3 July 2006

Camden Underworld, London

The last time Leeway played in London was 27 November 1995. Not a lot of people know that, as the gig was never advertised and consequently I was one of about a dozen people that witnessed it. Tonight the turn-out is much healthier, but right from opening number Enforcer, the bemused, static response of the audience would seem to suggest the bulk of those here, are there for their friends in the support acts.

I personally got into the band having read about them in the classic 80s metal magazine Metal Forces, which had a habit of featuring crossover hardcore bands. Turning me on to the likes of the Crumbsuckers, Cro-Mags and of course Leeway, who were equally comfortable on thrash bills as hardcore.

Leeway`s sound matured with each album mixing metal with hardcore and even hip-hop, as shown on the infectious Kingpin aired tonight. By their last album, 1995`s Open Mouth Kiss, the band`s sound was truly unique. From that album Hornet`s Nest and Foot The Bill are played, with the latter`s middle section particularly uplifting.

This hardcore crowd however appear to be much more interested in simple chunky riffs and shouting rather than the intricate guitar lines of Stand For and Eddie Sutton`s high pitch vocal. Watching Leeway flying straight over the bulk of this audience`s head`s was quite frustrating, given the performance was so good. The wiry Eddie Sutton is the focal point, seemingly never stood still whilst working the whole stage.

Eventually the slow crunchy intro of Rise & Fall incites some movement in the crowd, but it`s short lived. To be fair there`s a healthy response following each song but Leeway appear to still be somewhat of a square peg though it`s that individuality that is so good about them. Leeway`s MySpace site asks "Is the world finally ready for Leeway?" I`d really like the answer to be yes, but it`s not for this crowd.

Leeway set list:

Enforcer / Marathon / On The Outside / No Heroes / Stand For / Catholic High School (Girls In Trouble) / Hornet`s Nest / Foot The Bill / Kingpin / All About Dope / Rise & Fall / Mark Of The Squealer / Encore - Unknown