoroughly entertaining night, but the award for most testosterone fuelled sexy noise definitely lands firmly in the lap of The Mercy House.