Earthless, The Atomic Bitchwax and Mirror Queen – Saturday 13th July 2013 London Garage
Words and photos by Antony Roberts
Arriving at the Garage in North London just in time for doors and for once there was no massive queue spiralling down the road. Was I late, had door times moved? Upon entering the building it became obvious door times were correct but one of the hottest days of the year was keeping the public outside in the parks nearby and out of the furnace that was the Garage. Adding to that the Northern Line being closed for the weekend put a spanner in the works for anyone travelling from further South in London.
New York’s Mirror Queen were already on stage playing to around 20 brave, dedicated or heat resistant punters. 2 songs of shooting them was enough for me as the stage lights in the pit meant I came out dripping with sweat pouring from everywhere. It gave me more respect for the musicians on stage who must have been baking. This isn’t the first time Mirror Queen have come to England, in fact their last time in 2011 was with tonight’s second tour support The Atomic Bitchwax. Since the last time they have a new bass player in the form of James Corallo, and guitarist Phi Moon. Quite the opposites to look at James is all thick hair and beard pounding away like a man possessed his curly hair bouncing around, whilst Phi plays with butter smooth leads that compliment vocalist Kenny’s guitar work. It’s the two guitars that form the bulk of Mirror Queen’s sound, leads swap from one side of the stage to the other; fans of Deep Purple, Cream and Blue Oyster Cult should check the band out if they haven’t already. Thankfully the crowd triples in size during their set and their bluesy tones aren’t wasted gaining bodies to the crowd barrier as time moves on.
New Jersey’s The Atomic Bitchwax continue the guitar themed night but their solos come backed with bucket loads of riffs. Whilst they played a mix of songs from their extensive back catalogue, they’re also known to be more than happy to drop in covers, and the Garage were treated to the intro from Pink Floyd’s “Shine On, You Crazy Diamond” and a full version of “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” within the set. For a 3 piece they sounded extremely full in sound with Chris’ bass heavy in the mix thickening up the mix behind Finn’s solos. “45” goes down well with the now packed in crowd and as good as Bitchwax were, the unbearable heat from all the extra bodies meant I was in need of a cold drink. Unfortunately this consisted of standing at the bar for the second half of their set waiting to be served by the 2 poor bar people trying to serve a 4 person thick queue reaching from one end to the other of the bar. Still it wasn’t so bad, I could hear from the back of the room, and besides, the best was yet to come in the form of the headliners…
Earthless, wow where to start. Just over an hour of a flawless mind boggling display of musicianship. Tonight was mainly about guitarist Isaiah and drummer Mario, as unfortunately Mike’s bass was a little muddy in the mix. Despite watching his fingers work their magic all over the frets it was difficult to make it out clearly. Within half a song (though as I’m sure you know, they do have rather long songs) Isaiah is pouring under the stage lights, sweat dripping off his nose and chin. The whole band work their asses off, and they truly are masters of memory. Their riffs, bridges and solos go off for bars and bars beyond mere mortals level of concentration but they just pull it all back together like some conjoined machine.
Songs build up, and you think it’s peaked as they tear into another riveting soulful bluesy solo or technical drum section, but it simmers down in pace, only to ascend to new heights beyond the previous bars. Mike stands with his side to the audience for pretty much the whole show, rumbling away watching the timing of the other two and creating the perfect backing pulse to the others wild freestyle sections. I find myself lost in a trance bewildered at the head swinging solos and hypnotic bass, whilst Mario looses it on his kit, arms flailing everywhere, off kilter yet in time, before going back on beat and concluding to perfection. At this point I had to do a double take as i’m there pouring sweat in my shorts and a t-shirt, and a bloke walked past me to the toilets wearing a zip up and battle jacket, madness!
An hour watching Earthless flies by and the house lights go up, a third of the venue surge out of the oven, sorry I mean Garage, eager to get to the cool outside. The remaining crowd started calling for songs, but the band put their instruments down. They looked at each other all drenched in sweat, and it didn’t look hopeful we’d get any more. Respect is seriously due though, despite the heat they picked their instruments back up and finished with a short but sweet one song encore cover of The Groundhogs “Cherry Red”. House lights went back on as the closing riff was still ringing out and it was over, but no-one argued everyone clearing out quickly to get fresh air outside after an amazing set. Mind blowing stuff, I can’t recommend seeing Earthless live enough!
Check the bands facebook pages out on the following links:
The Earthless gig night was put on by Desertscene UK, the team behind Desertfest. They have the following shows coming up, check out our listings pages for individual ticket links:
Wednesday 31st July
EYEHATEGOD wv FUK & Baron Greenback @ The Fleece, Bristol
Thursday 1st August
EYEHATEGOD wv Dune & Bacchus Baracus @Ivory Blacks, Glasgow Saturday 3rd August
EYEHATEGOD wv TBC & Dead Existence @The Garage, London
Wednesday 7th August
Nick Oliveri’s MONDO GENERATOR wv Valient Thorr & Prosperina @ The Fleece, Bristol
Thursday 8th August
Nick Oliveri’s MONDO GENERATOR wv Valient Thorr & Steak @ The Underworld, London
Thursday 22nd August, 2013 @ The Black Heart, Camden, London