EYEHATEGOD at Camden Underworld 26th June 2011
All words and photos by Antony Roberts unless specified
The British weather really knows when to throw itself at you. A few weeks ago when I wanted sun I was stood in a field at Download festival being rained on for 12 hours non stop. Now I was heading across the whole of London with a backpack full of heavy camera gear and it decided to be hot. Not just any kind of hot, this must have been the hottest day of the year so far. The sun was beating down, and to top things off I was nursing the king of all hangovers having spent the previous day at Seven Churches Festival catching the likes of Black Sun, Winterfylleth, Bong and many more. I needed bed, a sofa, somewhere cool to get out of this heat, anything to just not be in the hot sweaty crowded center of London. But there were bands to see, if I could get through my exhaustion, my headache, and rid of the feeling of being sick any minute I was going to be ok. What would Eyehategod do? I think they'd jump back on the horse so there was literally only one thing for it, head to the World's End early and go for kill or cure tactics. The first beer went down ok and heading to the bar for the second I could see across the road a huge crowd had gathered outside Camden station. I could hear what sounded like Mike Williams vocals.
Popping a head out of the pub and eyehategod are over the road right outside Camden station singing along with a busker. This is what Eyehategod do, they play and they love to whenever they can. Whether it's random incidents at Roadburns afterburner event doing F*ckmouth side project stuff to kill time or in Camden with a busker.
taken from youtube.
First up were Greece's Lucky Funeral and they definitely split the audience. Listening to conversatons outside after their set I heard equal amounts of people praising them as I did contesting they didn't like them. I can understand the split they had a lot of different elements going on and some songs blasted whilst others didn't work quite so well. At times they came across almost like a more fuzzed up stoner version of helmet, then the next would be a racing metal anthem, then the next more like slowed down traditional doom. I wasn't 100% sold, despite going for several years I think they are trying to mix too many elements that don't work together. Some of their songs were really good but would just start to fall apart as too much got mixed in.
Witchsorrow took to the stage and by this point the venue despite being sold out was still not yet full, probably due to the heat and sun still beaming away keeping people outside . More fool those that did not get down early as Witchsorrow played a thundering set. Their traditional doom tones summed up the days ridiculous heat, drawing energy away and slowing things down to a lethargic crawl. I was that impressed I may well be missing Metallica's set at Sonisphere to go catch them.
By the time Church of Misery came on the Underworld had filled up and was at heaving point. Taking photos down the front was nigh on impossible unless you were willing to risk a broken lens or two. As soon as they started the crowd surged forward and monitors started getting shoved back. Drawing across most of their back catalogue with songs old and new, the crowd responded with a steady stream of stage divers constantly up, and throwing themselves back in. The feeling must have been infectious as before long singer Yoshiaki was found diving in himself. This spurred the crowd on and a fresh sea of divers kept things in motion. Things got a bit ferocious and before long the a girl who was bleeding pretty heavily from her head went down. Underworlds security were really quick to act and get her out of the crowd to get taken care of and the show continued.
Eyehategod came on around 10 and it seemed even more people were in the venue than for Church Of Misery's set. I was nervously keeping an eye on the watch due to crappy Sunday train services. The already heated sweat stained crowd seemed to take it up a notch further for Eyehategod's set. Unfortunately the chaos in the crowd seemed to spread virus like to the backing line and the sound kept cutting out till Gary's bass amp seemed to completely die out. The band played on regardless and things got sorted by the next song. The audience didn't seem to care though Eyehategod were playing their guts out on stage and the audience just lapped it up swarming to and from the stage. Even a bad Eyehategod show is amazing, sound problems can't mess a band this good back that much! Sound problems continued but Eyehategod played through them and gave the audience what they came for. Stand out track of the night for me was "Story Of The Eye" which had the entire venue bouncing around like a giant jar of powerballs. Before I had to leave Jimmy Bower left the stage to be replaced on guitar by Lewis Floyd Henry, the busker they'd been playing with outside the tube station earlier in the day. I've heard stories after I left there was a naked girl on stage later in the night and more mayhem but sadly with it being a Sunday I had to take off early to catch public transport.
Jimmy Bower photo by Jose Santos
An amazing night but please please London venues can you try and finish earlier on Sundays so out of towners can see the whole gig!
Thanks to Jon and Dan from the Underworld, and to Jose Santos from Terrorizer/RocknRolla for the awesome Jimmy Bower photo. You can check out more of his work on his blog here.