At The Sun + Hell's Addiction + Ravenbreed
Friday 12th April
The Black Heart, Camden, London
With their debut album, ‘Leave Before The Light’, being released last month, 2019 looks set to be a big year for rising Rockers At The Sun, with UK festivals already lined up, they stopped off last Friday night at Camden's The Black Heart in London supporting said album, 75% of the way through their UK headline tour, with great support from Hell's Addiction and Ravenbreed. Formed in 2016, Harry Dale (vocals), Alex Matthews (bass), Chet Jogia (lead guitar), Craig Steen (drums) and Kieron Heavens (rhythm guitar), spent a year honing their Blues-infused Rock 'n' Roll on the live circuit before heading into the studio to record their acclaimed debut EP 'Breathe', which deservedly gained air play on the likes of Planet Rock, Hard Rock Hell and Total Rock. In fact the the first time we heard At The Sun, was an unplugged session in August 2017 - broadcast live on The WRC Award winning Rock On The Ridge Radio show, just two months after the EP's release.
Indeed the band have put a real shift in on the live circuit over the past few years, which last year saw them finishing third in the Hard Rock Hell Highway to Hell competition, competing against over 200 other bands, culminating in a live final at the O2 Academy in Sheffield. Being an unsigned band, they recorded 'Leave Before The Light', including the four tracks from their EP in separate sessions over a year, before releasing their first single 'Soak It Up' last October. With a driving but melodic sound, At The Sun love recording songs people can move to, combining big riffs with big rhythms and singalong choruses, but ultimately live music is their natural habitat, so there was no excuse not to miss these guys tonight!
Unfortunately, the opportunity cost of a great audio interview with both Alex and Craig in the street outside the venue beforehand, was that we only caught the final song of Ravenbreed's set 'Falling Away' from their debut EP 'Hollowed'. And our disappointment was compounded even further, judging by the very favourable reception from those in the sold out crowd that had made the wise decision to venture up the stairs from the bar to take in this Alternative/Hard Rock band consisting of "I Don't Care" t-shirt wearing Zoey Emelia Allen on vocals, Ross Formosa on bass and backup vocals, Oli Watkins on Drums and Mikey Watkins on guitar and backup vocals. Definitely a case of another time, another gig guys.
Describing themselves as the "child of an illicit three-way between Skid Row, early-Guns N’ Roses & AC/DC", Leicester balls-out Hard Rock band Hell's Addiction did exactly what they said on the tin as they opened their nine track set with a riff driving brace, the second of which requiring the obligatory fist pumping "Oi Oi Oi's" from their assembled faithful. "London, How The Fuck Are You Doing?" enquired vocalist Ben Sargent as they launched into more of the same with 'Masking The Pain' from their EP 'V1.0' plus 'On The Road Again' from their 'Statutory Nuisance' EP. Indeed, this was raw Rock at its best, with lots of hair! Consisting also of Liam Sargent (guitar), Dan Weir (guitar), Jason Green (bass) and Luke Morley (drums), the camaraderie among the three bands was evident as Ben thanked both Ravenbreed and At The Sun, before dedicating a great riff fitting tribute in memory of Hell's Addiction fan Mike, given Ben was also wearing Mike's wristband. Nice touch. "London, Wake The Fuck Up" demanded Ben, which we duly did thanks in no small way to the excellent guitar harmonies on 'The Way I Feel', another from 'Statutory Nuisance', as they finally nailed their AC/DC influences to the mast with two great hand clapping tracks in an awesome finale, before taking the now traditional band/audience selfie. Do not miss Hell's Addiction at Bromsgrove's Breaking Bands Festival on Friday 24th May.
"London How Are We Fucking Doing?" Harry cordially welcomed us to the their eagerly anticipated set. Ironically, At The Sun opened with 'Breathe' the title track from their debut EP, given that it had become very cosy with the sell-out crowd understandably wanting their best vantage point. And if you needed it, their opener was immediate proof of their successful formula of mixing up heavy dirty guitars, pounding rhythms, soaring vocals and ripping solos, with a driving but melodic sound! Cue happy faces and rapturous applause as they went straight into the slower Blues of 'Walk On Over' - another track originally on the debut EP, with Dale preaching that we "Get Our Hands In The Air And Make Some Noise", complemented by some great fret work from Chet and a neat drum outro from Craig. And talking of preaching, before they played 'Preacher', Harry thanked both Hell's Addiction and Ravenbreed and admitted that this was night six of their tour and that he was already absolutely fucked! God help him when they go on a world tour then! This great track from 'Leave Before The Light' was an opportunity to showcase another great riff plus the diminutive Alex on bass, before we were well and truly funked up thanks to their third single from the album 'Only A Fool', which not only saw a tambourine accompaniment, but also the hatted and appropriately named Heavens standing on a speaker stack.
Despite their tag of Blues-infused Rock 'n' Roll, it was pleasing too witness such a young demographic at The Black Heart. Certainly their citing of Avenged Sevenfold as being an influence on their live performances is an appeal, as demonstrated on 'Lifetime' - again another track from 'LBTL'. And talking of their breadth of influences such as Black Stone Cherry, Alter Bridge, Stain, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Queens Of The Stone Age and Monster Truck - their cover of Rag N Bone Man's 'Human' was certainly a curveball, but was one they certainly made their own and was dispatched brilliantly. It was then back to the album and 'Bite Your Tongue' - think the fire in the belly of Bad Company/Free meeting Inglorious's Nathan James square on - with an explosive guitar salvo from Chet Jogia thrown in for good measure. "Thank You London" praised Dale as the band then had us jumping about and our hands in the air to the great guitar riff and solo on their second single 'Lay It On Me' before teasing "Do You Want To Do It With Me" as they dived straight in to the driving riff of 'Renegade'. It was then time to take things down a notch with 'Indestructible' - a poignant song dedicated to one of the band's Mum's in her fight against serious illness - with Jogia's awesome guitar work fittingly hitting the mark. At The Sun completed their debut EP bingo card with 'Devil In Your Eyes', as they truly left their inhibitions at the door, with an excellent opening Dale a cappella along with some great wah wah pedal, that saw us all raising our hands again. Eat your heart out Black Stone Cherry!
Harry's plug for their Merch Stand was genuinely offset by his dedication to thank all of us attending the gig, before warning us that there's a "Steam Train Coming" and to 'Raise Your Glass' (the final track on the album) "Into The Sky" as he proceeded to tell us to "Keep It Going" as we all joined in with our "Wooh Wooh's"! "Thank You So Much - Do You Want One More Song?" Needless to say the answer was in the affirmative as we completed this time the album bingo card with their first single 'Soak It Up' - an awesome finale and overdue opportunity to showcase the excellent Kieron on rhythm guitar. "One More Song, One More Song..." the crowd shouted, which, as Harry admitted, was a bit awkward as they had played all their songs, but given these days of Brexit, he put it to a democratic vote and 'Devil In Your Eyes' won. There's no truth in the rumour that 52% voted for it - but all we know is that as we sang along again, it was definitely another case of eat your heart out Black Stone Cherry 2! A great performance that totally validated the band's belief that it has grown and absorbed new influences - as testified by the variety of the songs in their set. As they stated: it’s a living, breathing journey that they are on, and based on tonight's performance there are also many who want to jump on board with them! Among other gigs planned, At The Sun play Camden Rocks on Saturday 1st June, Hard Rock Hell on Saturday 9th November and Planet Rockstock on Saturday 7th December. Make sure you catch up with them soon!