The Sword / Lonely Kamel
10 January 2013
The Underworld, London
Lonely Kamel are a band that had not crossed my radar prior to being announced as main support for this tour. As the name suggests, stoner rock was on the agenda, a type of music perhaps more synonymous with deserts than the cold climes of Norway. Still, masses of facial hair, orange amplifiers and a low sparse kit felt very familiar with the band’s sound.
Opening with Don’t Piss On The Lizard from their 2008 self-titled debut, immediately Tomas Brenna and Lukas Paulsen’s guitars combined to form a sweet sound, only interrupted later with Paulsen suffering a few early technical issues. A beaming Brenna informed us it was really cool for Lonely Kamel to be playing for the first time in London tonight.
Shake It With The Devil introduced a Zeppelin-esque blues boogie, whilst the slow groove of Damn You’re Hot got the crowd nodding along. Fifth song in, the band finally played something from their latest album Dust Devil. That song, Evil Man, lifted the pace and to my ears was a step up in quality. Indeed it was somewhat surprising that the seven song set was skewed with 4 songs from Lonely Kamel’s debut, 2 from their sophomore and only 1 from the latest.
Harmony guitars ushered in the epic Stick With The Plan, whilst the extended jam of Spacerider wrapped up an enjoyable set to a warm crowd response.
Lonely Kamel setlist:
Don’t Piss On The Lizard / The Boys / Shake It With The Devil / Damn You’re Hot/ Evil Man / Stick With The Plan / Spacerider
The sold out Underworld was heaving by the time The Sword were due on stage. A quick scan of the crowd confirmed the Texan’s appeal transcends the strictly metal crowd with a broad spectrum of music fans in attendance. Simply wandering on to the stage with little fuss, The Sword kicked off with Veil Of Isis from their latest album, followed by a trip to their debut for apparent fan favourite Freya.
You’d hardly put The Sword down as the best looking band in rock, with more of a geek appeal than striking charisma. Vocalist/guitarist John Cronise had his microphone positioned so he was bent over looking down.Either side of Cronise, short-haired bassist Bryan Richie swayed as he finger picked rolling bass lines and guitarist Kyle Shutt swung his guitar and long blonde hair around seemingly in his own little world. Tucked away at the back, drummer Jimmy Vela held down the beat as The Sword headed into their most metal territory of the night with the Grand Magus like Hammer Of Heaven.
Tres Brujas and Cloak Of Feathers perhaps come as near to “single” type songs as The Sword get and their instant hits receive a favourable responses. However, the Sword’s main live appeal is experiencing their ability to lock in together and form an organic heavy groove, such as the brooding Dying Earth.
Prior to Take The Black, Cronise told us he was having a few vocal problems tonight, though it wasn’t immediately noticeable, with his early Ozzy style vocal sounding not dissimilar to its sound on record. The main set wrapped up with the electronically augmented Apocryphon to loud cheers from the crowd. At this point I had to take my leave but understand they returned for a two song encore. Certainly a great start to 2013’s gigging year.
The Sword setlist:
Veil of Isis / Freya / Hammer of Heaven / Tres Brujas / How Heavy This Axe / Cloak of Feathers / Arcane Montane / Dying Earth / Maiden, Mother & Crone / To Take the Black / Seven Sisters / Lawless Lands / Ebethron / Apocryphon / ? / Iron Swan