In the back streets of Camden High Road, just off Greenland Street lies the Black Heart, a music venue that’s looked after bands during festival season. The pub has a Rock vibe to it that Camden’s well known for. Out the back is a set of stairs that leads you to a deep dark music venue, that holds 150 people and with no dry ice in sight, it’s the place to be. The crowd grows, with this, that wonderful smell of sweat, more powerful than that of grilled bacon.
2 x Grammy nominated Highly Suspect are the band headlining tonight and I’ve yet to listen to them live so I myself am 'highly suspect' about what to expect. I have heard just one song which reminded me of early Kings of Leon (pre-short hair).
Before these guys took to the stage, we are pleasured so to speak by Devon based band Reigning Days. Their changing motion from a slow to heavy guitar sound is my preference. With the backing of Kerrang radio playing their latest single ‘Friendly Fire’ on their playlist and tonight announcing they’re on the Download festival bill later this year it's an exciting time for this impressive three piece.
Right now all I have to say is this is one of those moments when music changes the way I feel. It’s 9:30pm on the 8th February in The Black Heart London and standing here with my damaged ligament in my ankle and feeling that I need to go home, hide under the duvet, take anti-inflammatory tablets and apply ice, when suddenly, ‘Highly Suspect’ come on and make an impact that frees pain for the next hour!
Brooklyn’s own ‘Highly Suspect’, who a few days earlier toured the Carnival of Madness with Blackstone Cherry, Shinedown and Halestorm at Wembley arena and many other venues, now playing to a sold out Black Heart with the crowd singing along to their tracks. At the start of each riff, the eclectic crowd of old, young, nu metal, old school, long and short hair all in unison go ‘Woooah’, that is passion, a passion of good music and as Jimi Hendrix once said ‘Music is my Religion’.
Their energy reminds me of Dog Eat Dog in the early 2000’s, their sound a mixture of Blues, Rock and unadulterated Swagger. Many good bands have come from Brooklyn and one of them is old school hardcore band ‘Biohazard’ and this three piece have that same swagger, the Brooklyn Swagger.
Tonight they pull out a string of energetic heavy tunes with a tattooed front man that holds the crowd in the palm of his hand and dedicates a couple of the songs to a pal called. ‘Tommy', "Where you at Tommy?” The buzz for these guys is immense and the 'Woooah' is a sure fire sign that Johnny Stevens and brothers Ryan and Rich Meyer are on the verge of taking over 2016.
Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight, I have witnessed the sound of progression.
Words by Mark Wincott