Black Spiders / Slaves To Gravity / The Hip Priests
4 May 2010
Camden Underworld, London

Having checked out the The Hip Priests’ myspace page I was quite looking forward to their high speed rock’n’roll.  However the flat atmosphere in the Underworld did them no favours and their stage presence was also some what awkward.  Guitarist Austin “Pocket” Rocket certainly had the sleaze look and attitude but singer Gary X Ray failed to convince.  Sounding like a mixture of early Backyard Babies, Iggy and Motorhead, songs like Breakneck Babylon were actually quite listenable but the band’s efforts were met with abject silence.  The high point was Ray’s amusing rant about people with beards which transpired to be about our very own Johan hovering around the front with his camera!

The Hip Priests set list:
Sonic Reproducer / Breakneck Babylon / Demon Hooker / Out Of My Head / I Love To F*** / Young Savage / Rip 'Em Off / TV Eye

My wife was surprised to find I liked Slaves To Gravity’s debut album Scatter The Crows, deeming them rather safe for my tastes.  Whilst I can understand what she means, there are enough hooks on that disc to hold my interest.  The band were using this tour as an opportunity to present material from their forthcoming Underwaterouterspace album.  With only three familiar songs from the debut there was a lot of new material on offer.  However, I found with the debut that it took a couple of spins to worm it’s way under my skin and with the exception of closer Good Advice, I think I’ll need to give the rest another listen.
Looking for a simple description I’d told a friend attending that they were like a heavier Foo Fighters and I’d stick with that.  What was immediately event was the utter confidence of the band.  New drummer Jason Bowld also features in Pitchshifter so it wasn’t a surprise to see his manically grinning face as he hammered into his kit.  Guitarist Mark Verney exuded a calm coolness, whereas Tishi Ogawa on the bass was more manic, like a Japanese Nikki Sixx.  The real star is frontman Tommy Gleeson who played as if he was in front of a sold out Hammersmith Apollo rather than a half full Underworld.  With his hair cut short and wiry frame, Gleeson had the swagger of Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan.
Certainly an impressive live unit, I look forward to giving Underwaterouterspace a few spins.

Slaves To Gravity set list:
Too Late / Big Red / Dumb / Misery Plus / Honesty / Mr. Regulator / Big Plans / Good Advice

The Black Spiders seem to be supporting everyone of late and amazingly this is their first headline tour.  Right from opener Si El Diablo the stage was a mass of headbanging and movement.  Stay Down followed with the crowd responding with middle fingers for the “F**k you and this one horse town” refrain, which as usual was broken down by frontman Peter Spiby to get the crowd to shout “F**k you Black Spiders”.
With a three guitar attack there’s plenty to see and plenty of noise with a sound falling somewhere between dirty rock’n’roll and stoner.  What Use Is A Rock Without A Roll throws in an opportunity for solos to be traded with the crowd joining in for the “Eat thunder, shit lightning” line.
Easily the best song of the whole evening, St Peter saw psychotic looking drummer “Tiger” Si Atkinson stood on his stool at the start and the end was broken down to just the crowd clapping along to Spiby’s singing with a voice recalling early Soundgarden.
Kiss Tried To Kill Me (It Was Gene Not Paul) was apparently inspired by a dream involving Daisy Duke morphing into Peter Criss.  Weird indeed but the song was an absolute cracker as was the closing Blood Of The Kings.
With another EP, No Goats In The Omen due out at the end of the month, Black Spiders continue to whet our appetite for a full length release and with dates already booked at the High Voltage & Bloodstock Festivals it’s looking like a rocking summer is coming.

Black Spiders set list:
Si El Diablo / Stay Down / Just Like A Woman / Sugar Free / What Use Is A Rock Without A Roll / St. Peter / Man’s Ruin / Meadow / Kiss Tried To Kill Me (It Was Gene Not Paul) / Blood Of The Kings

Black Spiders
Slaves To Gravity
The Hip Priests