Following the recent release of their debut album ‘Skies Are Falling’, Hornet announced a headlining show at the Academy 2 in Angel, London. Several of their past gigs had clashed with other events for me and so this was the first time I would actually get to see them in action live.
First up on the bill were Death Valley Knights and though the venue was not exactly full they started their set as if it was. Describing themselves as in the same vein as Motörhead and Judas Priest, I also heard a similarity to the Swedish band Wolf with the lifting of the vocals towards the end of certain lines. (A good reminder in case you’re wondering.) The drumming was great throughout with the lead guitar really holding its own especially during their new song which brought a real heavy rock feel – I didn’t catch the name of the song but I definitely approve. There was a dip in the energy from the other two members of the band who weren’t as engaging with the crowd, however the singer was clearly a showman and kept your attention on the band throughout.
Next up was Motherload who raised the energy levels and showed that they were there to rock that stage no matter what. Every member of the band had engaged with the crowd really well and looked like they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. You would have thought they were headlining a bigger venue on a Saturday night. The guitars were louder and the drums sounded more raw – you just had to look at the way the drum kit was shaking throughout. There’s a bit of a southern rock influence which I always enjoy, but with harsher vocals; this is definitely heavy rock….and damn good it is too. The only bad thing about the set was the length; it really was over too quickly for my liking, being the shortest one of the night. Which is a real shame as we could all have watched them for much longer. Top set boys!
Last, but certainly not least where the headliners; Hornet. It’s always tough to follow such a good set but I have to say they did it admirably. The lighting around the stage reminded me of a Hollywood starlet’s dressing table, which you’d think may sound a bit odd, but it brought an intimate feel making the venue seem somewhat raw and stripped back…Hollywood style I guess. Each member of the band at the front of the stage again interacted well not only with the crowd but also with each other – you could easily think any one of them was the front man. They may have appeared quiet before they started, but they’re feistier than they look.
The crowd that had gathered were definitely enjoying themselves and were singing/shouting back during the set and dancing about in places. ‘Hunky Dorey’ brought a honky-tonk rock twist to the proceedings followed by a walk on the bar by their guitarist. Being deposited there by their singer it would have seemed rude not to stay a while before jumping off and heading back to the stage to finish off the solo with a flourish. This was followed a few song later by ‘Bite Down’ which had a good jumping rhythm to it and the new album title track, ‘Skies Are Falling’ which brought things back to a meaner, stripped back sound and harder vocals. Ending the set with a bang (literally) they had time just about for one more song in the form of ‘Down To The Bone’ before it was time to call it a night.
The last time I went to a gig at the Academy 2 in Islington the venue wasn’t exactly packed and I’m afraid to say that the same can be said for the gig that evening. Which was a real shame as here were three bands that deserved to be playing to a packed crowd. Despite the smaller crowd, it was a great gig and I was definitely glad I’d gone out to watch it. I would happily watch any of the bands that night again and think that the next time you see their names of a gig list at a venue near you, you should do the same.
State of Emergency
I’m Gonna Be The Man
Second Hand Smoke
Storm The Gates
Bite Down (Extended)
Skies Are Falling
Rock ‘N’ Roll Riot
Down To The Bone