A queue snaked around the Angel shopping centre this evening, which is always a lovely thing to see. Obviously not for the people in the queue, but for the avid gig goer that hopes the metal scene will support it’s artists, this was a heartwarming sight.

The venue started filling early, and the cross section of fans in attendance was of a variety I have never seen other than at festivals. There were 60+ rockers in patched denim, mingling with 20′s emo kids with blue and pink tinged hair, mohecan sporting punks and goths clad head to toe in skin tight gleaming leather wearing shades.

It appears goth n roll ‘Helsinki Vampires’ The 69 Eyes, and London based crossover punk metallers Generation Graveyard appeal to more than just one section of metal society then. Good Good.

THE 69 EYES/GENERATION GRAVEYARD O2 Islington 12 2 2013 The 69 Eyes Generation Graveyard  photo

From entry to the venue we were forced to listen to the same album, namely ‘Killing In The Name’ by RATM, on repeat. I counted four times – nice going, sound guy! So the slight delay of taking to the stage was made slightly more excruciating than usual, but then Generation Graveyard – or GenGrave as they often get called – burst into life with with wild abandon.

This is the first time I have managed to see these guys play for about two years, not for lack of wanting to, but for the fact that every time they have played a gig I have already been booked elsewhere. Tonight was a reminder of why I liked them to begin with.

Fusing punk attitude with metal riffage, Gen Grave are in your face with a baseball bat from the off. Long haired Jumping beans on crack is a fitting description. Musically, Max (vocals),  Jonny (guitar), Pete (drums), Phil (bass) and Arno (guitar) deliver a kick to the throat, followed by a swift kick to the balls, but they do it in such a way you’re likely to give them the thumbs up for doing it to you.

One idiotic heckler  – I mean who actually heckles these days, really? – got just what he deserved right back from vocalist when attempting to bring the lads energy down so their attitude ain’t all just show.  GG had their sights set on making a good impression, and produced a solid and flamboyant performance, displaying hints of their wide ranging influences throughout, with the odd smattering of black metal riffage and a huge dollop of raw punk rock.

When their wildman, I mean frontman, Max ups his ante and begins engaging more with the crowd, I think that could mark the turning point for the band, but a hugely enjoyable set nonetheless from the London lads. My ears and brain were sated.

An appreciative rumble in the substantially filled venue accompanied Finnish The 69 Eyes on to the dimly lit stage. Dimly lit was appropriate for the atmosphere, but hardly conducive to photography. Still, that is not the  main aim of the fans evening.

THE 69 EYES/GENERATION GRAVEYARD O2 Islington 12 2 2013 The 69 Eyes Generation Graveyard  photo

Goth n roll is not something I tend to follow, nor have I seen The 69 Eyes before, nor heard any of their ten albums! However, the excitement in the room is what instantly hit me. Vocalist Jyrki 69′s deeply gothic, beautifully toned vocal took me back to the heady 90′s days of the new wave of alt rock, think Sisters of Mercy but with a tongue in cheek swagger, a contradictory laid back Kiss-esque attitude.

His sultry, doom throated tone contrasted perfectly with the frantically upbeat darkened rock that the instruments were letting rip with around him.

Stick wielder Jussi 69 was a sight to behold, and my highlight of the evening. There’s smashing the crud out of a drum kit, and then there’s smashing the crud out of a drum kit with such mindblowing grace and flair that it takes your breath away. I would have paid the entry fee to watch him on his own. In fact, had he proposed marriage right after the set, it would have been a no brainer.

The rapt crowd delighted in each and every track, with the band offering up plenty of favourites from a variety of their releases, a large portion of course from current album ‘X’, the most popular of the ‘oldies’ being ‘Brandon Lee’ and ‘Perfect Skin’ where Jyrki went into downright vampy perve mode with his hips.

He knew he had the audience in the palm of his studded gloved hands from the utterance of his first note, you could see it in his body movement. The audience’s enthusiam was heightened to a crescendo with closing track “Lost Boys” and the whole evening drew to a breathless, fist-pumping close.

Even after a close on 25 year career, The 69 Eyes are still clearly loving what they do. And so are their fans.