Jason Payne & The Black Leather Riders

Saturday 23rd October 2021

The Fiddler's Elbow, Chalk Farm, London

Camden is buzzing again, the bustling streets and venues playing music are back. So off to the Fiddler’s Elbow for an exclusively Metal day as part of the Camden Rocks Presents series of gigs.

Jason Payne & The Black Leather Riders have managed to gain a steady fanbase of online streamers during the period of lockdown so were itching to play live. But after they take to the stage, they seemed to hit a few technical hitches and tunings much to the bemused members of the band, but they manage to get themselves sorted and the Intro begins…

What followed was one of the most blistering sets I have ever experienced. Their songs have such macabre titles like 'Sick n’ Wrong' and dark themes, but they deliver them with such a visceral punch to the gut it is impossible not to get carried away.

'Waking the Damned' was inspired by the Albert Camus novel, “The Myth of Sisyphus”, which revealed Jason’s growing interest in the bigger philosophical questions whilst the country was in Lockdown, it’s nihilistic undertones at odds with the vitality of the playing: the drummer Nana Rizinni pummelled her drums like her life depended on it, contorting her face with every fill.

The set was a chance for the band to showcase their latest EP, 'The Abyss', so featured fan-favourites such as 'The Dark' and an opportunity to bring on guest guitarist Andy Martongelli for the track 'Breathing Rage', if ever there was a better description for the shredding attack of this whirlwind of a guitarist.

Described as Nu-Metal, they reminded me of The Pixies at their more Hardcore-end ferocious best and have a good sense of melody and dynamics as well as raw power. They pull the trick off of letting their personalities come through despite the bone-crunching sound, so that their set is far from doom-laden. So good, I even bought a T-Shirt for Halloween!

Ivan De Mello