It may be a soggy Sunday evening but the legendary venue that is the Camden Roundhouse is sold out tonight. Down may have started out as a Southern supergroup but in recent years the band are worshipped as their own entity and rightly so.
Phil has handpicked opening act Warbeast from his label and their groovy thrash is clad with the leather and stud attitude and wardrobe. Despite a tight set and applause from the crowd, it seems the audience may be a bit too stoned for any form of movement usually caused by such speed.
Orange Goblin are a much more fitting support and are buzzing from the fact they get to finish this tour on their home turf. This year’s release ‘A Eulogy for the Damned ‘ has made it into many top album list’s and tonight is proof of why, as the stoner doom sounds even more crushing than on record. This band may have been touring for longer than you’ve walked this Earth but unlike several bands that lose their spark, Orange Goblin get better with age.
Now that everyone’s ears are mentally prepared for some down tuned vibrations, Down enter the stage to Harry Nilsson’s ‘Down’, which sets the scene of the dirty south aptly before the stage is dominated by big riffs and big personalities. As expected, tonight will see Phil chatting to the crowd in between songs and despite an aura of metallic power, the Anselmo roar seems to be struggling ever so slightly against the mammoth musical walls. Nevertheless, the set list is full of classics and a couple of tracks from the new ‘Purple EP’ slot in effortlessly. Newbies ‘Witchtripper’ and ‘Open Coffins’ ooze with the hardcore influences of the early Down style whilst onlookers bang their heads in a metaphorical green haze. ‘Lifer’, ‘Eyes of the South’ and ‘Stone The Crow’ are received with a predicted joy, with every member of the band smiling as they unleash groove upon filthy groove. Closer ‘Bury Me In Smoke’ causes the largest singalong of the night with both support acts and audience and despite the slight lack of punch in Phil’s vocals, this ending is likely to be as historic as when Hendrix was on this stage back in the seventies.
Review by Lily Randall. To be published in Devolution magazine
Photo from Antony Roberts, Metalgigs.co.uk