Grand Magus, Primitai, Diesel King at the Underworld Camden, Sunday 3rd March 2013
Words and photos by Antony Roberts
London’s Diesel King have been a regular fixture on London’s gig scene since their inception in 2010, but somehow i’ve managed to miss them until tonight. They open the proceedings at the Camden Underworld, and for once it’s good to see a large crowd has actually made the effort to get down early and see the support bands. As lead singers go Mark O’Regan is bloody massive, all muscles and aggro, the embodiment of the bands huge, monstrous and pounding sludgy metal. Despite the ferociousness during songs he builds a rapport with the audience in between riffs, cracking jokes and whipping up pits. As he stomps around the stage yelling and screaming the down tuned groovy riffs offered up by Diesel King see heads banging early on and the night has only just begun.
Next on the bill were Primatai and they were something very different to DK’s stompy sludge. Very competent guitar players widdled their way through intricate solo packed traditional metal. Whilst they are obviously very talented at playing it wasn’t just the guitars that soared over my head. Perhaps it was my lack of familiarity with their material but this wasn’t my cup of tea.
Grand Magus walk onto the stage as “Anvil of Crom” from the Conan the Barbarian soundtrack played over the PA. Opening with “Kingslayer” the opening track from 2005’s Wolf’s Return heads immediately started to bang, fists were raised and the crowd sang along in good voice. This proved to be the theme for the rest of the night but you can’t really expect anything less from a Grand Magus live show.
I must be close to double figures for live sightings but the magic of a Magus live outing shows no sign of dissipating. Keeping a good mix across their back catalogue favourites like “Silver Into Steel” has the entire venue screaming along with JB’s opening “woahhh!!”. It’s not until “Like The Oar Strikes The Water” that the crowd really decides to let loose, a large pit that opened up to the left of the stage has security running off stage to rescue a rather small lady caught up in the middle of the crowd’s enthusiasm.
Between songs JB goads the audience on, but they don’t need any encouragement, as he starts to thank “Primatai, our crew, Steve…” but before there is chance to finish the sentence the audience starts chanting “Steve, Steve, Steve”. This is the problem with writing songs as catchy as JB and crew, they whip a crowd up, but then they want to sing and yell to anything. JB starts “Well this is an unexpected turn of events, this next song is dedicated to”, “STEVVVVE” yells a member of the audience, and after laughter and the whole place erupting in the chant again he gives up, and they go into “Iron Will”.
After a brief break off the stage they come back to encore with “Hammer Of The North” and damn I’m not sure I’ve ever heard an Underworld crowd quite so loud. This is, after all Magus’ very own sing along “Fear of the Dark” style song. I couldn’t help standing back and taking a moment to witness an entire venue in unity finishing off an amazing night. If Magus had managed to fit “The Shadow Knows” into an otherwise flawless set it would have been the perfect night. I wish all headliners were this god damn good every single time. Raise your fists, raise your glasses, bang your heads, to Grand Magus!!
Check out some (albeit sideways) fan filmed footage of the encore below (thanks Al!!).
Visit the offical Grand Magus website here.