Where: The Black Heart, Camden
City of Ashes
Alt-rock band City of Ashes kick off the evening with an intimate set that cements a firm relationship with the small but engaged crowd that trickle into Camden’s Black Heart tonight. With a clear, crisp vocal that, despite occasional pitching issues that can strike during a live show, fills the room, City of Ashes immediately prove themselves a band worth listening to. They create flashes of genuine heartfelt intimacy, prompting some truly touching moments between themselves and their fans which might, at times, feel a little heavy for such a tiny venue, but you can’t knock their emotion. Being an underground band can be a struggle, but it does have its benefits; one of which is the ability to play basement venues such as this and lose yourself and let your animal out on stage. City of Ashes are polished, no doubt, but they might want to make the most of their time on the underground alternative circuit where they can really unleash energetic, chaotic, full-throttle performances before they become a more constrained arena band that they have the potential to be.
British alt-punk band Miss Vincent are, like many, slow burners of the UK’s thriving underground music scene, just bubbling under the surface with bags of exciting energy ready to let loose on the world. Tonight, we see just a glimpse of what this south-east four-piece are capable of.
Thanks to the ballsy, confident and perhaps even theatrical presence of frontman Alex Marshall, Miss Vincent manage to command the room in a similar way to bands who run in much larger circles than these guys do (for the time being, anyway!). They hurtle through their short set with aplomb, smacking us with an unrelenting punk rock attitude that radiates a bold, dramatic tension and anarchic fun. They spend little time worrying about creating a ‘mood’ and, instead, create an effortless whirlwind of spunky energy that never lets up.
Having only released one EP, it isn’t difficult for fans to guess which tracks will make the grade for tonight’s set. While tracks such as ‘Disparate, Desperate’- a tune verging on the goth-punk likes of FVK, who many crossover fans caught Miss Vincent touring alongside earlier this year- take on an eerie vibe on record, they match up to their faster, punkier songs such as ‘Gradients of Grey’ in a live atmosphere. It’s hard to fault Miss Vincent’s musicality; in between sweet harmonies and cool riffs, they don’t let the high-energy nature of their performance tire them out.
Of course, a bustling, spirited crowd that could reciprocate the passion of the performance would really crank things up a notch but maybe not everyone is in the mood for a punk rock show on a Thursday night and, hey, there’s nothing to say that Miss Vincent won’t win over sold-out crowds in the future.